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