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Archaeological evidence

Few of the archaeological data for Maidstone and its immediate environs derive from excavated sites, and, where they do, the mainly nineteenth and early twentieth century investigations did not benefit from modern archaeological techniques. The Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) for the area of study records the following evidence.

Mesolithic

Two mesolithic hammer-stones, a flint end-scraper and flint flakes were found at 16 Monkton's Lane in 1948, (Maidstone Museum Archaeological Gazetteer).

Mesolithic/neolithic flint scrapers were found on allotments between Upper Fant Road and the river Medway c. 1972-3, (Kelly 1973, 208).

Neolithic

An unfinished neolithic axe was found on the Roseholme Estate in 1964.

Tools made from Kentish limestone were found when a tree was grubbed up at Bydews Place in 1850 (JBAA 1857, 319).

A neolithic polished flint axe was found in the garden of 67 Quarry Road in 1949, at TQ 76095443 (Harrison 1950, xliii).

Bronze Age

A bronze age round-scraper was found in the garden of 4 Knowle Road (Maidstone Museum Card Index).

A bronze age palstave was dredged up from the river Medway in 1916.

A bronze age pottery beaker was found on the south side of the river Medway at Tovil when a road was being cut from Church Road to the river in 1892, (Jessup 1930, 258).

An Abercrombie-type pottery beaker was found in Upper Fant Road in 1885, (Jessup 1930, 91 and 258).

Iron Age

Part of a horse's bronze bit of early iron age date was discovered at the top end of Union Street in 1889, (Maidstone Museum Card Index).

Late iron age/Romano-British

Reports of a 'Roman villa' or 'species of terrace' found at Little Buckland Farm c. 1835, in an orchard remain unconfirmed (VCH III, 99).

First century AD late iron age cinerary urns, Romano-British potsherds and a fragment of box-flue tile were found at Northborough County Primary school in 1938. They are now housed in Maidstone Museum (Maidstone Museum Record Card Index).

A late iron age/Romano-British refuse pit was discovered in 1884 while foundations were being excavated for 9 Buckland Hill, (Maidstone Museum Record Card Index).

Excavations in 1970-71 confirmed earlier findings of a substantial Romano-British building with a c. 50m frontage on the Medway. The southern side of the building appeared to have consisted of a corridor which was later partitioned. Further excavations in 1994 in advance of road building investigated several unusual features and part of the area surrounding the villa. The site is commonly known as The Mount Roman villa (Miles 1972, 217-219).

Two or more Romano-British urns were found in St Faith's Street c. 1850, (Beale Poste 1858, 164).

Several Romano-British urns were discovered below the foundations of a warehouse, at the junction of Earl Street and Pudding Lane in 1715. The urns are said to have contained ashes, and human remains were scattered nearby. Nothing more is known about them. In 1932 a Romano-British burial group was uncovered during the laying of a gas main in Havelock Lane, and shortly afterwards another burial group comprising a large jar, a flagon, an early second century AD dish and a Samian ware cup, was uncovered. The pottery is housed in Maidstone Museum (Maidstone Museum Record Card Index; VCH III, 101).

A hoard of 58 sestertii coins dating from Domitian to Commodus, were found in 1935 in Church Street, (Cook 1936, 249-251).

A Romano-British cemetery was discovered 1859-1860 at Westborough, on the left bank of the Medway, between the Old Grammar School and the West Station. Only the eastern half of the cemetery was excavated; 25 to 30 skeletons were found with c. 150 pottery and glass urns, some burnt bones and coins. The urns were almost completely destroyed by the finders (Beale Poste 1859, 143-148; Scott Robertson 1884, 71; VCH III 1932, 3).

Foundations of a Romano-British building were cut through during the laying of a drain at the junction of Bower Lane and Florence Road in 1893. No further information is available.

Two bronze coins, of Constans I and Valentinianus II, were found in 1953 in the garden of 12 George Street. Now in Maidstone Museum (Museum Record Card).

A second century jar (olla) was found while digging foundations in Mill Street in 1937. Now in Maidstone Museum (Fisher 1938, 147).

Romano-British sepulchral urns were found in 1884. There is no information about the site and the ground has been built over (OS 25in map, 1936).

There are vague references to a Romano-British cemetery, discovered c. 1733 in Vintner's Park. The cemetery is said to have contained urns, coins, etc. The site is thought to lie in a disused sandpit, now overgrown wasteland (Scott-Robertson 1883, 75; Hasted 1798, 330).

A Romano-British bronze figure of Mercury and two large brass coins were found c. 1826 in grounds beside the Boxley Road belonging to a Mr Lamprey. No further information is available (Beale Poste 1858, 165).

A Romano-British bronze statuette of Sylvanus, c. 5cm long, and a lamp were found c. 1820 in a garden beside the chapel of St Peter's Hospital (Beale Poste 1858, 166).

