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Aerial Photos

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Jason Coulls    13 Apr 2007
Hi all,

I was doing some more investigating around Beacon Hill (again) and decided to try a new approach to a really old theory that's been rattling around in my head – being that if the Stone Chapel at the bottom of the hill is roman and built on an earlier pagan mausoleum, then it's likely that during the thousand or more years before, there had to be a much earlier pre-roman settlement close by.  I'm just having major problems believing that Durolevum was the first significant thing in the area.

On the assumption that there was a settlement close by, then it would have been cleared of trees, and the land would later be reused for agriculture and would be used that way almost continuously until modern times – meaning there should still be no trees on that land.

This logic means that the Syndale site shouldn't be a prime candidate because there's far too many trees there, unless someone planted them later for decorative purposes.

This means that logically, there is only one field where something could have existed if my theory is correct. Start at the stone chapel, cross the road to the west of it and you're in another field with the wooded area to the west of that.  Go through that bit of wood and you are now looking at the field to the west of it.  This is the field that fits the description.

Now, given the lack of high resolution photo's from Google Earth, I resorted to using the photo finder on the website to look at the field and I noticed something at OS Grid Ref (598349, 161778) - you have to hit zoom in twice to see what I'm referring to. I almost looks as though you can see a path running to it from what was the predecessor of Watling Street.

Does anyone have any other available aerial photos to confirm if a large outline can be seen at that location to either help confirm my suspicions or shoot down my theory? 


Jason Coulls    16 Jul 2007
>>Have you tried the aerial photos through msn live search?  This is a wonderful free resource - zooms in with satellite pictures then snaps into good quality aerial phots for closer views<<

Something better just happened... 

Google Earth has just updated Faversham's satellite views pictures with extremely high resolution images (not sure about the Google maps website yet, but the program that I'm using on the Mac is now showing 2007 data apparently - not sure that's wholly correct on the dates as I remember seeing more buildings at the Abbey School last October than are shown now.)

I just had a look at the original field I was talking about West of Ospringe, and there is still a clear outline there.  So two photos 10 years apart shows something there in the same field.  Additionally, something is still in the field next to the junction where Bysingwood Road meets Colegates Road - Looks like a "lozenge" shape... 

Also, there's still a big weird "thing" in a field connecting to the Luddenham Gut that I cannot make head nor tail of.  Looks like there was water there once, but there are 5 "points" around it and some form of wall was there as well, causing a footpath to go around it.  It's been intriguing me for months now as to what this feature is.

Going off on a small tangent, I've finally managed to take a peek inside the Faversham Reservoir compound (that's only taken 6 years to do) and there is definitely no trigpoint where one should be, meaning the closest known trigpoint to Faversham is at Harty Ferry as Faversham has definitely lost its one.  Seems the waterboard was telling the truth when they said it wasn't there.


Jason Coulls    14 Apr 2007
Hi Pat,

>>I think I see what you are talking about, but check it yourself.  We think the live search photos date from the late 90s. <<
I checked out the site as I hadn't done before.  I instantly recognised them - they are the same set of photo's that I used previously to determine the boundaries of woods and trees to discover the OS botch with Beacon Hill - which it then turned out Arthur Percival had discovered about 30 years before I did!

The photo's are post 1994-1995(?)  as Tesco car park shows up instead of the big white Whitbread warehouse, and I left Faversham in September 1998 and I don't think they'd started the Hilton Close development behind Macknade Ave at the time I left, but it was definitely there in 2003 when I came home and noticed the allotments had gone.  The allotments show on the photos as a field, so it's probably about 1997-1998.

Anyway, the high contrast colouring of the photo's actually helps to highlight certain features that otherwise would not show up - but actually obscure other features.  The most helpful aspect of these pictures is they show up paths through woods and copses - whereas the later photo's don't.  The downside is they don't show all the nuances that the later photo's do.

Ultimately, there's three main things I'm looking for to determine the existence of something earlier than the romans:

1.  Outlines of previous buildings where they lived.
2.  Signs of any long barrows where they'd bury their dead (Like did everyone build the roads around one on the North-East corner of Bysingwood Road and Tin Shop Hill because they couldn't build straight through it?)
3.  The area had to primarily be forest and marsh - so there has to be signs of paths that were cleared.  (Like the path that cuts through the wooded area west of Four Oaks Road points directly to the roman chapel - coincidence?  Additionally, start at my original field west of these trees and there's the barely visible path that goes north across the middle of several fields directly to a small copse in the middle of another field - Another possible barrow site?  Why'd they leave just those trees?  Are there boulders there?)

I'll keep looking for now.  There's too many things that just don't make any sense to me in the area - and I guess I need to look a bit deeper and then come up with some more questions!  Ha ha!


Pat Reid    14 Apr 2007
Hi Jason,

I'm the archaeologist for the Faversham Society, read your message with interest.  Have you tried the aerial photos through msn live search? This is a wonderful free resource - zooms in with satellite pictures then snaps into good quality aerial photos for closer views.  I think I see what you are talking about, but check it yourself.  We think the live search photos date from the late 1990s. 

best wishes,  Pat

Dr Patricia Reid, Honorary Archaeologist for the Faversham Society
Jason Coulls    14 Apr 2007
Thanks Arthur,

I'm already making the assumption the trees are not natural – most don't appear on the old maps that I used to re-discovered your 1960's discovered error with Beacon Hill on the OS maps (and, by the way, I still haven't convinced the OS that their maps are wrong).

It seems that Old Man Judd left more than the legend of his folly in the area...  Ha ha!



Arthur Percival    13 Apr 2007

The only comment I'd make is that the trees in Syndale Park are not natural, but part of landscaping schemes, probably undertaken both in the 17th and 19th centuries.  

Best wishes

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