Wednesday, September 19, 2012

St Mary's, Folkestone.

As part of the A Town Unearthed Project I will be conducting, with the help of some of my volunteers and the pupil's which make up the Year 3 class, a series of test pits on the playing field of St Mary's Primary School, Folkestone.

The school was originally part of a Sanatorium built in the late Victorian period (1880s maybe?) and is in quite close proximity to the Villa, just to the North, and the grounds have potential for once being part of the local Iron Age quern stone industry as there is plenty of green sand stone on the beach to the East. To the West of the school further along Warren Road Roman foundations and hypocaust systems were found on the North side during the construction of the railway, a reservoir and the houses along it's length; these were interpreted as a Roman Villa at the time and dated to the 2nd century AD. On the opposite side of the road there was an Early Medieval Chapel which had 7th-8th century burials and had been apparently constructed using material from the Roman ruins which were found in the fabric of the building. These were both discovered in 1869 and 1875 excavations and have now been built over by roads and houses.

The pupils have had some introductory classes on archaeology, and Marion and myself are heading in today to give them a brief introduction to the archaeology of the East Cliff area and telling them a little bit about the proposed excavation which should be starting up tomorrow (!).

If anyone has any information on the Sanatorium I would be very grateful to receive it. It was built somewhere in the 1870-1890s and was called the Mary Magdalene Home for Children and appears as a hospital for infectious diseases, and later as a Sanatorium, from the 1890s. If anyone has any photos or knows anyone who spent time there that would be fabulous! be continued...

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

A quick round-up of recent events...

Sorry for the prolonged silence, I was on holiday (believe it or not). Nowhere exciting, just popped back home and then went excavating for a week in Wales. Unfortunately I am not allowed to discuss the excavation due to issues with funding and press releases but suffice to say it was very interesting and I was very disappointed only to be able to spend a week there. Anyway, here's a photo of some mountains.

In other news the A Town Unearthed Project is beginning to wrap up. We've done another 2 test pits but sadly have had no further archaeological finds, though all the information we collect helps build up a bigger picture of Folkestone and it's archaeology (or lack there of!). I've been arranging, with the help of Marion our Educational Officer at the Trust, to do a series of pits in a local primary school along with some afternoon activity sessions and presentations. More on that in my next post.

Anyway here's a photo of my volunteers doing a collective section drawing (I am maintaining my commitment to making volunteers have a go at all aspects of archaeological fieldwork!):

I have also been doing some reading of archaeology journals, mostly Public Archaeology, on community archaeology to attempt to keep myself up-to-date with projects and thoughts on the subject. One day I will make it to the university library and spend some time in the archaeology section but for now I'm just raiding the Trust's collection. I've also been attempting to collect together my evidence for my NVQ qualification which comes as part of the training placement; but I'm not being very successful with that! The course directive/syllabus/curriculum is a bit wordy so I have to break it down in small doses to prevent me drowning in language.

I also have my 6 month review at the beginning of next month so I will enlighten you all with a summary of my thoughts etc. then but for now I will keep you posted on the St Mary's investigation. be continued....