In December, 1953, the writer, as archaeological assistant at the
Maidstone Museum, was called upon to investigate two inhumation burials at
Lyminge, near Folkestone, Kent1 The discovery was first brought
to the notice of the Museum by Mrs. E. Norris, wife of a workman of
Messrs. Atcos, Ltd., farming contractors, Paddock Wood, Kent. Employees of
this firm, who were erecting a prefabricated mushroom shed, had struck
bones and metal, including an iron spearhead of Saxon date, in the
foundation holes for two of the corner posts. On inspection of the site,
it seemed probable that the graves struck by the workmen were only two of
many. Despite inclement weather conditions, the emergency excavation of
the area, 30 ft. x 18 ft., which was due to be concreted to form the floor
of the shed, were carried out.2 Eight inhumation graves
(Fig. 1, nos. 1-8) were discovered and excavated. The finds from this
emergency excavation indicated that the site was that of a Jutish Cemetery
of the sixth century A.D. Their encouraging nature and
the importance of Lyminge in Saxon times (see page
38) led the Kent
Archaeological Society to promote the further excavation of the site.
This was carried out under the direction of the writer during August,
1954, and 36 inhumation graves were discovered, making a total of 44.
There is no indication that these excavations have reached the limits of
the cemetery, nor have aerial photographs shed
light on its extent. Only future excavation will determine its size.
1. The site (National Grid Reference TR/1638.4169; Kent 6 in.
O.S. Sheet LXVI S.E.) lies in the south west corner of field 251 h, Kent
25 in. O.S. Sheet LXVI II revision of 1939. The field is owned by Mr.
Arthur Hall and adjoins the back garden of his residence, "Riversdale",
Canterbury Road, Lyminge (See figs. 1 and 2) . The field is bounded on
its north west side by the back gardens of a number of residences which
front onto the Canterbury Road; the Elham-Lyminge parish boundary runs
along the north east side of the field.
2. The area immediately to the north east of the mushroom
shed (Fig. 1) was concreted before the first discoveries were made. The
remainder of the field is arable land.