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Story of the KAS

Submitted by Jacob Scott on 14 November 2023

Maidstone Museum exhibition: The story of the KAS

A new exhibit at Maidstone Museum open from now until December showcases the story of the KAS.


June to December 2023


After much hard work by outgoing hon. curator Dr Elizabeth Blanning, KAS curator Andy Ward, and the staff at Maidstone Museum we are pleased to announce the opening of our temporary exhibition showcasing the story of the Society.

Exhibition showcases at Maidstone Museum forming part of the exhibition.
Exhibition showcases at Maidstone Museum forming part of the exhibition.


Exhibition highlights

The exhibition includes Roman objects donated to the society by William Bland of Hartlip Place, Sittingbourne in 1858. These were some of the first objects given to the society. The objects on display at the museum highlight aspects of the daily life of the Villas’ residents.

Taking centre stage at the exhibition are the Aylesford ‘torcs’ which are on display for the first time since Dover Museum’s “Beyond the Horizon” exhibition in 2013. The first of these over 3,000 years old objects, were purchased by society member Edward Pretty in 1861 before being joined by a further seven objects in 1869. While the exact circumstances of their discovery remain shrouded in mystery, it is hoped that future research will allow us to tell more of their story. It has been a joy for all involved in the creation of this exhibition to get these skillfully crafted pieces out from under lock & key.

Bronze Age jewellery finds in the exhibition.
Bronze Age jewellery finds in the exhibition.


The Society's activities

The Kent Archaeological Society ('KAS') is a registered charity and its aims are to promote, protect and provide access to the history and archaeology of the ancient county of Kent. As part of our ongoing commitment to these aims we have, and continue to run, a number of training excavations for both members and the general public. The Roman Villa at Minster-in-Thanet was one of our longest running training schemes with the society operating alongside affiliated organisations – The Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society, Trust for Thanet Archaeology, and Dover Archaeological Group. The dig was run by Dave Perkins and later Keith Parfitt of Canterbury Archaeological Trust. Our temporary exhibition showcases just some of the objects our work uncovered. We continue to offer practical training excavations, currently at Lees Court Estate, near Faversham.

The society’s other aims are to help protect and provide access to the archaeological remains of Kent. As part of this we help to save at risk objects. We are pleased to display, for the first time, the Elham Pendant, a 7th century gold pendant discovered by metal detectorist Paul Haigh in 2018, recorded on the Portable Antiquities Scheme before the society purchased it through the Treasure Process. Reconstruction drawings show how this gold and garnet cross may have been worn by a powerful woman of the time.

The society’s most recent purchase was of the nationally important Ozengell Anglo-Saxon Cemetery collection which was acquired in 2022. Over 200 graves were excavated containing numerous objects from jewellery and weaponry, to keys, pottery, and glass vessels. These are also on display for the first time, representing a small fraction of the 1700 objects within the collection which it is hoped will be able to go on display once they have undergone much needed conservation treatment.

Come along and visit this temporary exhibition on display at Maidstone Museum until December 2023.