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Otford & District Archaeological Group (ODAG)

The Romano-British Cremation Cemetery at Frog Farm, Otford, Kent, in the context of
   contemporary funerary practices in South-East England by Clifford P. Ward 1990

Excavation of the cremation cemetery at Otford, near Sevenoaks, Kent, was undertaken as a rescue operation in consequence of agricultural operations, in the autumn of 1965 and subsequently, in order to recover as much of the cemetery as practicable when it was realised how close to the surface, and thus how vulnerable to further damage, the grave groups were. Indeed, many of the groups were in an extremely fragmentary state due to earlier ploughing. The Otford and District Historical Society Archaeological Group carried out the work under the direction of Anthony C. Young and the writer, and interim reports were, published (Young 1966, Ward 1966, 1967). The remains of an octagonal mausoleum of the later Roman period was superimposed on the cemetery.
   Work on the excavation report has been resumed, and the present paper attempts to place the Frog Farm Cemetery in its contemporary religious context.
   Parallels have been sought locally, but beyond a number of tantalising accounts of Victorian destruction during quarry working, few comparable cremation cemeteries are known.
In order to compare the composition of the grave groups at Otford with other cremation cemeteries, analyses have been made of the published records of the excavations at Ospringe, near Faversham, Kent, and St. Pancras, Chichester, Sussex. Both of these cemeteries are considerably larger than Otford and are partly overlain with inhumations, which have been excluded from the count as far as possible. Differences in terminology have necessitated the reference to vessel types in very general terms, but these have permitted the construction of models which point to some similarities and differences.

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