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Lees Court Estate

Submitted by Jacob Scott on 27 October 2023

Virtual tour of Lees Court Estate excavations

Take a virtual tour of the Society's excavations of a prehistoric landscape of roundbarrows and mortuary pits at Lees Court Estate near Badlesmere.


Recorded Sun, 18 Jun 2023


Holly Grove Mound, at the top of a woody slope at Lees Court Estate near Badlesmere in Kent, had previously been identified as a Bronze Age round barrow. A resistivity survey indicated the possibility of an outer ring ditch surrounding the barrow and extending into the adjacent large ploughed field known as Stringman's Field.


Neolithic roundbarrow

In 2018, exploratory excavations began over the ring ditch structure in Stringman's Field. This evaluation revealed many features consistent with this being another round barrow. A possible entrance on the north side of the structure threw up the possibility of a causewayed enclosure. Keith Parfitt directed an area excavation in the 2023 season to establish precisely what this structure is.

Aerial photograph showing the fully exposed enclosure.
Aerial photograph by Michael Curtis showing the fully exposed enclosure.

Dating of ceramic finds in the area pushed back initial estimation of the age of the site, suggesting the structure may have had Late-Neolithic origins and used into the Bronze Age.




Further trenches around the structure established a deep and wide irregular ring ditch, carved into the chalk bedrock. At one point, it is 2m wide, elsewhere 3m wide…then 4m.



A cremation pit was identified on the east of the structure.





Mortuary pits

Beginning in 2018 and 2019, we partially excavated what appeared to be another ring ditch structure in the southeast corner of Stringman's Field, eventually revealed to be a mortuary pit complex.




Find out more




Lees Court Estate: Interview with an archaeologist

Mon, 24 Jul 2023

An interview with an archaeologist on the recent dig at Lees Court Estate near Badlesmere where seasonal excavations since 2018 have revealed clues to a prehistoric burial landscape. Read



Start of Lees Court Estate Project season 2023

Tue, 23 May 2023

Excavations for the 2023 project season will commence on Tuesday 11th April 2023 and end on Saturday 27th May 2023 (Bank Holidays and Coronations will see the sites closed). Read



Initial thoughts on the ring ditch at Lees Court Estate

Wed, 23 May 2018

Dr Steve Willis of the University of Kent gives his initial thoughts on the recent archaeological dig by the KAS of a suspected ring ditch at Lees Court Estate. Watch