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Historic England Research Records

Monument Number 407834

Hob Uid: 407834
Location :
Greater London Authority
Bromley
Non Civil Parish
Grid Ref : TQ4131063270
Summary : Site of a Roman villa excavated in 1854 and between 1967-87 with a possible bath house dating from the 1st to the early 5th century; the buildings were originally of timber but were replaced by stone structures. Corn drying kilns, possible pottery kilnsand some metalworking evidence has also been found. Late Neolithic/early Bronze Age lithic implements, an Iron Age settlement and a ritual shaft were also found. Early Medieval pottery, Medieval and Post Medieval ditches and robbing pits have also been found.
More information : [TQ 41416315] Roman Villa [G.S.] (Site of) (1)

In 1854 a Roman 'villa' was excavated by Corner in Lower Warbank Field, Keston. Mrs. Fox describes it as a basilican house later converted to domestic use. (Corner's plan confirms the O.S. siting but Mrs. Fox states that his plan is not to scale and the exact position is uncertain). In 1828 foundations were discovered underlying the hedge dividing Lower Warbank Field and Eight Acres Field. These were excavated in 1854 by Corner and in 1951-3 by Mrs Fox, (sited by plan - A0/LP/63/194 to TQ 41366322). Her excavation, confined to Eight Acres Field, uncovered a building which was a wing or projection of a larger complex in Lower Warbank Field. From this excavation and earlier evidence she dated the site from c.85.A.D. to the 4th c. Belgic pottery was also found. Further building foundations in Malthouse Field (east of Lower Warbank) are noted by Kempe. (2-4)

There are no surface indications of these buildings and only the site of Mrs. Fox's excavation can be confirmed. Large flints on the surface at TQ 41316327, a spot said to be very difficult to plough, may indicate the site of a further building. (5)

Emergency excavations began in the Lower Warbank field in 1968, in advance of a new road. Work was started on the old villa site and a building over 100 ft. in length, perhaps the main villa block, was uncovered with two projecting rooms possibly forming part of two wings. The southern wing probably contained a hypocaust and may have related to a bath-house. Walls were 2-3 ft. in thickness. No complete flooring was found, although there was a scatter of tesserae. Enclosure ditches containing an Iron Age Potin coin (8), and Iron Age and Roman pottery, predating the villa were found. A series of about a dozen circular post holes were uncovered under the east corridor of the villa probably representing a hut site of a sub-rectangular outline. A second hut site and rubbish and storage pits have also been found, including a bell-shaped storage pit with much 1st. century BC, pottery and several clay loom-weights. Saxon pottery was also found on the site. (6-8)

The sub-rectangular hut site beneath Lower Warbank villa (see authority 6 plan) was assigned to the early Iron Age by Rodwell. (9)

Excavations at Lower Warbank were undertaken by the West Kent Archaeological Group and the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit between 1967 and 1987. Work undertaken in 1968-78 based on the villa complex in Lower Warbank Field. Later work on the remainder of the complex in the adjacent Eight Acre Field, along with excavation of the mausoleum site to the north (TQ 46 SW 6) are to be published in the near future. Features and finds in Lower Warbank Field have been grouped into 9 phases, or periods. The earliest activity, Period 1, is represented by a scatter of worked flints containing little in the way of diagnostic material and assigned an approximate later Neolithic or Early Bronze Age date, largely on the basis of two possible arrowheads. The earliest datable features have been assigned to Period 2. The maximum time span for this period - 600-200 BC - is based on study of the pottery assemblage from the handful of features assigned to this period. A gap in occupation of the site in the later Iron Age may coincide with construction and use of the nearby hillfort of Caesar's Camp, Holwood (TQ 46 SE 5) c. 1km to the north-east. Periods 3 to 7 seem to represent continuous occupation from c. 50 BC through to the end of the 4th century AD or later. During this time a farmstaead consisting of timber buildings, storage pits and ditched enclosures develops into a larger complex featuring up to 3 stone buildings plus numerous ancillary structures and features. Notable features at various points in the site's history include corn-drying kilns, water tanks, water-pipes, and a possible pottery kiln. There is also some evidence for metalworking. The demise of the site is dated mainly by reference to coin and pottery evidence, none of which is of particularly good quality. Hence a terminal date either at the end of the 4th century or early in the 5th is suggested by the excavator. The relationship between the grubenhaus (TQ 46 SW 28) found in the middle of the site and the Romano-British villa is unclear. Later features include Medieval and Post-Medieval ditches and robbing pits. (10)

