Canterbury Archeological Trust

St. Margaret's Church
Paul Blockley

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The construction of the 'Pilgrims Way' experience centre is now well under way (1986), following the handing over of the church to Heritage Projects (Canterbury) Limited. Prior to this historic event the Trust conducted excavations in two limited areas in order to solve problems not fully resolved by the earlier large-scale excavations (Annual Report 1985-86, 8-10).

The first lay in the base of the tower, where a tessellated floor had been uncovered. The floor, consisting of small white tesserae with some black in a random pattern, was largely obscured by a spread of Roman mortar and its exposure proved to be a long, painstaking task. The mosaic may date to the construction of the Public Baths in the early second century.

The second area of interest centred on the stone-paved floor of the cold plunge bath. During excavation it had been noticed that one of the stones bore a decorative border. This stone proved to be part of a monumental inscription in Sussex marble depicting a form of shield known as a `pelta', surrounded by a border. This is a fairly common motif associated with Roman inscriptions, and was probably one of a pair of identical slabs flanking an important inscription, perhaps celebrating the dedication of the baths in the early second century. The slab was re-used in the floor of the plunge bath when the establishment was rebuilt in the early fourth century.

A complete photographic record of all the wall monuments and tombstones was also undertaken in advance of the building works.

Picture of tomb in the church

See this place today Click on the logo to see this place today.   The information on this page is Copyright © Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd. 1987 Reproduced with permission.
The text and pictures were taken from Canterbury's Archaeology 1986/1987, The 11th Annual Report of Canterbury Archaeological Trust Ltd.

Peter Collinson Last change: 18th November 2018