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Department of Archaeology


Research Objectives

How were changing power structures and social hierarchies inscribed onto and embedded into the landscape?

How did people use the landscape and connections across it to structure, negotiate, and communicate their identities during periods of dramatic social, economic, and political change?


To study rural Iron Age, Roman, and Anglo-Saxon Britain

The study of ancient rural Britain is currently a major research topic and large projects (e.g. at Reading and Oxford) are connecting a high volume of disparate data. Regional research designed to analyse extant data and collect new data must feed into this broader national framework.

To improve existing interpretations of the region

There is still much to be done in understanding the landscape of east Kent and gaps remain in the interpretations of the socio-political organization of the Cantii / Cantiaci immediately before and during the Roman period. In order to add to this important debate we are examining diachronic and spatial relationships between features and artefacts and how they relate to social hierarchies and connectivity between Canterbury and the ports of Kent and the continent.

To break down site-type bias in archaeology of rural sites

The traditional focus on villas and military sites in Roman Britain has tended to overshadow the significance of other rural sites, such as farmsteads, enclosures, and trackways. For Kent, our correction of the RCHME study of aerial photographs (which was never published) combined with the addition of new cropmarks in other aerial photographs will help to populate the landscape with such features. Combined with a detailed study of the landscape, our project will provide an integrated investigation of all types of sites in the region and will try to avoid the straightjacket of existing categories.

To add to the archaeological record of Kent

Archaeologists have been working tirelessly in Kent for centuries. We are identifying new sites of interest (e.g. Bronze Age, Iron Age, Roman, and Saxon enclosures, structures, and other rural sites) through aerial photography and surveying them using the latest geophysical techniques. By producing timely and detailed archive reports of our fieldwork for the Historic Environment Record, by publishing our fieldwork results in Archaeologia Cantiana, by regularly informing the HER of our discoveries of (and corrections of) crop-marks aerial photographs, and by integrating all our results in wide-ranging synthetic publication we will add to the publicly accessible archaeological record of Kent.

To develop best practice and test new methods and techniques

We are demonstrating the success of collaboration with professional and commercial partners and of employing multiple non-intrusive techniques to collect a large amount of high-quality data. We are testing 3-axis gradiometers attached to a non-magnetic cart with our commercial partner Bartington Instruments to assess the potential for collecting archaeological data. We are improving our custom-built accelerometer-like device developed at Nottingham Trent University to record and allow correction in the data for roll, pitch, and yaw of the GPR cart. Finally, while we will continue to record 5.0-m. interval topographic measurements to produce surface models, we also plan to experiment with the production of a 3D photogrammetric model using a high-definition camera attached to a remote copter.

To educate and foster stewardship

We are training students and local archaeological groups in the latest geophysical survey techniques and are fostering the concept of archaeological stewardship.