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How it all started

There was an archaeological project starting in town and just had to get involved. We were going to be digging at the Roman Villa buried within the Folkestone boundaries.

We all got involved, from painting huts, erecting fences, digging test trenches and finally getting to the villa dig itself. A number of people who joined in had experience of archaeological digs, however there were a bunch of us who arrived there expecting to be handed a fine paintbrush to meticulously clear the mummified bodies (too much exposure to 19th century Egyptian photographs I
think), whilst others were expecting to have Raiders of the Lost Ark adventures (too much exposure to 1980's movies)!

In reality, it was nothing like that, however it was even more addicting. Within a few days we discovered items from the roman era, suspiciously looking like a ritual placement, however it didn’t take long before other artefacts were found. Bit by bit, more and more was discovered, indicating an iron age settlement was in existence before the roman settlement. And this was all before we got to excavate the previously dug scheduled monument of the Roman Villa itself.

When we did get onto the scheduled monument, we had to contend with ash which had been used in 1957, to fill in the 1924 dig after the war years. We exposed the walls of the villa and that was when our discussions started. We knew that there were a number of
archaeological societies and groups in the surrounding areas, however there was none specifically associated with the Folkestone area. Through various discussions we realised that there had been a number of digs done in the area by people who must have had extensive transport costs to excavate OUR town. Over the months of excavations, discovery, and learning, the idea of a group who are interested in Folkestone and its surrounds gained momentum.

It was agreed, amongst the volunteers, that we needed a focused group for the Folkestone area. Although we had agreed to setting up the group, we were all involved in the dig already underway. This was the 3 year project called A Town Unearthed - Folkestone before 1500 . After the 2011 excavations were concluded, although there is further work still to be completed, we decided that we would initiate the group to get further involved in projects in the Folkestone area, or to initiate our own excavations in the region.

We held an inaugural meeting late in January 2012 to set up our group, with a draft constitution being proposed and generally approved. The official document is now available on this web site.

Although we are a new group, we are already in discussion regarding partnerships in small, medium and larger projects, where our members will be actively involved in the archaeological processes from initial assessment through the digging, pot-washing,marking and analysis processes.

Not only are we interested in finding out the past, and collating the historical references, but we are also passionate about educating people about the heritage of the area.

If you are interested in joining our group - either as an active member - or just for the purposes of keeping up to date with our endeavours or open days, then please contact us.

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