Exploring Kent's Past

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Monument details

HER Number:TR 15 SE 154
Type of record:Monument
Name:Hexagonal feature, either Roman or post-medieval, Bourne Park

Summary

A hexagonal ditch has long been visible as a crop mark with a dark area within of similar shape. It was previously assumed to be post-medieval in date, possibly a tree plantation, but excavations in 2005 and 2006 suggested it was pre-Anglo-Saxon in date, possibly dating to between 150 BC and AD 50.


Grid Reference:TR 1861 5368
Map Sheet:TR15SE
Parish:BRIDGE, CANTERBURY, KENT

Monument Types

  • FEATURE (Middle Iron Age to Roman - 150 BC? to 50 AD?)
  • PLANTATION? (Post Medieval - 1540 AD? to 1900 AD?)

Full description

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Probable parkland feature, Bourne Park. Hexagonal ditch visible as a crop mark with a dark area within of similar shape. Previously recorded as "hexagonal feature with dark centre, probable WW2 military installation". (1) But no military activity is visible on the site form the aerial photography from 1946, when the feature is also visible as a faint cropmark. Nothing shown on the Ordinance Survey maps back to the 1790s.

Between 2003 and 2006 the Kent Archaeological Field School carried out a series of investigations in the area. The feature was found to be a double [or recut] ditch around a central pit. This was interpreted as an Iron Age/Roman enclosure. It was first recorded in 1887, so clearly predates any 20th century military activity in the area. Another late 19th century source describes them as plantations, for 'Scotch firs’, created perhaps less than 100 years before that date. (2)

From the National Heritage List for England:


Immediately to the west of the 2005 and 2006 excavations, and partially uncovered by them, is a large hexagonal structure, which until at least 1946 survived as an earthwork and can be seen on an aerial photograph of that date. It measures about 27m in diameter, and has an internal bank and external ditch about 80cm wide. Its date and purpose are uncertain and it is included because of its proximity to the burial mounds. There is a similar hexagonal structure, which can also be seen on an aerial photograph, about 370m to the south east: this second hexagon is not included in the scheduling. The inclusion of one is justifiable, given the proximity to the burial mounds and its relationship with them. However, given our uncertain understanding of their date and function these structures are not justifiably included on their own merits.


<1> OS Card / NAR index entry, CUCAP SU 1-4 (03-06-56) (Unpublished document). SKE6461.


<2> Kent Archaeological Field School, 2008, The archaeological investigation of a hexagonal feature at Star Hill, Bridge, near Canterbury, Kent 2003-6 (Unpublished document). SKE17738.

Sources and further reading

Cross-ref. Source description
<1>Unpublished document: OS Card / NAR index entry. CUCAP SU 1-4 (03-06-56).
<2>Unpublished document: Kent Archaeological Field School. 2008. The archaeological investigation of a hexagonal feature at Star Hill, Bridge, near Canterbury, Kent 2003-6.
Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund