OA Library

M2 Junction 5 Improvements, Kent

Davies, Alex and Peacock, Rebecca and Brown, Lisa and Booth, Paul and Cotter, John and Donnelly, Mike and Dungworth, David and Poole, Cynthia and Scott, Ian and Shaffrey, Ruth and Brown, Ben and Rousseaux, Charles and Lawrence, Tom and Allen, Tim and Parsons, Conan and Rousseaux, Charles M2 Junction 5 Improvements, Kent. [Client Report] (Unpublished)

[thumbnail of STM2J17.pdf] PDF

Download (44MB)
[thumbnail of STM2J18.pdf] PDF

Download (7MB)


An archaeological evaluation was undertaken by Oxford Archaeology in
October and November 2017 around Junction 5 of the M2, Kent. The work
was commissioned by Hochtief (UK) Ltd on behalf of Highways England. A 5%
sample of the 21.8 hectare site was agreed, comprising 71 trenches.
No features of archaeological significance were found south-west of the
junction, and only one undated feature to the north-east. To the north-west
and south-east, however, there were features and finds of a variety of dates.
A relatively large assemblage of flintwork was recovered. The majority of this
was of Mesolithic date, and included both material possibly from
contemporary features, including a deep pit or shaft, and redeposited in later
contexts. There was also widespread flintwork of Neolithic or early Bronze Age
A few sherds of flint-tempered pottery of late Bronze Age or Iron age date
were also found in features, but the quantities were too small to date these
features with confidence. Some activity of later prehistoric date however
clearly took place in the north-western part of the site.
Two areas of smelting activity were discovered, one on the north-west, the
other on the south-east. Two radiocarbon dates were obtained, a late Iron Age
date from the south-east area, and a late Iron Age or early Roman date from
the north-west area, alongside pottery of a similar date.
One or more furnaces were uncovered as well as a relatively large quantity of
metalworking debris. This included slag from non-tapping and tapping
furnaces, generally assigned to the Iron Age and Roman periods respectively.
A technological transition is therefore apparent at these sites, moving to more
effective smelting techniques. The site shares many similarities to two
bloomeries recently excavated at Stockbury nearby.
Part of the Chatham Land Front defensive line was known to pass through the
site. This was built in response to a possible German invasion during World
War One. Elements of this complex were discovered during the evaluation,
although they do not appear to be well preserved.
Areas of made ground were discovered in the central part of the site at the
bottom of the valley. These layers are over 2m deep, and were probably
deposited during the construction of the M2

Highways England is considering improvements to Junction 5 of the M2 in
Kent. Archaeological evaluation of much of the area likely to be affected was
undertaken by Oxford Archaeology for Hochtief in 2017 but some areas,
including two paddocks north of the M2, east of the A249 and north-west of
Oad Street, could not be accessed then. Access having been granted by the
landowner, Atkins Consulting asked OA to undertake further trenching
comprising two trenches in these paddocks.
Both paddocks had undergone geophysical magnetometer survey, but did not
reveal any anomalies thought likely to be of archaeological origin. Historic
maps indicated that two lines of WW1 defences passed through the eastern
paddock, and the trench in that paddock was targeted to cross these defences.
The 2017 evaluation, which included the fields west of these paddocks, had
found that much of the area immediately east of the junction of the M2 and
A249 had been truncated and covered by varying depths of made ground,
believed to have occurred during the construction of the M2 in the 1960s. The
evaluation therefore also aimed to establish whether these paddocks were
similarly affected or were undisturbed.
The evidence from the two trenches suggested that neither paddock had been
heavily truncated during the construction of the M2. Two small pits or
postholes were found in each trench, though no finds were recovered from
any of the features. A cable trench and a linear anomaly thought to be of
geological origin were also found in Trench 79, and a wide ditch or palisade
trench in Trench 80. This corresponded to the more easterly defence line
marked on the WW1 maps, and consisted of a broad shallow trench, but with
at least one deeper section along its length. The intervention cut across one
of the deeper parts of the trench, and in section there appeared to be a
vertical post-pipe with a different fill on either side. This suggests that deeper
post-positions were dug at intervals along the trench to support posts and a
continuous barrier or barbed wire fencing.
No trace was found of any linear feature corresponding to the more westerly
defence line within Trench 80, although the two small pits or postholes lay
within the width indicated and may have been postholes for a barbed-wire
A substantial collection of struck flints was found in the topsoil and in the cable
trench. These were mainly of Neolithic or early Bronze Age date, with a
preponderance of late Neolithic/early Bronze Age character. Compared to the
struck flints from other parts of the scheme area, there appears to be a focus
of activity of this period in the area around these trenches. There were no
other finds except brick fragments of later 19th/20th century date.

Item Type: Client Report
Subjects: Geographical Areas > English Counties > Kent
Period > UK Periods > Bronze Age 2500 - 700 BC
Period > UK Periods > Iron Age 800 BC - 43 AD
Period > UK Periods > Mesolithic 10,000 - 4,000 BC
Period > UK Periods > Neolithic 4000 - 2200 BC
Period > UK Periods > Roman 43 - 410 AD
Divisions: Oxford Archaeology South > Fieldwork
Depositing User: Scott
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2018 11:17
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2022 13:04
URI: http://eprints.oxfordarchaeology.com/id/eprint/3971

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item