Bronze Age (c.2300BC – c.600BC)
The Early Bronze Age is characterised by the introduction of metals, firstly gold and copper and later bronze. The earliest metals are generally associated with a new type of pottery, Beaker Ware, as well as the construction of a new type of ceremonial site, the round barrow. These monuments heralded a new way of thinking about society as they represented the burial of individuals rather than the communal burials (in long barrows) of the Neolithic. The Middle and Late Bronze Age saw a decline in the construction of ritual monuments, and the emergence of a more intensive use of the landscape for agriculture. Environmental evidence suggests that woodland clearance on the better soils had reduced tree cover to a level similar to that of the present day. The bulk of the known Late Bronze Age settlement in Kent is concentrated around the coastal fringe and in river valleys, with communities established on both sides of the estuary exploiting the resources of an important zone of exchange and contact.
Source: R.S.P.B/Archaeology South-East
In the summer of 1978 pottery and flintwork were noticed in the sections to the south of Cliffe Village during the laying of a pipeline by British Gas. This led to the excavation of a series of small trial trenches by Mr David Thomson with the help of local volunteers in the same year. The retrieval of a Beaker and Collared Urn suggested an early Bronze Age site, and excavations by Dr Ian Kinnes for the British Museum were done in September 1979. Although the excavated features contained mainly Iron Age pottery and metalwork, both seasons' work also produced a large quantity of flint artefacts ranging from Mesolithic to Bronze Age in date.
The vessels were found upright above a possible old surface and apparently within dune sand. The Beaker overlay the bracer and arrowhead while the collared urn was found 2.5m away. It is thought that these must have been associated with inhumation burials that have not left any recognisable surviving trace due to leaching and the highly acidic soil. No cut features or traces of mounds were found.