Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1

Stuart Foreman, 2004 (updated 2009)

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West of Blind Lane, Sevington, Kent - Post Excavation Assessment Reports


West of Blind Lane under excavation.

As part of an extensive programme of archaeological investigation carried out in advance of the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), the Oxford Archaeological Unit were commissioned by Union Railways (South) Limited to undertake detailed and strip, map and sample excavations in three areas at West of Blind Lane, Sevington, Kent.

A scatter of flint in secondary contexts provides evidence for activity in the area in the Neolithic - early Bronze Age.

Only small quantities of pottery were found on the site, often in upper fills of features. Given the high probability of residuality on a site such as this, it is therefore difficult to date the features with confidence. Nonetheless, some chronological observations have been possible.

Partly on the grounds of the absence of later material, two partially parallel ditches have been dated to the middle-late Bronze Age. These ditches, preserved to appreciable depths, are insufficient alone to define a field system and their function is unclear. However, assuming they marked a boundary of some kind, they nonetheless provide some evidence for the chronology, if not the function, of prehistoric landscape division.

The only evidence for activity between the middle-late Bronze Age and the late Iron Age is provided by a brooch, dated to the 4th-3rd centuries BC, found in a posthole near the eastern edge of the site. The hiatus in activity between the middle-late Bronze Age and the late Iron Age is matched at a number of other CTRL sites and more widely in southern England.

Much more extensive traces of late Iron Age-early Roman ditches were found. There was no clear overall pattern in their layout but it seems likely that these ditches formed a field system. Although the evidence for its date is sparse, its overall chronology is clear. It was first laid out in the late Iron Age. Pottery dating from after c AD 70, however, was rare and was found only in upper fills. The field system thus seems to have fallen into disuse at some time, perhaps early, in the 2nd century AD. This relatively short life is matched at numerous sites along the CTRL and more widely in southern England and the Midlands. The site thus has the potential to contribute to a wider comparative analysis on a local scale of the chronology of landscape division, which should contribute to wider comparisons at a regional level.

Limited artefactual and ecofactual evidence was recovered. There was little pottery, and only very small quantities of slag, fired clay, metalwork and animal bone. The scarcity of charred plant remains, especially cereals may be significant in the context of a field system. Much of the artefactual material was concentrated in what may have been the corner of a field. A loose scatter of pits and postholes suggests that this corner was the focus for limited activity. Much of the artefactual and ecofactual evidence may, however, have been deposited through processes such as field marling.

A deposit of 13th-14th century pottery was also found, and further very small quantities of medieval pottery provide the only evidence to suggest that a ditch and posthole may date from this period.

The fieldwork events incorporated in this report are:

  • West of Blind Lane (ARC BLN95) - Geophysical Survey
  • West of Blind Lane (ARC BLN97) - Evaluation
  • West of Blind Lane (ARC BLN98) - Excavation

Other material from the programme linked to this report.

Phase 2

Specialist Research Reports

Below is a list of specialist research reports which refer to this site.

Later Prehistoric Pottery Ceramics
Post Excavation Assessment Reports

The Post Excavation assessment reports and data for this site can be found on the downloads page.

Phase 1

Evaluation and Interim Excavation Data

Below is a list of other evaluation and interim excavation data from sites and field work events associated with this report.

West Of Blind Lane (ARC BLN97) Evaluation
West Of Blind Lane (ARC BLN98) Excavation