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5 archaeological finds in Kent since 2018 including incredible Roman coins and Anglo-Saxon burials

In the coming years the Swanscombe Peninsula could well be home to one of the biggest theme parks in the world, nearby you'll find the ever-popular Bluewater, and if you look down the River Thames you'll spot the Dartford Crossing looming ominously in the distance.

But this most modern place is also where the oldest human remains in Britain were found.

The Swanscombe Skull, belonging to a young Neanderthal woman, was unearthed in what is now the area's Heritage Park in 1935 and dates back 400,000 years.

Since she roamed the marshes of north Kent numerous generations of modern humans have made the county their home and left behind some intriguing artefacts for 21st century detectorists to discover.

The trinkets dug up by these enthusiasts would not have been touched by humans for thousands of years and offer a fascinating insight into ancient Kent.

From Neolithic monuments to Roman Villas and prehistoric gold cups Kent has proved rich picking for treasure hunters over the years.

And as we previously reported with major developments now obliged to liaise with archaeologists when renovating areas of potential interest, there’s every chance with every new road or housing estate we may unearth more hugely significant finds.

The Swanscombe Skull found at Barnfield Pit, Swanscombe
The Swanscombe Skull found at Barnfield Pit, Swanscombe

Indeed, since that piece was written in June 2018 several important discoveries have been made:

Coin depicting murdering emperor

This stunning gold coin, one of only 24 discovered, went to auction last year with a guide price of £100,000.

It dates to the 3rd century and bears the head of Roman emperor Allectus — a finance minister who murdered his way to the top.

He assassinated his predecessor Carausius and seized power in AD 293 but was killed in battled three years later.

The rare Roman coin. Picture: Dix Noonan Webb
The rare Roman coin. Picture: Dix Noonan Webb

The coin, which has an image of the god Apollo with two captives on its other side, would have only been legal tender for his spell in control.

It was discovered near a freshly ploughed field in Deal, which has long been presumed to be the place were the invading Romans, led by Julius Caesar, first landed in Britain, in 55BC.

Magic Roman amulet

As finds go perhaps the most peculiar to be discovered in the county in the last few years was this golden amulet.

It was found on land in Faversham belonging to a Russian Princess by a Sheppey plumber. But that's not the strangest part of this tale.

The golden amulet or 'Bracteate' discovered by Ashley Wilson. Picture: Ashley Wilson
The golden amulet or 'Bracteate' discovered by Ashley Wilson. Picture: Ashley Wilson

The item, known as a Bracteate, dates to the 2nd century and depicts an 'evil eye' being attacked by a scorpion, a dog, an elephant, and a bird.

An inquest heard he treasure weighs 1.43g is 18.3mm in diameter and 1.2mm thick and would have been viewed as "magic"

Gold bishop's ring

The next object dates back to an intriguing part of the Isle of Sheppey's history.

The 26 gram solid gold bishop's ring includes an engraving of a king holding a sword, a seal with a bull or a ram and a bishop holding a baby.

A solid gold bishop's ring said to be one of the most important historical finds discovered on the Isle of Sheppey
A solid gold bishop's ring said to be one of the most important historical finds discovered on the Isle of Sheppey

Minster Abbey was founded by Queen Sexburgha in the 7th century.

The ring could have belonged to its bishop or could be from the 16th century around the time Henry VIII honeymooned on Sheppey with Anne Boleyn or may date to the reign of Elizabeth I.

Whoever it belonged to similar examples have been valued at £60,000 and it's been described as "probably the most important item ever found on the Island".

The skeleton of an Anglo-Saxon woman

Workers at the site of a new £65 million science and technology block at Christ Church University in Canterbury unwittingly unearthed the remains of a very important woman.

The skeleton of the Anglo Saxon woman
The skeleton of the Anglo Saxon woman

Buried around 1,400 years ago she is believed to have been in her 20s, and was found wearing a necklace of amber and glass beads, a belt fastened with a copper alloy buckle, a copper alloy bracelet, and was equipped with an iron knife.

Alongside her was a silver, garnet-inlaid, Kentish disc brooch.

Experts say that together, the items found in the grave suggest the woman was buried between AD 580-600.

They believe she would have been a contemporary, and likely acquaintance, of the Kentish King Ethelbert and his Frankish Queen Bertha, whose modern statues can be seen nearby at Lady Wootton’s Green.

Religious Roman pendant

The Anglo Saxon pendant was found in August 2018
The Anglo Saxon pendant was found in August 2018

A clash of cultures was responsible for the next find, discovered by keen treasure hunter Owen Baldock in a field in Maidstone in August 2018.

The gold pendant is inlaid with a Roman intaglio as its jewel but what made it stand out was the figures which it portrayed.

The Goddess Minerva and the God Mars are a rare combination for the Roman Period, with the pendant itself being made by Anglo-Saxons in the late 6th or 7th century CE.

It provides an invaluable insight into the meeting of two cultures and Mr Baldock and the landowner were generous enough to gift it to Maidstone Museum and waive their reward.

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