Shorne Woods Community Archaeology Project, Gravesend, Kent

Randall Manor Dig 2011

Greetings from Shorne Woods! From the 9th to the 31st of July, schools, volunteers, members of the public, local archaeology groups and societies worked on the excavations taking place at Randall Manor. The excavations form part of a wider community archaeology project to investigate the archaeology and history of the Shorne Woods Country Park. On the Day of Archaeology itself we were all hard at work trying to understand the latest in a long line of questions prompted by our excavations. How do the different building phases relate to each other? How many times was the kitchen rebuilt? Do we have a bakehouse, a brewery or even a smokehouse structure in the north east corner of the site? We have been running a daily blog about the dig on our facebook site and also have a page at

One of our youngest aspiring photographers on site has also taken a series of shots to reflect a Day in the Life of the Randall Manor Dig and I will be posting these on facebook shortly…

The manor site was occupied from the 12th century through to the early 16th century, with our pottery assemblage and historical research in agreement over the main period of occupation. The manor was home to a branch of the de Cobham family, who lived at the site from c.1250-1360. We have what we believe to be a large timber hall, it’s northern end rebuilt in stone, with an additional building containing a garderobe then built onto the main building. Detached from it all is a kitchen building with successive tile and then stone hearths.

Elsewhere within the Park we have a large scatter of mesolithic waste flakes, an RAF and Army Camp and the remains of a twentieth century clayworks. LiDAR has revealed an extensive collection of earthworks relating to all periods of the Park’s past, that we still need to groundtruth!

School group on site during the 2011 season

4 thoughts on “Shorne Woods Community Archaeology Project, Gravesend, Kent

  1. As a leader of a community archaeology project ( myself, I am finalising an academic paper about community archaeology project websites (of all sizes and scopes) for the journal World Archaeology (as part of my doctorate on Writing the Past into the Present). I aim to demonstrate the crucial and diverse role that such websites play in expanding the reach of archaeology beyond the professional world.

    May I ask you to take part in a very short questionnaire (expected time: ten minutes at most) regarding your website. The questionnaire has been developed from previous academic research and I hope you find the questions interesting and potentially inspiring for your own project.

    My deadline for the paper’s submission is the end of April (!) so if you would like to help to raise the profile of the role of community archaeology projects please spare these few minutes for the questionnaire and zap it back to me asap. Most questions involve simply highlighting/emboldening points in a list (you can do this easily by ‘forwarding’ this email to me ( instead of ‘replying’ – this enables you to ‘edit’ my lists by emboldening the answers or striking through/deleting those n/a.

    I promise that your answers will be kept in total confidence. However, if it seems appropriate to highlight specific answers relating to your project within the paper then I shall clear the wording with you before submission.

    If you wish to find out more about me before taking part, please do feel free to phone me on 01423 771290, email me on or check out my professional website http://www.muddyarchaeologist and our project websites and

    Of course, if there are any questions you would rather not answer, please simply omit them. And if you know of another community archaeology project who would be pleased to take part in this research, please do forward this questionnaire to them or ask for me to send it to them.

    The questions are as follows (and please remember that there are absolutely NO ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answers: not all issues etc are appropriate for all projects – the diversity of such sites are one of their bonuses …).

    1. Please highlight which features appear on your website.
    Welcome Page
    Archaeological Site list/outline (ie. archaeological sites or features on site)
    Timeline / history outline page(s)
    Technical Pages (explaining the technical bits)
    Social history pages
    Reports pages
    Specialist activities or research pages (eg. Fieldwalking/ animal remains / social history / etc).
    On-line access to Presentations & Publications (PowerPoint/written papers.electronic books)
    Archive (past years’ report etc)
    Events Page
    News – highlighting the latest/greatest.
    Discussion Forum
    Diary or Blog
    Video blog
    Photo gallery
    For Sale (marketing / books etc)
    Reading List / Further study
    ‘About Us’ – who, why, where etc.
    ‘Meet the Team’ – gallery or list of individuals
    ‘Contact Us’ – contact details
    ‘About our Sponsors’
    Links (to other community archaeology projects/sites/societies/research institutions etc.)
    Other (please specify)
    2. What purpose do you consider your website to be for … (please highlight all answers which are a driving force in the way you design your site):
    presentation of project’s ongoing work
    invitation to join
    presentation of project’s findings/results
    education (formal and/or informal)
    point of contact
    dialogue (conversation with audience). ie. do you actively invite/encourage them to respond?
    request and/or invitation for support (financial/research/technical/scientific etc).
    A simple notification of your existence – not an ongoing/updated website
    ‘Ticks the boxes’ for your funders’ requirements
    Other (please specify)
    3. Who is/are your main target audience(s) for the website? ie. who do you think of when you are writing the website?
    NOTE: This may have multiple answers, especially if different areas of the website target different audiences.
    Local community
    Other community archaeology projects
    Professional archaeologists
    Academia / universities / research institutions or societies
    Amateur societies (historical, etc)
    Students of Archaeology
    Primary or Secondary Schools
    Uninformed interested parties
    Readers from throughout the UK
    International audience (please specify if you have certain countries you know your readers are from)
    Other (Please specify if you can)

    4. Do you present different pages in different styles/terminology to appeal to different audiences? (eg. the Technical / research aspects). YES / NO
    If so, who for?
    Local community
    Other community archaeology projects
    Professional archaeologists
    Academia / universities / research institutions or societies
    Students of Archaeology
    Primary or Secondary Schools
    Uninformed interested parties
    Readers from throughout the UK
    International audience (can you give examples of countries your readers are from?)
    Other (Please specify if you can)
    5. How many ‘hits’ has your website received? (If you have the facility to know this)

    6. Do you expect to alter your website as technology or the project advances?

    7. Does anything limit your website?
    web design costs
    technology limitations (eg. computer/software)
    expertise/experience limitations
    the speed technology changes
    time available to work on website
    personnel available to work on website
    material to put onto website
    maintaining privacy/secrecy of the geographical location of your archaeological site
    the desire to ‘keep it simple’
    And finally …

    8. Is your website written/updated by a professional web master or by a volunteer/volunteers?

    9. If a volunteer/volunteers, what profession is (or ‘was’, if retired) this/these person(s)?

    10. What were the main reasons that this person(s) was/were chosen/chose to maintain the website? Please choose as many as you like from:
    Existing technical/web design ability/experience?
    Editing/writing ability/experience
    Academic/professional archaeology ability?
    Already a prime/knowledgeable member of the Project?
    Best access to computer?
    Had available time?
    Desire to develop web skills?
    Sole volunteer(s)?
    Other (please specify if you can)


    With many thanks and all best wishes, and I look forward to hearing from you.


    Gillian Hovell BA (Hons)
    Author & Public Speaker, Historian & Archaeologist Secretary, Iron-Age (Nidderdale) Project
    18 Nidd Rise
    North Yorkshire
    HG3 3AP
    01423 771290
    Roman Britain OUT NOW
    Member of Society of Authors
    & Association of Freelance Writers

  2. Appreciate you sharing, great post. Much obliged.

  3. Thank you for the nice comments!

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