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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 87   1972 page 123

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

been cut through, and had been much damaged, but it was possible to trace its south edge for 6 ft. to the west. It was thus possible to plot the course of this wall over the whole of the area (Fig. 1).
   About 30 ft. to the south of the precinct wall in the area which, from the wording of the 1345 charter, is known to have formed part of the monks' garden, was a line of substantial post-holes of early-medieval date (Trench 1). In front of these, and, very possibly, to be connected with them, were two kilns for the manufacture of clay loom-weights, one of which, Kiln A, clearly represented an unsuccessful firing as the batch of about 40 weights was in situ (Fig. 2, and PL I). This kiln was intact, but Kiln B in Trench 3 had been empty when it was partially destroyed by a later pit. As it would appear that this is the first time a site for manufacturing these weights has been recorded, it has seemed worthwhile to give a fairly detailed description.3 The design was extremely simple, consisting merely of a trench 7 ft. by 3 ft. 6 in. and 2 ft. deep cut into the soil and lined with clay. This lining was quite thin in A but in B, which had been used and re-lined at least three times, it was several inches thick and incorporated four 'waster' weights as well as some very useful pottery. The trench had then been filled with a mixture of fuel and weights and fired from the south end. It is not quite certain whether the trenches were roofed over, though numerous fragments of daub recovered from the area suggest that this was so. Alternatively, it is possible that the trenches were left open until the fire was well alight and were then banked up with clay to slow down combustion as in primitive pottery manufacture. A date of c. 1100 A.D. is suggested for the kilns (see Fig. 14 and p. 144, below). Six rubbish-pits (M1-6), some of considerable size, were found in the area.

2. Eastern Area
   (a) Roman. The opportunity was taken to cut a long section (Trench 7) through the earth-works inside the Roman city wall, parts of which survive here to a considerable height as a result of having been incorporated in the seventeenth-century building now demolished. While the general picture (Fig. 3, PL. II) was much the same as from previous excavations inside the wall4 it was more complete and there
3 Two rows of Saxon loom-weights, numbering 30 and 32 respectively and nearly 10 ft. in length, were found at Grimstone End, Pakenham, Suffolk, and were interpreted by the excavator as being piled ready for firing rather than as having fallen from a loom, because in his view the width was too great for a shuttle to have been used. This argument, however, is invalid as shuttles were not usually employed with the warp-weighted loom, and it seems more likely that these weights did in fact comprise a wide loom. (See N. Smedley, G. M. Knooker, S. E. West and B. J. W. Brown, 'Excavations at Grimstone End, Pakenhan ', Proc. Suffolk Inst. Arch., xxvi (1954), 198-9, pl. xxiv.)
   4 Arch. Gant., lxxxiii (1968), figs, 4 and 6.

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