An ancient Roman town was unearthed next to A-road in Kent, considered now to be one of the most important archaeological finds in the region
Builders were trying to develop houses on an 18-acres site next to a major road in Newington, Kent when they uncovered an ancient Roman settlement town which is thought to be remains of a “thriving manufacturing site’. The site also revealed an ancient 23 foot road at the site which ran from London to the Kent coast, a haul of pottery, rare coins, and its own temple.
It is believed the town was inhabited by Romans when they arrived in Britain in 43AD but it might have pre-dated that. The temple at the site, close to what is now the A2, has since been named Watling Temple, making it one of only 150 such sites in England. Archaeological director at Swale and Thames Archaeological Survey, Dr Paul Wilkinson stated:
“This is one of the most important discoveries of a Roman small town in Kent for many years with the preservation of Roman buildings and artifacts exceptional.”
Experts are naming the discovery one of the most significant finds in the region and they plan to analyze the findings and publish a report. With archaeology project manager Peter Cichy saying:
“This is one of the most significant sites in Kent but it’s only the beginning of months and months of work. We will be analyzing and dating our finds, sorting and piecing together thousands of pottery shards and writing up our report.”
However, the ancient remains will once again be covered up in order to become 124 new homes as part of a Persimmon Homes new development. Chairman of Newington History Group, Dean Coles, stated:
“This is very exciting. The scale of this site, with the huge number and quality of finds, changes our knowledge of Newington’s development. We already had evidence of a Roman burial ground and Roman occupation in the immediate vicinity and this excavation shows there was a thriving manufacturing site in the heart of our village. The temple and major road are massive discoveries. It proves the A2 wasn’t the only Roman road through the village. As a group, we are keen to trace the route and destination of this new ‘highway’ which may have connected with another temple excavated 50 years ago on the outskirts of Newington and a villa unearthed in 1882.”