Otford & District Archaeological Group (ODAG)
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
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.