Channel Tunnel Rail Link Section 1

Stuart Foreman, 2004 (updated 2009)

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Sandway Road, Lenham, Kent - Integrated Site Report


Grave goods being lifted from Pepper Hill.

As part of the scheme of archaeological mitigation undertaken prior to construction of the Channel Tunnel Rail Link (CTRL), Rail Link Engineering (RLE), acting on behalf Union Railways (South) Limited (subsequently London and Continental Railways), commissioned Wessex Archaeology and Oxford Archaeology (formerly the Oxford Archaeological Unit) to carry-out a programme of fieldwork on land adjacent to Sandway Road, between the villages of Sandway and Harrietsham, Kent (OS NGR TQ 87975 51642). The works included an evaluation, a 'strip-map-sample' excavation and a watching brief.

There is slight evidence that the site was at least visited in the early Mesolithic. However, the earliest substantial phase of activity belongs to the late Mesolithic (c 6500-4000 BC) and comprised a significant concentration of burnt and worked flint. Microliths, microburins and other tools were recovered with large amounts of knapping waste, mostly from a shallow hollow and two areas of palaeosol. This is interpreted as evidence for a short-term hunting camp, which was perhaps re-visited on a number of occasions. Bioturbation had re-distributed artefacts vertically but little lateral movement had taken place, allowing some reconstruction of activity zones.

Pottery from the site spanned the Neolithic period (c 4000-2300 BC). A large pit contained small amounts of middle Neolithic Peterborough ware pottery, but most of the fragmentary and abraded assemblage either came from tree-throws holes and natural hollows or was residual in later features. The circumstances under which the pottery was deposited remain unknown, but the assemblage as a whole indicates activity over a long time-scale and at a low-intensity. Neolithic flint was limited in occurrence and was also mostly residual or intrusive. Its distribution did not correspond with the Neolithic pottery.

There is slight evidence for arable farming in the early Bronze Age and a charred wheat grain was radiocarbon dated to 1960-1690 cal BC. The development of land-division in the middle Bronze Age (1600-1150 cal BC) is demonstrated by two closely spaced ditch alignments that probably represent successive variations on a single boundary. The larger of these contained a group of Deverel-Rimbury style vessels, amongst which were parts of two globular urns. Several undated ditches recorded in a watching brief may also belong to this phase. Up to 0.5 m of colluvium sealed the site and the early formation of this layer may be attributed directly to mobilisation of hill slope soils by Bronze Age farming activity.

Two parallel late medieval or early post-medieval ditches may also have been land-boundaries. Several tree-throw holes/hollows discovered during the Watching Brief remain undated, as do the majority of such features within the main excavation area.

The fieldwork events incorporated in this report are:

  • Sandway Road (ARC SWR99) - Excavation
  • Sandway Road Watching Brief - Area 420 (ARC WB420/73+500-73+700) - 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.

Early Prehistoric Pottery Ceramics
Later Prehistoric Pottery Ceramics
Lithics Lithics
Small Finds Small Finds
Dating Dating
Charred Plant Remains 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

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

West Of Sandway (ARC SNDW95) Geophysical Survey
Sandway (ARC SND95) Geophysical Survey
Sandway Road (ARC SWR98) Evaluation
Sandway Road (ARC SWR99) Excavation