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Exciting discoveries unearthed during Dover Western Docks Revival

30 November 2017

Fossilised mammoth tusk (Image credit: Archaeology South-East)

Archaeology South-East (ASE) have helped unearth a fossilised mammoth tooth found during the excavation of the Wellington Navigation Channel as part of the Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) project.

The Dover Western Docks Revival (DWDR) is a one-off opportunity for the regeneration of Dover, bringing new investment into the area. Archaeology South-East (ASE) is responsible for managing the archaeological excavation at the DWDR construction site.

It's not clear how old the tooth is, but the last mammoths are believed to have walked Britain over 14,000 years ago.

According to Kristina Krawiec (ASE):

  • This mammoth find is one of a range of similar finds from the region. It will be subjected to scientific analysis as part of the ongoing archaeological works at the site.”

Archaeology South-East (ASE) has overseen the excavation along the Wellington Navigation Channel which began in March. The first discovery included basements of the Victorian houses that once occupied the promenade which were built c.1830 and demolished c.1945 following WWII, during which they suffered severe shelling.

Dover Western Docks Revival project (Image: Archaeology South-East)

Further discoveries included the remains of the foundations of ‘The Pent’ proposed and overseen by Thomas Digges, under the approval of Elizabeth I (c.1570). This was the first successful endeavour, following many previously failed attempts, at making use of a natural shingle bar that often blocked the entrance of ships into Dover.

At a much lower level below the shingle, a small wooden ‘fence’ was uncovered. This consisted of very delicate upright timbers with a woven wattle component. While the purpose the structure is not clear, it could have been associated with fishing, an early attempt at a sea defence or an attempt to control the shingle bar.

Approximately 250 timbers were also uncovered on the beach side of the Wellington Navigation Channel which would have formed a seawall and the timbers acted as fenders for the ships to moor alongside. This structure has been recorded using laser scanning, and will be removed and stored for analysis prior to re-incorporation into the development.

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