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 THE WOLVERTON PROJECT

The Wolverton archaeological site located on Mean Ridge opposite the small hamlet of Wolverton">

 

 THE WOLVERTON PROJECT

The Wolverton archaeological site located on Mean Ridge opposite the small hamlet of Wolverton, was discovered purely by chance in 2005, when Mrs Rebecca Burrows notice what looked like two distinctive lumps on the ridge skyline from the road. Rebecca’s observation led on a voyage of discovery that took two years to complete leaving many more unanswered questions.

In January 2007, a small team was assembled to geophysically examine the site located on the ridge near to Chilton Farm. The results from the survey revealed a complicated assemblage of linear, oval and irregular sub-surface anomalies indicating probable multi-period archaeology. Permission from the landowners was kindly given and a second team lead by the author and made-up from volunteers and students studying archaeology at the Kent and Canterbury University, arrived at the site in early March 2007.

The initial project objectives were to establish whether the visible mounds were indeed the remains of two former Bronze Age Barrow mounds. A three-day exploratory excavation failed to locate evidence for a ring-ditch surrounding the mound feature now designated barrow I however; the first of a series of 6th – 7th century Anglo-Saxon burials was discovered. Of the many Anglo-Saxon cemeteries excavated in Kent, a common practice during this period was for them to locate their cemeteries close-to or on former barrow mounds. The nature of this customary practice is believed to be a way of associating themselves with their ancestors. In particular, the most prominent of the mounds seen on the ridge, was found to be a natural chalk feature in the landscape that had been utilized for the base of the Bronze Age monument, some 2,400 years later, the feature was reused for Anglo-Saxon interments.

The second and much smaller barrow dated to 1800 BC, was located towards the top of the ridge, the barrow was found to have not been the focus of the Anglo-Saxon attention. The absence of burials around this feature could suggest that by 600 AD, the barrow was no longer visible in the landscape. During the excavation of the barrow ring-ditch, a singular and almost destroyed burial was located. This Neolithic interment had been cut by the ring-ditch and therefore predated the barrow.

ALKHAM - WOLVERTON WARRIOR FUND

We briefly aforementioned the Iron Age Bucket burial and cemetery discovered in the village of Alkham. The finds from this site like so many in Kent, often end-up in museums across the country. One of the main reasons for this paradox is the limited budget available to most excavations. The funds for the Wolverton project were limited to investigate the Bronze Age barrows but also discovered a previously unknown Anglo-Saxon cemetery! Unfortunately, most of Kent’s museums are under-funded by local authorities not least our own at Dover. Dover the gateway to Europe for thousands of years boasts many historical monuments and archaeological sites within the district. In my opinion, Dover District Council has never been known for its sympathetic approach to its own past and much less to the districts museum services.

It is therefore unlikely that we can expect any assistance from the Dover District Council to conserve and permanently display the Wolverton Warrior material as a result the Alkham group will need to raise funding locally. An application will be made to the Lottery Heritage Fund

Vince Burrows

The following three options are available to the group.

a)    Place the material in long-term storage.

b)    Accept an offer from a larger and better-funded museum elsewhere in the country for the conservation cost. This will mean the loss of the material from Dover & Kent.

c)     Raise the necessary funding locally to keep the Wolverton Warrior permanently at Dover Museum.

The Alkham Group has already started the funding journey within the Alkham Valley, and has secured £406 from the generous donations made from the Alkham Quiz night in February 2009. This has been a great start towards the estimated fund required of £12,000.

Both the Wolverton and Alkham Valley projects are one-off opportunities run by volunteers. We hope you will support our work and initiatives. If you would like to help keep the Wolverton Warrior in Dover, we would be very grateful for any donations you would like to make. We will add your name or company (optional) to our Website list of supporters.

Donations can be made direct through this sites secure pay pal option button or cheques made payable to the AVHRG. Please send your donations and details to:

Full details of the findings from The Wolverton Project can be found on the PUBLISHED REPORTS page.

Further photos from the excavation and images of the finds can be found in The Gallery.