Discover and help tell the story of Kent’s historic military defences

As the closest part of Britain to mainland Europe, Kent has been at the forefront of defence against Continental raid or invasion.
At times there has also been a need for security against internal threats and enemies. Around the coast and inland is a wealth of sites, representative both of Kent and England’s struggles over the centuries with the world beyond and of the development of the technology of war. Indeed, the story of defence in all its forms has been continually written and re-written across (and sometimes beneath) our county’s landscape, providing a distinctive narrative that has yet to be fully revealed.

You can join a journey of discovery by becoming part of an initiative by the Historic Defences Committee of the Kent Archaeological Society. All periods are to be included, from the Bronze and Iron Ages, the Roman occupation, Saxon and medieval eras and the ensuing age of gunpowder, into the 20th century, whose civil defences are also to be embraced. The variety is astonishing.

The committee hopes to:

-Contribute to continuing research of the defences that we already know about and to make new discoveries, by the study of records, maps and aerial photographs, ground investigation or other means, better understanding all in the process.

– Undertake field recording of sites (there are, for example, great opportunities for the vast number of 20th century sites we have in the county, many of which are still unknown and unrecorded but there are other periods of opportunity too)

– Identify sites meriting protection

– Suggest sites for public access where this seems beneficial

– Carry out archaeological examination in appropriate cases

– Provide contacts and opportunities for participation in the restoration of defensive sites, mainly ones being worked on by other organisations and to give historical insights and advice to the latter, if requested.

– Share the results of research and discovery, reaching out to the wider community by publication, use of websites, a variety of media, exhibitions and conferences as well as by organising tours.

– Build partnerships with other organisations where this can help in moving things along.

In encouraging these activities, the committee will aim to provide a friendly, vibrant and supportive forum for those already involved in the study of historic defences as well as those who are not at present but would like to be.

Members of the Society are invited to express interest but anyone can become involved. And you do not have to be knowledgeable to take part. Talk to us and we can discuss the possibilities that might be right for you.

Contact details: Victor Smith, Chair of the Committee, 65 Stonebridge Road, Northfleet, Kent DA 11 9BA Tel 01474 323415 and
email victor.defcon1@gmail.com

-June 2014

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