Archaeology at Swarling by the University of Kent

Open Day for the Public

Date: Saturday 25th September, 2021

Time: 2pm

Place: Meet outside The Granville, CT4 7AL

Bus 18, Bay C5 in Canterbury City Centre to Hythe. Bus time – 1:40pm leaves Canterbury Bus Station and arrives at Granville Inn, Street End Lower Hardres at 1:52pm. Someone will be waiting for you there with further information.

We will be running guided tours of the site, alongside displays of finds and survey results. All are welcome, of any age. We are particularly keen to meet people from the village.

Warning: The walk from The Granville to the site is a 20 minute walk through the fields. You may arrive near the site on Iffin Lane in a taxibut parking on site is not permitted.

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3D modelling of Bitchet

Thanks to volunteer Peter Barry we now have 3-D models for the features dug at Bitchet Common, click here  – they are amazing!

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Reserach into nails found at Randall Manor

Nails were valuable. Horseshoe nails were even used as a form of currency in certain circumstances. They were made from English iron which was less carboniferous than the imported iron from Spain and Sweden (used in the making of cannons).

Apart from their use by blacksmiths and in shipbuilding, nails were used in furniture making, particularly in the earlier medieval period when furniture was board made. Nails might also be used to decorate furniture and chests. Often furniture nails were tin plated as the tannins in oak wood caused iron nails to corrode. They might also be silvered on the heads to provide a furtherdecorative feature.  In house building they were used to secure laths for roof tiles and in walls, when lath and plaster was used.

Randall manor was subject to a planned abandonment so there should be very few if any furniture nails but as excavations have shown that tiles were widely used on the roofs of the buildings and there was likely lath and plaster internal walls, it is probable that most, if not all of the nails will be nails used in the construction of buildings.


  • Wood, Margaret (1983) The English Medieval House. Harper Collins.
  • Clifton-Taylor, Alec (1973) The Pattern of English Building. Faber & Faber.
  • Ramsey, Nigel & Blair, John (2001) English Medieval Industries. The Hambledon Press.

(Amanda Hebbert, 2021)

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Caesar lecture coming up

SWAG volunteers have previously been involved in excavations examining the possibility of a landing point for Caesar on his visits to Kent. For those you interested in this period of history The Society of Antiquaries of London is holding a free lecture on October 5th that you may wish to attend (in person or online). It is titled ‘Fighting Caesar: Britons in Gaul and Gauls in Britain in Caesar’s Battle for Gaul’. The lecture will be given by Andrew Fitzpatrick and a brief summary follows:

Julius Caesar invaded Britain in 55 BC. One of the reasons that he gave for doing so was the aid that the Britons had given to the Gauls in almost every campaign during his long Battle for Gaul. This lecture will explore the nature of that assistance through the prism of a man whose grave was discovered at North Bersted, near Chichester.

For more details click here.

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Hoo day out

Some of the group got together this week for a ‘guided’ walk at Hoo. Emily was kind enough to guide us to Cockham Fort (dating to 1669), the boat graveyard (where Dunkirk heroine, Ena now rests), to various other military or Roman sites along the way and to St Werburgh parish church.

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