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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 127   2007 page 432

Researches and Discoveries in Kent

periods. No direct evidence of human activity was found on the site but the presence of cereal pollen suggests that cereal production was taking place close to this site as this pollen distributes poorly.
   The diatom and pollen assessment clearly indicated variations in the nature of the environment of the site over time with the peat laid down in a largely freshwater environment and the clays in an estuarine environment. The initiation of the peat, however, could reflect a similar marine regression contact to that suggested through archaeological evidence from central London as well as the possible freshwater influence of a local tributary. Significantly however, this phase of marine regression has not been recorded in the Medway Valley before. Even in the Thames system the regressive contact has only been inferred from archaeological data, not from the sedimentary sequence and, as a result, is not supported through palaeoenvironmental evidence.
   This new evidence contributes to reconstructions of the past landscape, ecology and resources available to be exploited by the prehistoric and historic occupants of the area as well as the evolution of the local landscape. The evidence will also help to develop predictive models for the recovery of archaeological evidence on other sites in similar locations.



An archaeological watching brief was carried out in summer 2004 during the building of a house at 18-20 Tudor Crescent, Otford (TQ 55308 159061), on behalf of Mr Michael Viney and funded by him. This was required because of the proximity of the site both to the well-known Roman ‘Progress’ villa1 to the east and the medieval and post-medieval Archbishop’s Palace and moat to the west.2 In the event, no medieval material was recovered and only one fragment of redeposited Roman building material was found. However, of much more interest, given that early and late Anglo-Saxon material have been identified in Otford but that only documentary reference exists for middle Saxon occupation, a small pit on the site provided convincing evidence for this period. The pit, 2.4m in width and 1.1m deep, contained a secondary layer rich in charcoal remains from which numerous animal bones, snail shells and a small iron knife blade were recovered. The charcoal has been dated to between ad 650 and 790 (95% probability, Beta-196257) and the knife is a typical Saxon angled-back design, the remaining part 75mm long and up to 15mm wide. Traces of mineralised wood from the handle adhere to the tang.
   Early Anglo-Saxon cremation burials have been found in Otford west of the river Darent, one in 1954 and another, in the same garden, in 2001.3

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