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Tony (Antoinette), the Dedicated Archaeologist

This February blog completes twelve months of Vera’s full transcription of Tony’s field books of 50 years ago. However it coincided with an exciting ‘archaeological’ January 2016 for us!  We were further researching the Bronze Age site at Minnis Bay by reviewing the paperwork that was deposited at Maidstone Museum by FH Worsfold, who excavated the site in 1939 with Jimmy Beck, the 14 year old schoolboy who had found the large Bronze hoard in 1938.  The following week we made a visit to the British Museum to see the Minnis Bay Bronze Hoard. We are most grateful to Neil Wilkin, who is responsible for the British and European Bronze Age collection at the British Museum, for an interesting day taking us ‘behind the scenes’ to show us the bronzes and explaining the intricacies of this most historic hoard.

Minnis Bay hoard  Minnis Bay hoard

Minnis Bay hoard  Minnis Bay hoard
Part of the Minnis Bay hoard, including bronze axe heads, chisels, swords & decorative amulets
© Trustees of the British Museum

Three days later, Neil came on a visit to the Isle of Thanet when we showed him where the hoard had been found in 1938 at Minnis Bay and where we had started our archaeological excavations on Well 27 with Tony 50 years ago to the day.  At the same time he was able to experience the cold, wet and windy conditions in which we often worked.  This was followed by a visit to the Powell-Cotton Museum, where he analysed the other Bronze hoards found in the Birchington area that are part of the Museum’s archaeological collection.

So after an exciting January we now look at the last of the full transcriptions of Tony’s field books.

Sunday 6th February 1966

Sent Brian Philp photos N.  Pot lump – 3&4 close up rule above – Top Timber colour 1 & black and white 4 part removed.  Top timber and upright hard baulk and Q little posts – Woodfield transparency.

Tuesday 8th February 1966

Added a little chalk to N and 27.  Found the fill still surrounding this hole. Good tide i.e. spring, Twin irons showing.  West wind sandy F&P.  Beachcombed F.F. – found nil.  Cliff at Grenham fallen quite a bit – result of frost I’d guess.  C.L.S on Coastal platforms of the Isle of Thanet.  Ass. Lecturer in Geography, University Hong Kong, MS received 3.12.1965.  Institute of Geographers Transactions no 37, Dec.1965. Geo. Philip & Son Ltd, Victoria Road, Willesden, N.W.10, 1965

  • [F&P ‘ fence and post area’ and F.F. ‘far flats’ are in the Neolithic area seen at very low tides.]

 Saturday 12th February 1966

Mortimer Wheeler – puffball – Stanwick, Yorkshire 1st half 1st century – 19centuries old!  With Gibbons.  Collected piece timber shaped.  See Trevor’s drawing – with 2 rectangular nails with large domed head. 

Wood PlanWood Plan 2

Half domed shaped ‘lower’ quern very thick heavy type  ?granite.  Pieces flatter disc shape stone grooved and some odd bits thicker – smallish bones – cat – dog size, smelly – antler one tine cut off – more mouse.  2 gritty frags from last time – oysters – fill as before.  Down to about 18” from bottom.  Quern – diameter 16”, 6” greatest depth in centre.  Weight of this half about 3 stone.

Sunday 13th February 1966

Wrote Clare Lukehurst re material of querns.  Well27 – about 3’0” square with rounded corners and rusty line – collected 3 bits yellow rusty corrosion – a turned up pointed squared nail hollow - ?always so or ?

Wednesday 16th February 1966

 Very cold – added a little chalk.  Collected a few small bones etc

Saturday 19th February 1966

Ditto – met John and Ian Maidam

Saturday 26th February 1966

With Gibbons – very windy.  Showed oak patch – F.F. woods, site of beaker sherds, split stake fence F & P area far west of F & P where flint chips are under the sand!!

Measured up for Med holes 18, 21, 25 & 26, 1, 23 and new one not dug i.e. 31.  Then to 20 -30 area – collected some clam fossils bits from remains of stack.

  • [Med holes are the mediaeval ones and closest to the promenade. But 20-30 are the Late Iron Age wells to the east near Grenham Bay.]

Monday 28th February 1966

Collected bike.  Replaced chalk removed from N [pit ‘N’] at west end.  Saw chalk urchin near promenade bay side of 1st little groin from ‘steps down’, before oyster stack. 2 iron pipes lie between it and the promenade and I’ve marked an X on the promenade side in chalk.  Talked with Cornish brickfield man re granite bricks – he says granite road setts – might have been ballast thrown out –could have been a wall or road.  Written Gibbons – re Philp, Jenifer Hopkins, their friend and photography. Creek plan – Leicester and visits enclosing Cole creek photo of plan and J.H’s letter.

Next month and in future, the Blog will be of our experiences 50 years ago with Tony and our researches of today, with relevant extracts from Tony’s field books and her detailed records catalogued in the Powell-Cotton Museum.

Antoinette Powell-Cotton (1913-1997) Debutante, nurse, midwife, African explorer, anthropologist and passionate local archaeologist, was the youngest daughter of Major Percy Powell-Cotton, of Quex Park, Birchington, Kent.

 

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