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Victoria County History of Kent Vol. 3  1932 - Romano-British Kent - Towns - Page 97

a glass phial and was associated with a double-handled glass vessel bearing the stamp OBINI in relief upon the base. This coffin is now in the Maidstone Museum. In 1871 a fourth leaden coffin, lying with its head to the south, was found with elaborate ornamentation of’ Medusa heads,’ lions and vases containing torches—symbols which probably had a Mithraic significance. Outside the coffin and at its head was a green glass jug of a type which occurs on 1st-century sites, but is here presumably at least a century later. Upwards of four other leaden coffins associated with pottery, jet pins, etc., have been found on the same site. It is noted that some of the leaden coffins had been ‘enclosed in planks of wood, bolted together with clenched bolts of iron, and further fastened with stout iron bands’ (G. Payne, Collectanea Cantiana, 23; C. R. Smith, Collect. . Ant. vi, 263).
   (2) Some 300 yds. north of Bexhill cemetery, in a corner of the field by the last stile before the marshes are reached below Kemsley Downs, several urn-burials were found in 1889—90 on the right-hand side of the path. Each group of urns was surrounded and covered by tiles (Proc. Soc. Ant. 2nd series, xiii, 188). Nearby a Saxon inhumation-burial was discovered (Arch. Cant. xviii, 207, and Payne, Coll. Cant. 118).
   (3) Sepulchral urns are somewhat vaguely recorded from behind the White Hart Inn (Ibid.).
   (4) To the east of the creek a richly furnished cemetery has been found in a field at Bayford, on the eastern side of the road leading from Crown Quay Road to Adelaide Dock, Murston. The burials found in and after 1875 were in two cases by inhumation, but mostly by cremation. Vessels of pottery, glass and bronze were unearthed here, the bronze vessels in particular 

Fig. 18.  Leaden coffin from Sittingbourne
(From G. Payne, Collectanea Cant. 54)

being unusually ornate. They include a bronze lamp-stand with crescent-shaped handle, and ornamented bronze jugs of 1st and early 2nd-century types (P1. XV, nos. 2, 3). Some of these objects are in the British Museum. It is clear that the greater part of this cemetery was pre-Hadrianic. Near the burials were found three burnt areas, associated with iron nails, oyster-shells, tiles, animal-bones, etc., which were thought to be the sites of funeral pyres, but may rather have been those of hutments not necessarily coeval with the cemetery (G. Payne, Collect. Cant. 44; Arch. Cant. xi, 47; Proc. Soc. Ant 2nd series, viii, 276; Journ. Brit. Arch. Assoc. xxxiii, 263).
   (5) A little to the north-east of the Bayford cemetery, on the left of the private road leading to East Hall, Murston, a further Roman cemetery or perhaps an extension of the preceding was discovered 800 yds. south-east of Murston Old Church in and after 1871. The burials seem to have been wholly by cremation, with the possible exception of a single skull which was, however, associated with 1st-century glassware, and may therefore have been part of an incomplete cremation. The burial-groups were, at least in some cases, ‘arranged in line from north to south’ and included Pottery which seems to have been almost exclusively of about the period 70—110 A.D. (G. Payne, Coll. Cant. :33 ; Arch. Cant. x, 178). More burnt burials were found a few hundred yards N. of Mere Court in 1924 (see Top. Index, s.v. Murston).
   (6) About half a mile north of the preceding, in 1869, a Roman lead coffin decorated with rope moulding, bound together with iron bands and containing the fragments of two or three glass vessels ‘in one of which were the bones of a very minute creature,’ was found 9 ft. deep in Eleven

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