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Video: Medieval window found near Rochester Cathedral

03 June 2010

Video: the dig at Rochester Cathedral

A Kent cathedral's archaeologist has stumbled on a 600-year-old window - and expects it to lead to an even bigger medieval find.

Graham Keevil, the in-house archaeologist at Rochester Cathedral, said his find means there may be a building lying beneath about six feet of soil close to King’s Orchard.

The 14th or 15th century window was discovered beneath a Roman wall near the historic building.

Mr Keevil - who has worked as an expert for 30 years - lists the discovery as one of his three most exciting finds.

He and his team, including fellow archaeologists Alan Ward and Melinda Henderson, started exploratory work on the wall last Monday, May 24.

Three days later they found the stone window frame "punched through" the older Roman wall.

Mr Keevil said: “My most exciting finds have been an unknown Roman villa in Northamptonshire which was fantastically preserved, and my best one was at the Tower of London when we were digging in the moat and we found a completely unexpected tower.

“That will probably go on to be the highlight of my career but this is not far behind.

"It is a quite tremendous find because we were not expecting it.

“Every now and then things like this happen, you have times when you are sitting in a field and it is raining and you think 'why am I doing this?’.

"But then you find something of this quality and you know this is what you do the work for.”

The window frame is believed to be made of Reigate stone and may need to be protected as studies have shown it can corrode easily if left exposed.

However, Mr Keevil said he hoped to be able to have the building on display in one form or another.

He said he believed the building was used to house the warden of the medieval infirmary.

The dig, involving three small holes at the moment, has been funded by English Heritage and through landfill tax.

The team will now apply to carry out further digs in the area.

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