Settlement: OS Grid Reference – TQ 407 649
Archaeology & History
This settlement site was found thanks to the good work of the Bromley & West Kent Archaeology Group in the 1960s, when they decided to do follow-up work to what Brian Philp (2002) described as “doubtful sites reported mainly in the 19th century.” Time and again these “doubtful sites” at least turn into something of value — and such was the case here! The group commenced digging selective trenches in July 1964 in a small wooded area near to Baston Manor and they soon came across “a stratified deposit of late-Neolithic (2500 BC) pottery and flint.”
In successive returns to the site over two years, 5630 items—primarily fire-cracked stones, flints and more than 200 pieces of pottery, some of which was highly decorative—were unearthed and the site was recognised as an important settlement arena many thousands of years ago. In Kent, this was a rarity! Philps’ resumé of the site and its many remains told,
“Sometime about 2500 BC, a group of late-Stone Age farmers had selected this quiet hillside (now just in Hayes) to settle and live. Here they must have farmed small cultivated areas close to their huts and herded sheep and cattle to fresh areas and nearby streams. These were the first occupants of the West Wickham valley over 4000 years ago…”
- Philp, Brian, “The Discovery of a Secondary Neolithic Site at Hayes,” in Kent Archaeological Review, no.5, 1966.
- Philp, Brian, Archaeology in the Front Line, KARU: Dover 2002.
- Smith, Isobel, “Prehistoric Pottery from Baston Manor, Hayes,” in Kent Archaeological Review, no.18, 1969.
© Paul Bennett, The Northern Antiquarian 2016