S.W.A.G. Logo Competition

After the brilliant success of our Cobham Landscape Detectives logo (below), brought to life by Pauline to adorn our Cobham T-shirts, it has been suggested that we need one for the Shorne Woods Archaeology Group.

And so to keep us all amused as we sit through hopefully the last month of lockdown I am opening up the Great Shorne Woods Archaeology Group logo competition!

This is open to everyone! Please send in your ideas and we will create a logo for the future…let’s face it we haven’t had a new t-shirt in a while.

Don’t feel you need to design it digitally, it can be a drawing sent through as a photo…we can then workout how to turn it into a print logo…

Crossed trowels? Trees and a medieval manor? A Mesolithic flint? Footsteps in a wood…an open test pit? What says SWAG to you?

(ANY entry that mentions lost hobnails or demolished walls will be immediately disqualified!)


CLD logo
The CLD logo
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Online events from the Kent Archaeological Society

KAS is organising a series of montly talks by Trustees and committee members. The next of these will be presented by Dr Sheila Sweetingburgh on Tuesday 9th March at 19:30, on the Faversham painted pillar.

This will be followed up with a series of monthly talks including:

  • Underground Kent – Kent’s hidden heritage
  • Lees Court Estate – the story so far and what’s next
  • The KAS archaeological collections – highlights from the curator
  • Mapping our heritage – how sophisticated mapping tools are being used to record and understand our heritage
  • Our Neighbours in Empire: a tour of Belgium and the Netherlands in the Roman era

For more details go to the KAS website – https://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/announcement/favershams-painted-pillar-online-event

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Monumental Brasses of Cobham Church

The Library of the Kent Archaeological Society has in its archives, manuscripts belonging to Harry Taswell Belcher, a former member of the KAS who had a strong interest in monumental brasses. His hand written booklet of the inscriptions at the Cobham church is now available to view.

Image courtesy of the KAS

Click here to be taken to the catalogue record. Click on the ‘linked media’ icon and then the title of the booklet to bring up the pdf, which includes genealogical notes about some of the individuals listed.

Monumental brass of Lady Cobham, drawn in an unknown hand, courtesy of the KAS.

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Neolithic activity at Shorne

We previously mentioned a flint discovered at Shorne, given to us by a member of the public. A closer look has revealed that based on its shape and form, it can be argued to be Neolithic in origin and not Mesolithic as once thought. For a detailed discussion on the flint, provided by Nick Murphy of Flint Finds of History, read on…

Neolithic axe from Shorne Woods

The style of knapping has produced a tool that goes from a pointed base to an increasingly broad width tool, which is not consistent with a UK Mesolithic adze.  The latter are consistently tubular and a regular width from base to cutting head.  Many adze have an offset base-plate which seems to be an aid to seating them inside a socket and perhaps associated with impact cushioning. That said I have seen Mesolithic adze with narrowed pointed bases; but they are far less common. One personal find from the Mesolithic site of Broomhill.

Adze usually feature a broad square to rectangular cross section, where as this is more elliptical, which is a common design with Neolithic core tools.  And whilst the Mesolithic pointed forms may match at the base profile they are fundamentally different down the body of the tool, with irregularity in shape in both curvature and elongation…..slightly banana 🙂

Mesolithic axes are extremely rare and my own finds (of which I am confident) include one broad tip sharpening flake (from Dorset) and one core tool (from Broomhill, Hampshire).  They are roughly made and could not be confused with the one you feature. Other broad woodworking tools from the Mesolithic include bell-shaped axes and large flake tools; but again they are all roughly made objects.  Indeed it seems that only Mesolithic adze seem to have attracted any level of craftsmanship. I have given some time to research of Mesolithic adze and axes and there is one very good excavation from which four tip sharpening flakes were found, but no complete examples.  So the complete form is unknown. The other headline digs, such as Star Carr have found none at all.  Indeed Star Carr has thus far only recovered 4 adze !

I would discount this being a Neolithic mining tool, as even my best axe-shaped variants are not this well made.  So it would exceed any I have seen thus far, from either personal finds or those I have seen on this Group or in publications.

The knapping style it is not as ‘clean’ as most Neolithic core tools.  This could simply reflect the skill, time constraint or reduction in care of the maker.  It certainly is not the work of a Neolithic craftsman who was doing this as a day-job.  If you look at knapped-only examples from the stashes next to Neolithic mines they are uniform and highly consistent in outcome.
My impression is that your piece is a Neolithic axe made by a non-craftsman; which could so easily be misinterpreted as Mesolithic.

For anyone specifically interested in Flint history and ongoing research visit the Flint Finds of History FaceBook page, where you can request to become a member.

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A Cobham gentleman of the 1700s: Mr Hayes Diary

One of our volunteers, Don Blackburn, has transcribed the diary entries of Mr Hayes, of Cobham, Kent. As a boy Richard Hayes (1725-1790), lived with his uncle, Richard Hayes senior, at Owletts (now owned by the National Trust) in the Parish of Cobham, Kent. On the death of his uncle in 1754, Richard Hayes junior, inherited Owletts and a considerable amount of property. This property included farmland that had been in the Hayes family possession since his Great Grandfather’s time.

Owletts today

Ms Emma Stevens (who lived at the Parsonage, Cobham, from the mid 1800s) transcribed a selection of entries from Mr Hayes’ Diary from the latter half of the 18th century. It’s a facinating read about daily life of the past. Mr Hayes discusses social events such as the death of King George II and local press gangs frightening strangers away. Agricultural concerns, estate management and the trading of wheat, hops and corn are important – “nothing but a peace would relieve our markets, in order to pave the way for free export” (1761). He complains of Parliament stopping the export of wheat while Americans bring wheat into England duty free, and in later entries (1778) worries about the war with America.

Weather and the natural environment are regular features. There is talk of flooding (here and in Europe), unseasonably wet or cold weather, solar eclipses, lightening striking Shorne Windmill (1776) and the Thames freezing over (1771). Birdsong and butterflies are often noted – “I heard the Nightingale sing but faintly” (1762).

Village life is never far from his remarks and covers cricket matches, local deaths, road accidents, his own social responsibilites, such as jury service, and church affairs. He complains that church services are held only once on a Sunday, and in another entry is surprised when marriage banns are forbidden. There are glimpses into simple delights of the day, such as having strawberries or ‘fruit pineapple’ for dessert or amusing himself with a friend after diner, with “firing at a mark fixed in lower barn door” (1773). [My Hayes proves himself to be a bad shot at this and when, on at least two occassions, he complains of geese flying too high for him to shoot.]

To take a break from modern life and immerse yourself in the concerns of earlier days click here to access a pdf of a selection of entries from Mr Hayes diary.

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