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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 87   1972 page 122

Rochester East Gate, 1969. By A. C. Harrison, B.A., F.S.A.

building facing the High Street and destroyed by the digging of the cellar, but, if so, it must have been one of light construction as no trace of foundations was found.
   The earliest features were the two small gullies, R.10 and R.11, and the ditch, R.12, into which the latter gully ran. These all contained pottery of the first century A.D.. and were presumably for drainage. During the second century the whole of the area was extensively used for rubbish disposal and pits dug for this purpose were numerous. Over the southern part of the area these pits were sealed at an average depth of 4 ft. 6 in. from the present surface by a layer of yellow subsoil of a thickness which varied from 15 in. to 3 in. and which became thinner towards the north, disappearing at a point about 65 ft. from the High Street. This was clearly the result of an extensive excavation nearby and is interpreted as trampled up-cast either from the Phase I ditch, which lies about 80 ft. to the south, or from the construction of the Phase II wall and wall-bank which are even closer. The latter hypothesis is preferred in view of the pottery from this layer which included colour-coated, Rhenish, red-ware and flanged bowls suggestive of a third-century date. This dating is supported by a coin of Tetricus (270-273), from the same layer. This might be an indication that the Phase II wall was built rather later than hitherto supposed,1 but this evidence is not conclusive because the layer is a thin one and the coin not therefore strictly sealed. The later Roman period is represented only by a layer of brown 'top-soil' containing a mixture of third- and fourth-century sherds and by a pit (R.13) of third-century date. It would appear, therefore, that the south-eastern corner of the Roman town remained unoccupied, possibly because it was thought desirable to keep a strip immediately inside the walls clear of houses.
   (b) Medieval. The main feature, the precinct wall of the Priory, was found, as expected, running roughly parallel to the High Street, at a depth of 3 ft. 3 in. from the present surface in Trench 5. This wall, the construction of which was authorised by Edward III in 1345, had previously been traced in 1887,2 at a point opposite the choir of the Cathedral, when some 85 ft. of it were uncovered. There it was recorded as being 15 ft. from the High Street but here its northern edge was 52 ft. from the pavement. Only the foundation remained, composed of chalk and rubble in a soft light-brown mortar and this was 5 ft. wide and 4 ft. 8 in. deep on the north side, rather less on the south. Fortunately, it was possible also to locate the junction of this wall with the east wall of the city, which occurred at a point 56 ft. from the edge of the present pavement in Trench 8. Here the foundation was at a considerably higher level, owing to the Roman wall-bank which had not
 
1 Arch. Cant, lxxiii (1968), 76.
   2 Arch. Cant., xviii (1889),  201.

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