Later discoveries include a "ritual shaft" c. 16 feet deep and containing more than 25 animal skeletons including 3 complete horses laid out nose to tail around the sides of the shaft. Other features include the remainder of one of the buildings examined during the earlier phase of excavation plus associated features. (11-12)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : Ordnance Survey Map (Scale / Date)
Source details : 6" 1961
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Archaeologia Cantiana : being contributions to the history and archaeology of Kent
Source details : Piercy-Fox N
Page(s) : 96-116
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 69, 1955
Source Number : 11
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : Philp B
Page(s) : 35-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 82, 1985
Source Number : 12
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : Philp B and Garrod D
Page(s) : 194-5
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 89, 1987
Source Number : 13
Source : A gazetteer of Roman villas in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 106
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.1
Source Number : 14
Source : A gazetteer of Roman villas in Britain
Source details :
Page(s) : 79
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : no.1
Source Number : 3
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : Corner G R
Page(s) : 120-8
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 36, 1855
Source Number : 4
Source : Archaeologia : or miscellaneous tracts relating to antiquity
Source details : Kempe A J
Page(s) : 342-4
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 22, 1829
Source Number : 5
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 CFW 11-SEP-64
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : Philp B
Page(s) : 21
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 21, 1970
Source Number : 7
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : Mynott E
Page(s) : 292
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 30, 1972-3
Source Number : 8
Source : Kent archaeological review
Source details : Allen D F
Page(s) : 58
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 22, 1970-1
Source Number : 9
Source : Lowland Iron Age communities in Europe : papers presented to a conference of the Department for External Studies held at Oxford, October 1977
Source details : Rodwell W
Page(s) : 30
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 48
Source Number : 10
Source : The Roman villa site at Keston, Kent. First report : excavations 1968-1978
Source details :
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 6

Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Neolithic
Display Date : Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -4000
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Middle Iron Age
Display Date : Middle Iron Age
Monument End Date : -100
Monument Start Date : -300
Monument Type : Ditched Enclosure
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Late Iron Age
Display Date : Late Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -100
Monument Type : Ritual Shaft
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date :
Monument End Date : 432
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Baths, Villa, Corn Drying Kiln, Pottery Kiln
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit, Find
Monument Period Name : Early Medieval
Display Date : Early Medieval
Monument End Date : 1066
Monument Start Date : 410
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Pit, Ditch
Evidence : Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Post Medieval
Display Date : Post Medieval
Monument End Date : 1901
Monument Start Date : 1540
Monument Type : Pit, Ditch
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : LITHIC IMPLEMENT, ARROWHEAD
Object Material :
Period : Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : LITHIC IMPLEMENT, ARROWHEAD
Object Material :
Period : Late Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Ritual Shaft
Object Type : ANIMAL REMAINS, COIN
Object Material :
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Baths, Villa, Corn Drying Kiln, Pottery Kiln
Object Type : METAL WORKING DEBRIS
Object Material :
Period : Early Medieval
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : LO 102
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : TQ 46 SW 7
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Associated Monuments : 858294
Relationship type : General association

Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, LOWER WARBANK FIELD,KESTON
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1854-01-01
End Date : 1854-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, LOWER WARBANK FIELD, KESTON
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1951-01-01
End Date : 1953-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON TQ 46 SW 7
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1964-09-11
End Date : 1964-09-11