The Modern Antiquarian. Ancient Sites, Stone Circles, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic Mysteries

Kent

Miscellaneous

Something else to throw into the Medway mix. I'd not heard of these pits before, perhaps they're not prehistoric at all, but their proximity to Kit's Coty and the rest is interesting, and they are to do with flint..
At several places in this part of Kent, especially on and near the high ridge which runs to the westward, there have been observed deep pits, evidently of a very remote antiquity. They consist of a large circular shaft, descending like a well, and opening at the bottom into one or more chambers..

On Friday, the 23rd of August, 1844, having obtained permission to excavate in the estate belonging to Preston Hall, which extends over the top of this hill, I took some labourers with me.. to examine the ground behind Kits Coty House.. I proceeded further on the top of the hill into what I knew to be the Preston Hall property, and on the ground just within the limits of Aylesford common I found single stones, closely resembling those of which the cromlechs below are built, but lying flat on the ground.

My first impression was that they were the capstones of cromlechs, or sepulchral chambers, buried under theground, and, having singled out one of them, I set the men to dig under the side of it. When they got under the edge they found thye were digging among a mass of flints, which had evidently been placed there by design; I then caused the men to continue the excavation to a greater distance round, and, to my surprise, I found that this immense stone was laid over the mouth of a large circular pit which had first been filled up to the top with flints. To proceed any further without a greater number of men than I had with me would have been useless.

But, just as I was leaving it, some of the cottagers on the top of the hill - squatters - informed me that these pits were frequently found on that hill, and that they generally had one or two of the large stones at the mouth. When, a few years before, a new road was made over the brow of the hill, and flints were sought for that purpose, the labourers discovered these pits and partly emptied some of them, which they found much more profitable than seeking the flints on the surface of the chalk. One was shown to me which had been emptied to a depth of about ten feet, and had been discontinued on account of the labour of throwing the flints up.
p565 in The Gentleman's Magazine for 1852, in an article on 'The Valley of Maidstone - Kits Coty House and the Cromlechs around' by Thomas Wright.
Rhiannon Posted by Rhiannon
21st January 2007ce
Edited 22nd October 2010ce

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