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‘I appealed to the sun-soaked hillfort brigade to come and join me on the front-line.’

He began touring the countryside on a bicycle when he was 12, keeping a record as he went of historic buildings, creating a picture of the historical geography of Kent. Later he bought a motorcycle and went round the country photographing objects in museums. Being an extremely skilled photographer, he then set up Pictorial Colour Slides to sell sets of slides which provided him with his income in the early years of rescue archaeology.

Of all the sites he visited, the Roman Saxon Shore fort at Reculver had a real impact: it was being washed into the sea and no-one was doing a thing. He started here in 1952. By 1957 he had set up the Reculver Excavation Group. ‘No-one was doing rescue at this time. We developed it in response to Reculver. Archaeology at this point was very much a matter of individuals. There were no units.’

Brian has been working at Reculver ever since, and discoveries made there have been at the centre of discussion about the dating and development of the entire Saxon Shore frontier. An inscription he found in 1960 is one of the most important in Roman Britain: the name of the provincial governor dates the construction to c. AD 210-20. (CIB became, and has remained, the acronym on Kent Archaeological

Above left A younger Brian Philp in the early days at Reculver, here contributing to the 1960 end-of-season celebrations. Note the shaving brush. Scale in feet. Above The front-line. The reality of rescue archaeology. Winter excavation, Dover town centre, 1984. Below Recording the south wall of Farningham Castle in 1972 on the line of a sewer pipe.

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