A large fragment of an amphora handle of coarse buff pottery was discovered during the excavation of an ornamental pond in Brenchley Gardens in 1917, (OS Record Card).

A late iron age cremation group was discovered during the excavation of a trench at the rear of Haynes Garage in Ashford Road in 1963. The group is made up of a pedestal urn, a fragment of a globular jar with cordon and chevron containing the cremation, and the pin-spring of a brooch, all from the first century AD (Whimster 1981, 383).

The upper and lower stones of a Romano-British quern of puddingstone were found in the garden of Orlepitts, Church Street c. 1900, (Maidstone Museum Archaeological Gazetteer).

A first century brass coin of Claudius was found in a sewer trench at the top (west end?) of King Street c. 1851, (Beale Poste 1858, 165).

A second century brass coin of Commodus was found at a depth of 4 ft in All Saints Churchyard in 1844 (Beale Poste 1858, 165).

A fourth century bronze coin of Constantine I was found in an allotment adjoining the garden of 24 Albert Road in 1972, (Kelly 1973, 208).

A Romano-British burial was found on the east side of Wheeler Street in 1836, (Archaeologia 1844, 535).

A first century Romano-British brooch (Colchester type A) with its pin missing, was found in the south part of Maidstone, (Wright and Hassall 1972, 356).

The remains of a building, possibly Romano-British, were discovered during building operations at the corner of Week Street and High Street, (Summerton 1967, 293-294).

A fourth century bronze coin of Constantius II was found at 24 Buckland Hill in 1984, (Kelly 1984, 373).

A Romano-British field system and ditch containing Romano-British pottery, tile and brick were located during trenching at the Post Office sorting office, Sandling Road in 1995. It may have been associated with The Mount Roman villa nearby.

A late iron age refuse pit was discovered in Shrubbs Lane in 1889. The pit contained a fragment of an iron age rotary quern made of Rhenish lava, an early first century late iron age cooking pot, and numerous potsherds, now in Maidstone Museum (Maidstone Museum Card Index).

Human skeletons and Romano-British pottery have been found at Tovil on more than one occasion, but nothing is known about the finds or the site although three second century coarse ware jars and a flagon and a dish from Constables Quarry, may have come from the site (Maidstone Museum Gazetteer; VCH III 1932, 101).

Walls of a possible courtyard-type Romano-British villa were discovered in a field to the east of the road to Loose in 1870. Traces of a villa were also found during the construction of the Boys' Grammar School in 1929. Nothing is now visible on the ground, and nothing more was discovered during later building work on the site (Maidstone Museum Gazetteer; Smith 1876, 163-172).

A first century Romano-British bronze brooch was found in a garden in the vicinity of St Philip's Avenue in 1985,(Kelly 1985, 277).

A fourth century bronze coin of Constantine I was found at 158 Loose Road in 1976, (Kelly 1976, 233).

Saxon

A Saxon burial ground was discovered on the site of the Lancastrian School and on the east side of Wheeler Street in 1823. It contained skeletons with weapons and jewellery, and some urns (Gould 1908, 385).

A Saxon knife and spearhead were found at the Medway Brewery in 1871. Nothing further is known about the circumstances of discovery or the exact find spot. Now housed in Maidstone Museum (Maidstone Museum Card Index).

A Saxon gold sword-mount was found to the south of the river Len, Maidstone. Nothing more is known (Bruce-Mitford 1974, 286).

Medieval

A medieval vaulted cellar of c. fourteenth century date was recorded under 99-100 High Street, (Payne 1900, 224).

A pot containing a hoard of four gold and 499 silver coins, ranging in date from Henry V to Henry VII, was found during road widening in Lower Stone Street, probably on the site of a building demolished in 1939 (Warhurst 1952, 189-191).

Thirteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth century potsherds were found during trial trenching in Church Street in 1973, (Oldham 1973, 225; 1974, 220).

Part of a medieval dam wall, with an adjacent cobbled path, wall footings and an undated door-sill and foundations of a Norman building were discovered during excavations at the Archbishop's Palace site in 1989. A watching brief during the construction of a sewer trench in 1990 revealed the foundations of a Norman wall, layers of made-up ground, including forge waste and Romano-British pottery, and a ragstone wall overlain by oyster shells against the wall of All Saints Church (Maidstone Area Archaeological Group 1991-92).

A medieval pottery kiln was found in Week Street in 1921, (Dunning 1942, 64).

Post-medieval

Site of a lime kiln and associated buildings on the north side of Holland Road. Probably constructed in 1830s-1840s and destroyed by house building c. 1880s.

Site of a water-powered mill operating after 1782 on the banks of the Medway, (Clark and Murfin 1995, 86).

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