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Victoria County History of Kent Vol. 3  1932  Romano-British Kent - Military History Page 25

on its south side. Richborough had a real harbour, and one that lay open to ships sailing from Gaul or from the Rhenish ports.
   The whole, or nearly the whole, of Richborough hill was probably occupied at one time or another during the Roman period. To-day, remains are visible at only one point, the north-east corner, on the edge of a long, low cliff or bank which drops somewhat steeply eastwards to the Stour. These are the ruins of the Saxon-Shore fortress which formed the nucleus of Richborough in its latter days. But the recent excavations, carried out by Mr. J. P. Bushe-Fox for the Society of Antiquaries, have shown that the fortress was preceded by a varied series of works, some of them of military and others, apparently, of civil origin. The details of these works and the minutia of the evidence from which their history is being reconstructed are set forth in detail in the Excavation Reports, and here it will suffice to summarize the main features.
   Fragments of Early Iron Age pottery associated in some cases with ditches, bear testimony to an occupation of the hill-top in pre-Roman times. The earliest coherent structural remains, however, fall within—but only just within—the Roman era. Underlying the western part of the Saxon-Shore fortress and still extending to a distance of 1,078 ft. northwards from the line of the north wall, two parallel V-shaped ditches have been found cut into the natural sandy soil of the site. Not far within the west gateway of the Saxon-Shore fortress, these ditches were interrupted by a metalled causeway, 30 ft. in width; and slots and post-holes, which must have formed a part of a barricade, have been found here. At the northern end the ditches bend slightly north-eastwards, and then disappear in the encroaching marshland. To the south of the causeway they have, in 1930, been traced likewise to the cliff-edge; and the whole surviving work is now seen to have formed a crescent-shaped defence over 2,000 feet in length.
   Both the purpose and the date of these entrenchments are tolerably clear. They can scarcely be other than the vestige of a legionary camp which, at one time, extended considerably to the eastward of the present line of cliff and marsh. Pottery of Late Celtic and Claudian types, together with coins of Agrippa, Tiberius and Claudius, have been recovered from the silt in the lower part of them, whilst objects of Claudian date have been found in sealed layers and mixed soil above. It is a fair inference, therefore, that they date—as, indeed, we might expect—from about the time of the Claudian invasion in A.D. 43, and were the work either of the initial army of invasion or of early reinforcements 
(P1. I no. 2).
   Apart from the remains of timbering already noted at the entrance to this camp, other wooden structures only slightly later in date have been found both to the west and, above all, to the east of the line of its defences. Traces of upwards of half-a-dozen oblong timber buildings, 118 ft. in length, 26 ft. in width, lying east and west and arranged in rows, have, in particular, been found close to the present brow of the cliff. The foundations of these structures are marked by long channels cut into the natural surface of the ground and filled with mixed soil wherein the wooden posts for the walls and floors were set. The purpose of these buildings is not at present clear; it may be guessed that they were store-rooms for the housing of military supplies in the early years of the conquest. Another structure of this early date

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