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Archaeologia Cantiana - Vol. 87   1972 page 126

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

angles from the line of the city wall. This was 2 ft. thick, 5 ft. 6 in. wide and extended for more than 21 ft. to the east. It did not produce any dating evidence but is thought to have been the foundation of an early medieval Gate House of rectangular shape. Against this had been abutted a very solidly constructed masonry foundation of flint and ragstone set in a pale yellow mortar (PL. V). Its shape was rather more than a semi-circle, its width 4 ft. 9 in. with a projection 2 ft. 8 in. wide 1 ft. below its top surface and its total depth was 5 ft. 6 in. The projecting flange, which was certainly of the same build as the rest, is a curious feature in that there would seem to have been a change of plan while building was in progress. Starting 1 ft. below the top surface at the north-west extremity, it was level for several feet on the outside of the curve but then sloped away rapidly and disappeared just inside the smaller cellar. On the inside curve the slope began almost immediately and the flange terminated at about the same point. Yet, both inside and outside, a trench had been dug wide enough to accommodate the flange, a trench subsequently filled with clean red gravel. This foundation, taken in conjunction with the similar curved foundation described by Canon Livett8 and, until recently, still partly visible on the opposite side of the High Street (PL. VI), clearly formed part of the southern drum-tower of the later medieval East Gate, which is shown with a pointed arch-way between tall flanking towers in William Smith's drawing of Rochester, dated 1588.9 There was a number of medieval rubbish-pits (M7-M13) in the vicinity of the Gate and one of these (M7) was cut by the curved foundation. The pottery from this pit, therefore, which is of thirteenth-century date (see p. 150, below) provides a terminus a quo for the building of the tower.
   On the small undisturbed area in the centre of the tower foundation were the remains of a hearth which had clearly been used for iron smelting, as quantities of iron slag were recovered from its ashes. A coin of Honorius sealed beneath it makes it improbable that it was Roman, and it must be earlier than the construction of the drum-tower as it was cut by the foundation-trench, so an early medieval date seems probable.

3. Northern Area
   Roman As the Phase I ditch had been seen to continue to the north under the present pavement, it was thought worthwhile to try to trace it on the other side of the High Street, where it was found to continue to the north for 18 ft. from the building-line before terminating (Fig. 5). The silt of the ditch produced late second-century pottery. The building of the Mathematical School had destroyed all stratification
8  Arch. Cant., xxi (1895), 52 and pl. III.
    9  Arch. Cant., vi (1866), 54.

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