Posted by: lukelavan | April 24, 2009

Archaeology of the Campus

A Standing Building Survey of Beverley Farm


by Students of CL621 ‘Fieldwork Methods and Techniques’


The campus at Canterbury is not only well-situated, looking out as it does from the chalk downs to the Cathedral, but it is also full of archaeology.

One such site is Beverley Farm, where the university began in the 1960s, a 15th century farmhouse on the site of a much older settlement. The site has never been surveyed, so group of students from Classical and Archaeological Studies took a Saturday afternoon to begin a survey of the structure, in the company of Ges Moody (Thanet Archaeology) and Andy Bates (graduate of 2008, now working in professional archaeology).

Students enjoyed planning the site using a state of the art ‘total-station’ machine, and producing a measured drawing of the timbers, in which many new features were revealled. The building has been extensively modified during its history. We were able to pinpoint a number of structural features that suggested that part of the 17th c. addition had been shortened, with at least one ‘bay’ removed. Re-used timbers were identified in this section that may have come from an earlier phase. Joints, peg holes, pegs and tool marks were recorded in the hope that further analysis can determine where they have come from. Luke Lavan (lecturer at Kent) took photographs, whilst student Helen Harrington supervised the drawing.


A report on the work will form part of student assignments for module CL621. Hopefully this will be the first of many campaigns to analyse the building, and its surrounding landscape, which becomes more fascinating by the day. This hillside has seen occupation from prehistory throughout the Roman occupation and middle ages, and boasts sites of varying date, the most spectacular being a moated manor house and medieval tile kilns, which attracted even C4’s Time Team in 2000, when one of the them was excavated.

After a wet and cold winter, in which campus geophysics and survey work has been miserable, it was great to get out into the spring sunshine and enjoy what our campus has to offer: a day watching rabbits munching the green amidst the daffodils, looking down on the Cathedral, in the company of professional archaeologists who know how to get the best from one of our hidden historical sites on campus.

Luke Lavan 23/03/2009


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