Page last updated at 17:34 GMT, Thursday, 11 December 2008

Fifth Century settlement located

Boat Shaped Hall (generic)
Archaeologists believe a boat shaped hall was a feature of the settlement.

A Fifth Century Germanic settlement has been discovered on land set out for regeneration in Kent.

A team of 30 archaeologists has been studying debris at the site in Rushenden, on the Isle of Sheppey, to learn how the original settlers lived.

The remains of a large boat-shaped hall have been found as well as evidence of boat-building activity.

Dr Paul Wilkinson, who heads the dig, said the settlement was one of the most important finds of its kind in Kent.

"It's significant because it's a Germanic establishment. The boat shape gives the game away to us," he said.

"The only boat-shaped buildings are from what's now Germany and outside the Roman Empire as such."

Archaeologists from Swale and Thames Archaeological Survey Company do not expect to find many artefacts at the site but believe they can discover how its inhabitants lived.

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