Aspects of Kentish Local History

Finds from the excavation of Eccles Roman Villa, Kent

Following the death of Alec Detsicas, who had directed the excavations at Eccles from 1962 to 1977, all the finds from his house were moved by the Canterbury Archaeological Trust (CAT) to their Store in Canterbury and later to their store located within Dover Harbour Premises.
      It was Alec's wish that the records for this important site be fully published but unfortunately there was no financial provision for this work, which, given the scale of the excavations and the very large archive, has represented an enduring challenge, yet to be met. The original fieldwork had been undertaken by the Eccles Excavation Committee, and with Alec's passing no individual or organization had responsibility for the archive and writing-up of the site. CAT, in accordance with Alec's wishes, stepped up to curate the finds, at their own cost, in the expectation that at some stage the necessary funds would be available. The Roman glass has been studied by Dr Jennifer Price and approximately half of the pottery was sorted and catalogued by Dr Malcolm Lyne during his PhD research some 30 years ago but as with the rest of the site information this has yet to be collated and prepared for publication.  
   On Sun 22nd July 2012 I meet with members of the Folkestone Research Archaeological Group (FRAG) at the CAT Store located within Dover Harbour Premises. I gave a general introduction to Roman pottery, giving them an opportunity to handle various sherds of different types and fabrics. I outlined a project, approved by Paul Bennett, director of CAT, to look at and photograph some of the pottery stored on the premises and asked for their help. Following my talk we went into the storeroom and members very kindly re-arranged all the boxes of pottery in numerical order. From July 2012 through to October 2013 I drove from my house at New Ash Green to Dover making some 32 trips, each a round journey of some 110 miles to take photographs of many of the sherds of pottery, ably assisted by FRAG members, in particular Thierry and Annie Biot of FRAG. 
   Below I make accessible photographs taken with the permission of Paul Bennett so that just some of the information recovered during the excavations, at least, is freely available.
   Work on the publication of the excavations at Eccles has been the object of many prospective initiatives over the years and efforts are still being made by CAT and interested individuals in conversation with Historic England and others to bring this to fruition.

                                                                                                                                                     Ted Connell 2021

Roman Pottery manufacture at Eccles, in the parish of Aylesford, Kent


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