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MONUMENT NO. 1316263

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A large Roman corridor villa with a suite of baths, dating from the 1st-3rd centuries AD has been partly excavated, near Sittingbourne. The site was discovered in 1984 by farm worker, Mr M. Fossey, when deep ploughing in a 99 acre field on the Tonge/Rodmersham border threw up tiles and mortar. Farm manager Mr F. Brice and his son took fragments of the building debris to Maidstone Museum, where it was identified as Roman. Trial excavations carried out in September 1984 by the Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit, directed by Brian Philp, revealed a range of rooms at least 26 metres by 8 metres, with a wide frontal corridor and possible rear corridor. Much of the stratigraphy had been destroyed by ploughing and solifluxion, leaving only flint and mortar foundations. The suite of baths, which formed an extension at the north end, had been built below ground level and several walls survived. A large furnace room was found, with a hot room and a tepid room, both with hypocausts. On one side there was a largely complete plunge-bath of apsidal form, with a plain red tesserae floor and pink-red opus signinum walls. Nearby was a small cold bath. The excavation also revealed two ditches which may have been parts of large enclosures or field boundaries. They contained domestic rubbish and pottery. A small part of a second building, with large mortared walls flanking an underground room was located c. 50 metres from the "main" building. Ploughing and robbing over several centuries has destroyed much of the structures and the full extent or date range of the site is not known, but it doubtless represents part of an important and otherwise unknown Roman villa complex.

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