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Author Topic: Bronze Age Chatham  (Read 5328 times)

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Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Bronze Age Chatham
« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2015, 22:41:41 »

Various Bronze Age artifacts discovered during the Dockyard Extension works,  in particular "During dredging of Chatham Reach, in conjunction with the Dockyard Extension, numerous finds of bronze swords indicate the site of an ancient ford, probably used by people of the Bronze period."  Are there any other reliable references to a ford in Chatham Reach, and where was it?


Bronze Age Antiquities from the Lower Medway. R. F. Jessup. Archaeologia Cantiana Vol. 45. 1933.
http://www.kentarchaeology.org.uk/Research/Pub/ArchCant/Vol.045 - 1933/045-17.pdf

Trustees of the British Museum. Museum number 1871,1002.7.  Copper alloy sword. Light brown to green patina, surface corrosion over much of hilt. Five rivet holes in tang and ten in shoulder; none in situ. Blade cracked and slightly curved. Surface flaked and scratched. Length: 795 millimetres. Late Bronze Age. Found Chatham Reach.

Trustees of the British Museum. Museum number 1871,1003.1. Copper alloy sword; badly corroded with slight black or chestnut brown patina. Two rivet holes in tang, one in terminal and two in shoulder.
Length: 606 millimetres. Late Bronze Age. Found Chatham Reach.

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Bronze Age Chatham
« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2012, 01:28:24 »
Sometimes, reading through archaeological reports,one could even start to wonder if the term 'ritual' is used in place of 'we haven't got a clue'.

It very often is!  And there are examples of things as mundane as mousetraps being assigned 'ritual significance' until their actual purpose is understood!

(But this is veering off topic, so if the discussion is going to continue I suugest someone starts a 'ritual significance' topic in General!)
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Offline davpott

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Re: Bronze Age Chatham
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 20:23:24 »
Bodies of water seem to have had a lot of ritual significance during the Bronze age. I believe that most offerings were deliberately damaged or broken before they were cast in, and many must have had considerable intrinsic value. The term "ritual" is used a lot in British archaeology, for obvious reasons!

Sometimes, reading through archaeological reports,one could even start to wonder if the term 'ritual' is used in place of 'we haven't got a clue'.

Offline smiffy

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Re: Bronze Age Chatham
« Reply #5 on: June 18, 2012, 15:53:29 »
Bodies of water seem to have had a lot of ritual significance during the Bronze age. I believe that most offerings were deliberately damaged or broken before they were cast in, and many must have had considerable intrinsic value. The term "ritual" is used a lot in British archaeology, for obvious reasons!

Offline Leofwine

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Re: Bronze Age Chatham
« Reply #4 on: June 18, 2012, 14:13:36 »
It is believed that in the Bronze Age fords and sacred pools were used as sites for votive offerings. Perhaps at fords it was asking the gods/spirits to see to the safe passage of those crossing the ford, or if in a more martial context, perhaps a warband crossing the ford to attack an enemy seeking good luck for their expedition, or even giving thanks for a safe return from a successful raid. Sadly the lack of written records for this period leads to a lot of guesswork.
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Offline Far away

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Re: Bronze Age Chatham
« Reply #3 on: June 18, 2012, 14:08:55 »
"During dredging of Chatham Reach, in conjunction with the Dockyard Extension, numerous finds of bronze swords indicate the site of an ancient ford, probably used by people of the Bronze period."

Does anyone understand what the link is between fords and swords? A battle on a ford, perhaps, or were people in the habit of dropping their swords irretrievably while fording rivers?

Offline HERB COLLECTOR

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Re: Bronze Age Chatham
« Reply #2 on: April 03, 2012, 20:56:33 »
"...distinctive side-looped spearheads are spread across the county:....one from Chatham Dockyard."
"Rapiers or dirks, which developed from the Wessex ll ogival daggers, are eight in number.......there are four from the Medway at Chatham."
"...swords, one from Chatham Dockyard (Jessup, 1933)......

"...swords...One of a number from Chatham and the Medway is spade-hilted and has an acute ricasso (Jessup,1933c)"


From Kent in Prehistoric Times, Paul Ashbee, VG must put review up. Pages 139-40 top, p 148 bottom.

Ref is Jessup, R.F, 1933, Bronze Age Antiquities from the Lower Medway, Archaeologia Cantiana, 45, pages 179-87.
Unfortunately this article is not yet available online.

Offline Leofwine

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Bronze Age Chatham
« Reply #1 on: April 03, 2012, 15:43:27 »
Here is one to make you get your thinking heads on!

I was just looking through Presnail's history of Chatham and saw he had some references to Chatham in the Bronze Age. I know that his book was sometimes written with more enthusiasm than historical fact or accuracy, so I'm wondering if anyone has any information on this subject from other sources.

In particular I'd love to know more about the following that he mentions:

Various Bronze Age artifacts discovered during the Dockyard Extension works,  in particular "During dredging of Chatham Reach, in conjunction with the Dockyard Extension, numerous finds of bronze swords indicate the site of an ancient ford, probably used by people of the Bronze period."  Are there any other reliable references to a ford in Chatham Reach, and where was it?

Bronze Age settlements in Chatham. "The large number of Bronze Period implements of both stone and bronze manufacture provides definite evidence of a settlement in the area during this period; a primitive village community whose round huts, one has little hesitation in submitting, were huddled together a short way down below the southern rim of the great headland (the Lines), below Slickett's Hill and Fort Amherst, overlooking the hairpin bend of the river." Is there any evidence for Bronze Age settlements at these locations, or is it just a flight of whimsy by Mr. Presnail?

Pre-historic trackway across the Lines. "From Slicketts Hill a track passed north-east across the Lines, down to the river at Gillingham." The map he includes suggests this trackway is what later became Spray Lane/Gillingham Lane (http://www.kenthistoryforum.co.uk/index.php?topic=12679.0)  Is there any evidence for this being a prehistoric trackway? If his assertation that there was a prehistoric settlement at Slicketts Hill is correct, it may well be likely that there was an ancient trackway at this point.

Or does anyone have any other information about Chatham in the Bronze Age.
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