Page last updated at 10:40 GMT, Saturday, 30 January 2010

Archaeologists unearth Iron Age settlement in Kent

Archaeologists in Pembury
Archaeologists also found evidence of a medieval enclosure at the site

The remains of an Iron Age settlement have been unearthed by archaeologists working along the route of a new £1.3m water pipeline in Kent.

Evidence of a dwelling, postholes, pits, ancient hearths and pieces of pottery were found on land in Pembury.

South East Water plans to lay a 4.6km (2.9 mile) pipe between Kipping's Cross Service Reservoir and Pembury.

The archaeologists, who were employed by the firm to survey the route, will now record and preserve the finds.

The period known as the Iron Age took place in Britain between about 750BC and about AD40.

'Exciting find'

Tim Allen, from Kent Archaeological Projects, said: "We have found evidence of postholes, pits and ditches, probably part of an Iron Age dwelling, along with pieces of pottery that we can date to the late Iron Age.

"We also found evidence of a medieval enclosure further along the route and five circular, fire-scorched pits, probably parts of ancient hearths or kilns or evidence of charcoal production.

"It is likely that the Iron Age remains are associated with a prehistoric roundhouse that would have been approximately eight metres in diameter, with timber supports and with walls and roof made with wattle and daub."

Paul Clifford, engineering manager at South East Water, said: "This exciting find, on private land in the Pembury area, has emerged during careful archaeological surveys carried out during the excavation work before we lay the pipe.

"On large schemes such as this we take the extra precaution of having archaeologists working alongside our contractors to ensure that if we do find anything of historical significance, then we can halt work for further investigations. That ensures we can continue to protect and record our ancient heritage."

South West Water said it expected work to lay the pipeline, which started in September 2009, to be completed in March.

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