Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1

Stuart Foreman, 2004 (updated 2009)

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Oxford Archaeology (South)
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Stuart Foreman (2009) Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1 [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

Bower Road, Smeeth, Kent - Integrated Site Report


Bower Road cover plate.

As part of an extensive programme of archaeological investigation carried out in advance of the construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), Oxford Archaeology (formerly Oxford Archaeological Unit) was commissioned to undertake a watching brief between Mersham and Barrowhill in Kent. In the course of the watching brief, a concentration of archaeological features was exposed during construction earthworks, near Bower Road, Smeeth (OS NGR 605946 138812), and subjected to detailed excavation. The excavation was carried out between July 1999 and September 1999, under the project management of Rail Link Engineering, on behalf of Union Railways (South) Limited (a subsidiary of London and Continental Railways).

The features recorded were principally of Roman date. However, a small assemblage of redeposited worked flint, ranging in date from the Mesolithic to early Bronze Age, was also recovered, suggesting some prehistoric activity in the area. Late pre-Roman Iron Age activity was indicated by a small quantity of pottery, recovered from a pond and a series of drainage ditches. Evidence for early Roman activity was limited, comprising part of a field system. By the first half of the 2nd century AD, a rural agricultural settlement seems to have been established, represented by the severely truncated remains of a timber structure, with large postholes and associated slight, ragstone wall footings. There were also ditched enclosures, fence lines, a waterhole and several pits. It is possible that the establishment of this settlement represents a shift from the nearby later prehistoric settlement at Little Stock Farm, which lies only 400m away, to the south-east, and appears to have been continuously occupied from the later Bronze Age until the late Iron Age. Ample evidence of crop processing activity and animal husbandry was found in the 2nd-century features. The ditched enclosure boundaries seem to have fallen into disuse in the late 2nd century AD, to be replaced by a large rectangular enclosure and a substantial 20-post timber building. A cremation burial was identified just outside the enclosure. This agricultural complex seems to have been in use until the late 3rd century, and may have continued into the 4th century, although at a much reduced level. Evidence of occupation continuing into the 4th century AD comprised three pits, including one pit with evidence of ritual deposition, and a small amount of pottery and coins deposited in the upper fills of earlier features.

There was limited evidence of post-Roman agricultural activity, including two field boundary ditches running across the main site, a group of slight, ragstone wallfootings interpreted as animal pens and a field boundary of medieval or post-medieval date. The latter were discovered during stripping to the south-east of the main excavation area.

The fieldwork events incorporated in this report are:

  • Bower Road Watching Brief - Area 440 (ARC WB440/95+900-97+100) - Watching Brief

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.

Ceramic Building Material Ceramics
Roman Pottery Ceramics
Post Roman Pottery Ceramics
Small Finds Small Finds
Human Remains Human Remains
Charred Plant Remains Environmental
Fauna Environmental
Integrated Site Report

The integrated site report and data for this site can be found on the downloads page.

Phase 1

Evaluation and Interim Excavation Data

There are no other evaluation and interim excavation data associated with this report.