The Council for British Archaeology in the South East





CBA South East

Programme of Events 2014-15


Unless otherwise stated in the details below all walks and site visits will be charged at the following rates:


£6.00 Flat rate for all adults with £3.00 of this to be donated to the site visited, and £1.00 ringfenced for the Grants Fund.

Children: Free


Contact or to book a place on the organised event.


Walks and site visits:

(There are none currently planned)


Central CBA Groups Network Events

The central CBA newsletter for groups: CBA_BA Group Events Ad_A4_2014.pdf


Other Events and Activities

Knole, the National Trust archaeology project. This is continuing - there will be three public lectures in March, May and September this year, and the annual Archaeology / Community event in June (part of the Sevenoaks Festival, instead of the Festival of Archaeology in July). Nathalie Cohen hopes they will be able to do something in the CBA festival period too, perhaps one of the 'Family Mondays' which often include an archaeological theme. Listings are here:


Museum of London Archaeology has been successful in gaining HLF funding for a nationwide coastal archaeology project - CITiZAN - the CBA and Nautical Archaeology Society are the main project partners. There is an NT project Tom Dommett is running at Birling Gap, looking at coastal erosion, more info here:


Friday-Sunday April 24th-26th 2015 - Conference on Early Medieval Monasticism in the North Sea Zone - Examining New Research And Fresh Perspectives

Dr Alexandra Knox of the Lyminge Archaeological Project draws our attention to this forthcoming conference, to be held at the University of Kent at Canterbury.

2015 marks the conclusion of a major AHRC-funded campaign of excavation at Lyminge, the first archaeological investigation to provide a detailed account of the origins and development of a royal monastery in the kingdom of Kent.  The results shed light on many themes central to the interpretation of early medieval monastic foundations in their contemporary contexts.

The aim of the conference is to contextualise the results of this research by bringing together an international body of scholars to examine the theme of early medieval monasticism in the North Sea Zone from a variety of archaeological, historical and cross-disciplinary perspectives. 

Sessions include:  ‘Power and Place: the Politics of Monastic Foundation’, ‘What did Monasteries Look Like? Architecture and Layout’, and ‘Production, Consumption and Surplus: Monasteries as Economic Central Places’.  The conference will conclude with a round table discussion to identify priorities for future research and opportunities for new scholarly collaboration. There is an optional excursion to Lyminge and other local sites on Friday afternoon followed by a keynote address by Professor John Blair and a wine reception.

Among confirmed speakers are:

Justine Bayley (London), John Blair (Oxford), Rosemary Cramp (Durham), Rosamond Faith (Oxford), Zoe Knapp (Reading) Elizabeth Lorans (Tours), Mark McKerracher (Oxford), Tomás Ó Carragáin (Cork), David Petts (Durham), Thomas Pickles (Chester), Gabor Thomas (Reading), Dries Tys (Brussels), Ian Wood (Leeds), Barbara Yorke (Winchester).

Conference registration fee is £42 which includes lunch and refreshments. The optional field trip to Lyminge is £10 per person. Please go to for details and registration. Please contact with inquiries.

This conference is sponsored by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and project partners Kent Archaeological Society. Flyer: Early Medieval Monasticism in the North Sea Zone


Major Publishing Event dedicated to the memory of Peter Drewett:

Archaeology and Landscape of South-East England to 1066 (eds Michael J Allen & David Rudling)

This is a new peer-reviewed book on archaeology of SE England, written by the recognised leading authorities in their field. It provides an overview and review of south-east England, allowing comparison with Sussex, Surrey and Kent (and the east Thames basin) which has rarely been achieved or attempted. It will also allow comparison within and between both the three counties, and the main topographic zones of Downs, Weald, Coastal Plain, River Valley and Thames Estuary.

The book will provide an informed narrative of an interpretation of the history of the south east and re-addresses, renews and re-evaluates the work and interpretations presented previously. It will be the new textbook for the South-East. As such we it hope provides a fitting tribute to the late Peter Drewett who inspired many in the current generation of archaeologists (professional and amateur) working in south-east England. Peter published a series of major excavations in Sussex and southern England 1974-82, and this book will be dedicated to Peter Drewett with great thanks, admiration and affection.


Book Launch:

Toby’s ‘Stairway to Heaven’ reveals secrets of Kent churches


Dr Toby Huitson


For more than ten years Dr Toby Huitson (pictured above) has been fascinated by what went on in the upper storeys of our medieval churches and cathedrals.

His curiosity led him up spiral staircases above towers, naves and chancels all over Kent and further afield and into mysterious lofts, galleries and passages that were used as, among other things, dovecotes, treasuries and libraries.

He has now published a book, ‘Stairway to Heaven’, in which he describes and illustrates his hundreds of discoveries.

‘It all began as a doctoral thesis on ecclesiastical staircases, galleries and upper chambers, for which I was awarded my PhD in history,’ said Toby, who is an assistant archivist at Canterbury Cathedral and a history lecturer at the University of Kent in Canterbury.

‘Then, in 2009, it won the Kent Archaeological Society’s £3,000 Hasted Prize for the best doctoral thesis on any aspect of the county’s archaeology or history.

‘I went on to carry out further research and develop the thesis into a full-length book, using most of the prize money to publish many of the 130 illustrations in colour.

‘The original purposes of church upper spaces represent an unsolved mystery for generations of antiquarians, archaeologists and architectural historians. My book presents the evidence for over 35 different practical functions these hidden areas could have had’.

Among the unusual upper storeys Toby has found in Kent are the so-called 'Indulgence Chamber' at Rochester Cathedral (which may have been used as a muniment room for storing official documents); the 'Old Bakery' chamber at Canterbury Cathedral (a former Romanesque upper chapel, converted into a room for the Shrine Wardens around 1400 and used as a craftsmen’s restoration workshop in the late 17th century); the so-called 'Watching Tower' at St Mary of Charity, Faversham, (used as a sexton's room in the early 16th century); and a blocked staircase to the lost upper chapel of St Blaise at Canterbury Cathedral (probably used for storing candles or documents).


CIMG9456 'Indulgence Chamber' at Rochester Cathedral'

The 'Indulgence Chamber' at Rochester Cathedral

CC 02 The 'Old Bakery' chamber at Canterbury Cathedral

View from the ‘Old Bakery’ chamber at Canterbury Cathedral


■‘Stairway to Heaven’ will be formally launched at the University of Kent this autumn (2014). It is published by Oxbow Books at £35 RRP and is available from, and other outlets. Signed copies can be ordered direct from Toby Huitson (email ) for £30 (cash payments, collection in person only).


Volunteering in Surrey

Volunteering opportunities in Surrey, with Hannah Potter, Community Archaeologist. 'Like' our Facebook page for up to date photos, information about archaeology in Surrey, and volunteering opportunities:

Find out more about heritage and archaeology in Surrey:


Young Archaeologists' Club

If you love archaeology and are aged up to 17 then YAC is for you!

YAC has some 65 local Branches which run fantastic hands-on archaeology activities for local members who sign up directly with those Branches. Visit to see if there's a Branch near you.

YAC UK is a magazine based subscription package aimed at children under the age of 17 who are interested in archaeology and all things historic. But YAC is changing: it's exploding online! You will still get the great content you've seen in the Young Archaeologist magazine but more regularly on our new website from Spring 2015.

Membership is now offered on a 6-month basis for £8.00 (individual).

For more information see the YAC website at   email YAC : or call YAC HQ on: 01904 671 417 or visit the CBA webshop to join: