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Dartford District Archaeological Group (DDAG)   -    Rediscovering Dartford - Page 3


After many months of hard work the restored and refurbished building today contains accommodation that includes a lecture hall/workroom, a finds processing room, a drawing and general office, photographic dark room, storage space and the other usual facilities. It may not be generally appreciated that for every hour spent digging on a site, many additional hours are needed for the processing of finds, marking them, drawing, photographing, researching and the writing of reports and articles.
   The work undertaken by the Group has covered periods from the Palaeolithic era (Old Stone Age) to the more recent past. Priority is however given to those sites that are threatened with destruction so that as much evidence as possible is rescued and recorded before the site is obliterated. With a record of nearly fifty digs completed no successes have come easily and some sites have been delved into 'blind’ in an effort to find what, if anything, lies below the surface. Even when no evidence of human settlement is found this 'negative’ result is recorded and is useful for reference in determining those areas which have not been used or settled by man.
   Understandably, with the comparatively few recorded sites that were known prior to 1972 and the relatively small area so far investigated by the Group during the re-development period, the greater part of Dartford’s past still awaits discovery, lying as it does under present day buildings. Nevertheless, from the evidence the Group has uncovered there has gradually emerged an outline of the town’s development through the ages and hopefully future generations of archaeologists and historians will be able to piece together further evidence that will broaden and add yet more colour to the picture.

The Dartford District Archaeological Group was formed in 1972 to carry out urgent archaeological investigations, especially within the town centre, in the knowledge that the planned redevelopment which had taken place in Dartford over the last decade would present a rare opportunity to rescue more significant evidence of the town’s history.
   To meet the need for prior archaeological training an introductory course was held at the East Hill Adult Education Centre entitled Digging Up the Past’, and on its completion the students decided to form a local amateur archaeological group. Students from the second and subsequent courses were invited to join them and many did so. Now fourteen years later, membership is around ninety and in addition there are about forty associate members in a scheme introduced for those wishing to be kept informed and play a supportive role but unable to take an active part. There is to be found amongst our active members a fair representation of those engaged in the professions, trades and artistic crafts, each one of them giving generously of their time and skills to the benefit of the Group.
   The acquisition of premises suitable for use as a Research Centre was a major advance in the fortunes of the Group and has enabled us to pursue the full range of our objectives. Leased from the Kent Education Committee and brought into use in 1975, the property was at one time the Caretaker’s house of the Lowfield Street Technical College but had been disused and vandalised over many years. Even in its bad state of disrepair it offered great potential and was to fulfil a pressing need.

Excavating Horsman's Place. 1981/82

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