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Swale's Archaeological Heritage

Swale Borough is rich in archaeological interest having been an area settled from the Neolithic period and important to the establishment and security of the Roman empire’s outpost in England.

The most important archaeological sites are scheduled by the Government Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport on the recommendation of Historic England (see related web page on Swale’s Scheduled Monuments), and there are currently 23 such sites located within the Borough.

However, there are many sites of archaeological interest which either do not meet the very stringent criteria for scheduling, or in some cases, have not yet been formally considered for this highest-level heritage designation, but which are, nevertheless, of some, and in some cases, very significant heritage interest.

The sites and finds vary considerably and as an example, in some cases, consist of the buried remains of buildings or structures, or the sites of finds e.g. of Anglo Saxon treasures, including swords and coins. In other instances, the sites are still wholly or partly visible consisting of structures such as mile markers, early post boxes, remains of buildings and structures from important former industries in the Borough (including brickmaking and gunpowder manufacturing) and First and Second World War defence structures.

The easiest way of finding out about this type of heritage is by using Kent County Council’s Historic Environment Record (HER) website. You can search by key words, time periods and by parish if you have an idea what you are looking for, and there is also a very useful map-based search tool.  Alternatively, if you wish to just browse and get some information on a particular topic area (e.g. Roman Kent), you can use the very useful ‘Explore More’ menu option.

Some of the information layers provided on the map-based search tool overlap with those provided on the Swale Interactive Map - with the Heritage and Environment map layer selected) and if you are looking specifically for scheduled monuments, listed building and/or conservation areas in Swale Borough, the Swale Interactive Map is likely to be more useful given the links it provides. However, if you are looking on a county level or wanting to find out about sites of archaeological interest in the Borough which are not scheduled, then the Kent HER website is likely to be your best starting point.

The Kent HER is particularly useful if you are interested in exploring the different historic landscape areas of the county and/or seeing the location of historic farmsteads (often containing listed farmhouses, barns and oasts, etc), some of which are still continuing to serve as functioning farms today.

The Kent HER website is not suitable for legal, planning or professional research work, and if you are looking for information from one of these starting points, you are advised to contact Kent County Council’s Heritage Conservation Group