No 14 High Street
In February this year (1986) trial trenches were cut in the basement of the above premises to evaluate the nature of surviving archaeological deposits prior to proposed lowering of the basement during refitting for Reject China Shops Ltd. The evaluation work was financed by the developer.
The existing shop lies in the area of Canterbury's Roman Forum. Recent work by the Trust at 9 High Street (Annual Report 1983-84) and during the cutting of a sewer tunnel under the High Street (Annual Report 1982-83) revealed traces of substantial masonry walls together with areas of gravel and stone paved courtyards and it was hoped that further, perhaps spectacular, elements of the Forum would be present in the basement of this shop. The disposition of our trial trenches was dictated by the architects to Reject China Shops, Lee Evans Partnership, to establish the depth of the existing cellar walls and to locate the position of a main sewer in the basement area.
The existing brick floor of the cellar immediately sealed a 50 cm. thick deposit of demolition debris mixed with dark loam. This thick layer which probably developed gradually throughout the post-Roman period contained debris from ruinous masonry buildings standing nearby. These abandonment and decay levels sealed Forum courtyard deposits, comprising banded layers of rammed gravel capped by poured mortar bearing the scars of removed paving slabs. During the early stages of our work the main walls of the existing buildings were discovered to be shallow-founded and the scheme to lower the basement was abandoned. Only the surface of the latest courtyard was therefore exposed.
We are grateful to Reject China Shops for financing the exploratory trenching and to Lee Evans Partnership for their co-operation throughout.