Facing the Cliff: East Wear Bay Archaeological Project

Facing the Cliff: East Wear Bay Archaeological Project
Facing the Cliff: East Wear Bay Archaeological Project

Location: East Wear Bay off Wear Bay Road, East Cliff, Folkestone, Kent, CT19 6PR

Season: July 1, 2024 to August 25, 2024

Session Dates: 8th July to 19th July 2024, 22nd July to 2nd August 2024

Application Deadline: May 1, 2024

Deadline Type: Contact for Details


Program Type:
Field School, Volunteer

RPA Certified:

Canterbury Archaeological Trust

Project Director:
Tania Wilson

Project Description:

Canterbury Archaeological Trust would like to invite applicants for placements at its award-winning East Bay Archaeological Project. The excavation is a community project with the aim of researching the historic landscape of East Wear Bay and preserving archaeological remains associated with Folkestone Roman Villa ‘by record’ before they are lost forever to coastal erosion.
Multiple phases of occupation exist at the site dating from the Roman period back to the late Bronze Age. Evidence for international, national, and local trade alongside roundhouses and other domestic finds have been uncovered. The most significant discovery has been of an extensive quernstone production area dating, at its height, to the late Iron Age. The querns were made from the local Greensand stone brought up from the cliffs and beaches around Folkestone.

A major new programme of excavation began in 2023 at East Cliff and will continue until 2026. This will be focused on ground outside (i.e., seaward) of the main villa buildings, across the area most at risk from coastal erosion. The aim will be to set the known villa buildings into both their contemporary local landscape and chronological settings. The new excavations are expected to reveal further remains of prehistoric and Roman date, including buildings, complexes of ditches and rubbish pits, all adding to our growing understanding of the history of this major site.

Period(s) of Occupation: The archaeological site at East Wear Bay has a complex history. As presently understood, following some activity during earlier prehistoric times, this area grew to particular importance during the Late Iron Age, when it served as the focus of a quernstone production industry and probably functioned as a port of trade with the developing Roman Empire. After the Roman Conquest of Britain, a major villa complex, whose full extent is yet to be ascertained, was established on the site surrounded by a system of ditched fields and enclosures that replaced earlier ones belonging to the Late Iron Age settlement.

Two-week field school placement: £700. Flights and accommodation are not included. We can help you find private accommodation in the Canterbury or Folkestone areas and there may be the option of staying on campus at University of Kent with transport to site provided. Placement activities will include: site introduction; site induction including health and safety; archaeological excavation and the use of tools; finds processing; the written site record; archaeological site drawing, site surveys; and site photography. Subject to weather conditions and availability, we will also be running sessions on environmental processing and analysis, Historic Building Recording, and Geophysics, with an optional landscape walk to explore the local heritage.

Project Size: 25-49 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 2 weeks for full field school programme. If participants wish to stay as volunteers after the field school is complete, the project continues to run until 23/08/2024.

Minimum Age: 18

Experience Required: No prior experience required.

Room and Board Arrangements:
Room and board is not included and participants are expected to make their own arrangements. We are happy to offer help for those wishing to find somewhere to stay and can make suitable recommendations.

Academic Credit:
CAT provides accredited professional training. Individual progress is logged using the BAJR skills passport, a document recognised by most professional and academic institutions in the UK. If other forms of credit are required, for example a student progress report, please let us know in advance and we will do our best to accommodate.

Contact Information:

Lindsay Banfield

92A Broad St





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