Archaeological Group (DDAG) - Rediscovering Dartford -
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
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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© Kent Archaeological Society March 2006
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