LiDAR and Ground Truthing family event

The next main event will be held on Friday 12th of April.

LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) works the way sonar does underwater but above ground, mapping the lumps and bumps on the land surface.

Ground truthing is physically investigating the lumps and bumps to try to identify what they are.

We are planning two sessions, one starting at 10am and the second at 1pm. The first part of the session (10-15 minutes) will involve looking at the LiDAR survey of the park and the rest will be spent out and about in the park ‘ground truthing’ the results. Each session will last about two hours.

What might be revealed? WW2 camp remains, windmill bases, medieval buildings or field systems or something even older?

This event is aimed at families which is why it’s in the school holidays (although all are welcome). As with all SWAG events it is free* and although not essential, you are advised to book your place by contacting us on swagkent2024@gmail.com so we can assess numbers and contact you if we need to postpone the event because of bad weather.

*Parking fees apply and children must be accompanied by an adult.

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Half-term and upcoming events

The half-term event at Shorne went well. Over 190 families turned up! Here’s a photo of the pot collage, created with the recorded (and discarded) pottery from the Cobham village project.

pottery collage

We have a general timetable for the archaeology activities for the rest of the year (see below). If you haven’t joined us in the past but fancy something new please contact us for more details at  SWAGkent2023@gmail.com

February – Trosley walk over.

March – Back to the plateau!

April – Resitivity in Gravesend ; LiDAR/Groundtruthing event at Shorne.

May – Shorne Open Day,  SWAG display boards, finds etc.

June – Mote Park project; Plus dig in Gravesend Dig tbc.

July – Festival of Archaeology weekend; Trosley Open Day and community dig day; Festival of Archaeology event at Greenwich.

August – Shorne Family Fun Day (back by popular demand!) includes tile making, sand “finds pit” dig, mosaic making; Higham foreshore walk; Holiday activities at Shorne includes dowsing, resitivity, metal detecting.

October – Shorne Halloween finds pit.

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Sandwich lectures

The Sandwich Local History Society lecture series (to May) has been added to their website. The title for the 8th February talk is “The Coastal and Intertidal Zone Archaeology Network (CITiZAN) & the Sandwich Bay ‘Keddle Nets”. This will be held at the Sandwich Guidhall at 7.30pm.

Take a look at their website for lectures later in the year – http://www.sandwichlocalhistorysociety.org.uk/history-lectures.htm

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The New Year

Activities have started up at Shorne, and despite our ‘barn site’ being too damp to dig still, we have been busy with walkovers and LiDAR sleuthing.

Over the next month the team will be working their way around the park recording (thanks to JT) the accurate location of all of our past projects in the Park so we can create a comprehensive map of the archaeology of the park. This will be happening on Thursdays and Fridays, weather willing!

It will also help tie up past projects and inform future ones!

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Trosley Family Open Day

Following the success of SWAG’s archaeological family digs and exhibitions at Shorne Country Park, we were invited by the Kent County Council Parks’ Manager to manage a similar event at Trosley Country Park. The event was held on the 17th June last year.

In February 2023, SWAG conducted a walkover survey of an area within Trosley Country Park that had been used during WWII as an Officer training camp. It was known that foundations of various building and slit trenches remain in the woods adjacent to the main path.

A hut base (Ablution Block) was chosen as suitable for a family day activity, as it was easily accessible from the main path and suitable for children to try out their archaeological skills. On the 17th June SWAG volunteers (JT, Mary and co.) cleared a path trough the undergrowth and set up shop alongside the path to lure people in.

A steady stream of adults and children ventured to take part. Some of the children insisted on staying all day! Others were bribed away with promises of ice cream etc. but returned later to continue digging, metal detecting, brushing and just getting dirty. All the finds were enthusiastically brought to team members for examination and identification by
excited children. The finds included a twisted wire cable, drainpipe from a sink, a quick release bolt, wire reinforced glass, a dog tag, lead shot from a shotgun cartridge and electrical insulators.

For the dig volunteers, there wasn’t much time to rest or have lunch as they were continually called upon to equip and instruct new arrivals, answer questions and congratulate those who had found items of interest. It was exhausting but rewarding work. By the end of the day the majority of the hut base had been uncovered and it was possible to see where the sinks, partitions, shower cubicles and drainage channels had been. There was no provision for toilets and it is probable these were located in a separate building, for hygiene reasons.

The children worked hard to clear away 70+ years of accumulated woodland and demolition detritus to uncover the remains of the shower cubicles. Once cleared, it was possible to see square indentations where a sink support would have been secured to the concrete floor and a section of the water gully used to take waste water from the sinks to a common drain.

A measure of the day’s success was that a number of children insisted in coming to Shorne Woods Country Park for their Family Fun Days, where SWAG set up other archaeological fun for them to try.

Family Fun Days are held at Shorne throughout the year. Please keep and eye on this website for future dates. The next one is on February 15th, during the school holidays. We’d love to welcome you and your family.

(Don Blackburn)

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