Love amongst the sleeper walls

Horton Kirby, a Roman granary, was excavated in a single season in 1972 from beneath the neatly-mown turf of a playing field. Although the rescue dig was directed by Brian Philp, since he had other projects to manage, he put me in charge of a team made up of a handful of female trainee PE teachers from Dartford, and whoever else we could gather from the local community and beyond (including one charming and lithe young lady who later became a member of the "Pan's People" troupe of dancers).

It was an idyllic summer. The dig went well. The weather was fine. I was surrounded by attractive young women. I lived in an ancient caravan painted yellow and black (the colours of CIB - Cohors I Baetasiorum: "First cohort of the Baetasians," Kent Archaeologial Rescue Group - Brian's cohort of rescue diggers) I fell head-over-heels in love with Jackie, one of the Dartford students. Because the site attracted metal detectorists, we had to guard it 24/7, which meant that I was trapped on site except when I could persuade someone to site-sit for a few hours. I relied on a local schoolboy for my supplies, and on Jackie for company. It was all very romantic, especially when Jackie followed me down to Dover when the Horton Kirby excavations finished. Sadly the relationship didn't survive long, but was fun while it lasted. The last I heard J was in New Zealand...I wonder where she is now?. Sigh!

Philp, Brian and Mills, Ralph, 1991. The Roman Villa at Horton Kirby. Kent Archaeological Rescue Unit: Kent special subjects, 5.

ARCHAEOLOGY