From The Dover Archaeological Group News Letter Of December, 2020.

The Beauchamps Dig at Nonington

Find of the year?
In late August we were (again) cleaning up the sunken road and in the process cleaning the clay it sits on, Leslie then spotted a flint lying partly on the surface.

After a quick clean to all our delight was a complete barbed and tang arrowhead!  

Leslie gingerly holding her prize find! Dating to the Neolithic it dates between 2200-2000BC.

The final stages of the big clean,

We are blessed with such a large site allowing socially distancing cleaning! Though having diggers in the shot accentuates the break of slope away from the camera and the ridge of building rubble (flint and tile) that sits above the Holloway with Gareth on edge the roads lower side and Rob crouched on the higher side of the earlier 2014 excavation where Pauline found the purse frame.

It’s still a bit of a mystery after Pauline found this as to why, after it fell into the lower gully of the road, why it stayed just there sight unseen for long enough to disappear into the soil. Conditions must have been really mucky and fell into muddy conditions or something happened so drastic whoever dropped it didn’t recover it? A story in itself, had someone stolen it and removed the contents, throwing the purse away to remove the evidence? I guess we’ll never know!

Meanwhile, having cleaned the surface and drawn much of it yet another feature presents itself. On the lower side of the trench (on the far side of Gareth in the picture across), there is an area of rammed chalk bordered by a row of flints, perhaps a sign of more domestic farming activity on the site.

In the wood this trench finally got de-weeded (yet again) and with the recent rain looked its best. A quick CPD point here, when taking photographs for recording; these two photos were taken at the same time. Given the restrictions of space and direction, one was taken to the east and one west. The sun was coming in at 1pm from the south west. The weather conditions were overcast. You can see the result using the same exposure, the first one above has predominantly cream and brown overtones. The second produced grey overtones which gives a very different result. I leave you to decide which of these two pictures reflects your memories of how it looked to you after the cleaning was done!

For those not currently familiar with part of the site, there is rising ground in the first picture leading to the embankment that runs across the coppice wood which in turn had the long barn shaped building butted up to it. So, this courtyard surface sits on the lower side of the barn. With the sunken road (seen on page 2), joining up with the large courtyard surface that we excavated in 2013-14 sited some 30m to the north west in the open field and in turn leads to what we called the pond area and of course the main house.

So, what did part of this barn-type building look like? The lower outer wall’s foundations are pictured with what might have been a partition wall above it. To assist you to remember, below on page 4 is a picture taken of it in January 2014, yes that’s right 2014!

The foundations of the 2014 long barn with sub- divisions situated just below the boundary ditch’s embankment


October 2020

I asked Keith to send me photos of the most up to date view of the excavation. There were two questions still to answer, the excavation of the SW side of the road and any sign of a building line of the NE side where the rammed chalk was found bordering the other side of the road near where Pauline found the purse. Here are his pictures:

The section clearly showing us the hollow way, the flint boundary leading to the rammed chalk, on the evidence was just that a plain chalk surface with no sign (in this trench), that it’s directly linked to another building.

I had to admire the dedication the diggers have for repeatedly cleaning and excavating this part of the site, a combination of Lockdown, Social Distancing and the weather, none of these deterred the Group, they dealt with it, worked within the rules and did the job that was in front of them. I take my hat off to all of you!