National Acclaim for Community History Project

Published on April 25th, 2013

The excavations that took place at the site of the Roman Villa on Folkestone’s East Cliff in 2010 and 2011 as part of the archaeology project A Town Unearthed won the Current Archaeology magazine rescue dig of the year award for 2013 . The Folkestone dig was selected from a list of six important archaeological sites across Britain, all at risk of destruction.

Dig Director Keith Parfitt of the Canterbury Archaeological Trust said “It is a brilliant way to celebrate A Town Unearthed and demonstrates that our local efforts have not gone unnoticed amongst the archaeological community. The award acknowledges that the East Cliff site is a nationally important site that is at risk of destruction by coastal erosion.  Although these points have long been known locally the award helps get this recognised much more widely. The award also recognises the efforts local people have made to record the site before it is lost.  Folkestone may be justly proud.”

The dig at the Roman Villa site on the East Cliff took place over the summer and autumn months of 2010 and 2011 and involved hundreds of volunteers of all ages, involved in digging, washing finds, or showing visitors and school groups around. Well over 12,000 visitors came to the site.

Director of A Town Unearthed Dr Lesley Hardy of Canterbury Christ Church University said “We are delighted that the East Cliff excavations have won this prestigious award. Keith Parfitt and the team have clearly shown that Folkestone has an ancient history to be proud of and that the site has much more to tell us about our Iron Age and Roman heritage.”

The excavations at the Roman Villa were part of A Town Unearthed: Folkestone Before 1500, a three year project of community archaeology in Folkestone, organised by Canterbury Christ Church University, the Folkestone People’s History Centre and Canterbury Archaeological Trust. It has been funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and The Roger De Haan Charitable Trust with contributions by Folkestone Town Council, Kent Archaeological Society and Shepway District Council.