Canterbury Archeological Trust

No. 70 Castle Street
Damian Hone & Paul Bennett

Hillside Systems

Trust Index

Castle Street Index

No 70 Castle Street

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The lowering of the basement of these premises, now an estate agents, occurred during an extensive operation to repair and renovate the above-ground timber-framed structure, reported in last year's Canterbury's Archaeology (p.38-9).

The building occupies a site which overlies the line of a major Roman street, set on a north-east to south-west axis separating the theatre and temple insulae, first located during excavations at 77-9 Castle Street in 1976 (Arch. Cant. xcii (1976), 238-40).

Monitoring of basement lowering was considered desirable to confirm the line of the street and gain possibly further information for its construction date, which on the basis of the earlier excavation was thought to be c. A.D. 50-60. In the event, the lowering of the cellar floor was entirely executed by Trust staff.

The brick floor of the cellar lay some 2.00m. below the surface of Castle Street and on removal of floor and bedding the surface of natural brickearth was revealed. Gravel, perhaps residue from the removal of street metallings, was mixed with dirty clay floor bedding. The surface of natural brickearth was very hard, compact and heavily stained with iron panning, this perhaps indicating that it had at one time been overlaid by thick, Iaminated, impervious layers of rammed gravel for the street.

Bronze coin Of particular importance and interest was a small group of five intercutting pre- and early Roman pits, located against the Castle Street frontage wall. The latest of these contained rammed gravel and mortar laid perhaps to consolidate `soft ground' during the construction of the first street. This feature sadly yielded no finds. The earliest of the features was a large clay quarry containing in its banded clay and grey loam fills a large quantity of `Belgic' coarse wares and a struck bronze coin, perhaps dating to c. 35-20 B.C. (The photo legend reads: This bronze Iron Age coin depicting a lion, belongs to a series which circulated in East Kent in the late first century B.C., although they may have been minted in Gaul. Two coins of this type have been found before in Canterbury).

Our thanks are extended to Mr J.H.F. Berry of Berry's Chartered Surveyors for funding this small excavation.

See this place today Click on the logo to see this place today.   The information on this page is Copyright © Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1990 Reproduced with permission.
The text and pictures were taken from Canterbury's Archaeology 1988/1989, The 13th Annual Report of Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Peter Collinson Last change: 7th September 2008