Isle of Thanet l og y ISLE OF THANET East Kent Access Road
Digging the gateway to Britain p hotos
A major new road project in East Kent has unearthed evidence for settlement, conquest, and change on Thanet from the Mesolithic through to the Second World War. Simon Mason and Phil Andr ews discuss the site of 2010’s biggest British dig.
East Kent has been a gateway for new peoples, cultures, ideas, and trade for thousands of years. An essential stepping-stone on this journey was the Isle of Thanet. Now joined to the mainland following the silting of the former Wantsum Channel, this was once a major harbour and navigational route. Yet the legacy of the island’s role in migrations and commerce is apparent in its vast archaeological wealth, showcased during the largest excavation to take place in the United Kingdom in 2010.
Kent County Council (KCC) are building a new road link, the East Kent Access, on the southern slopes of Thanet, extending from the Ebbsfleet Peninsula to the high chalk ridge crowned by Manston Airport. The landscape through which this road will run is steeped in history, and associated with some of the great events and traditions above Pathway to the past: the East Kent Access Road project has uncovered a wealth of archaeological remains from the prehistoric to the present day. Here an Iron Age/Romano-British settlement is being dug. An aerial photograph (inset) shows the area and scale of the excavations.
current archaeology | www.archaeology.co.uk
May 2012 |