|Roman Britain 43AD-450AD|
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Records and Archive
Dr. Arthur Rowe
Villa - Margate
The earliest Roman building to be scientifcally explored was the building now known as Tivoli Villa, found in the former ornamental Tivoli gardens near Margate. The building was located on the western side of long valley running from the chalk plateau in the centre of the island to the coast at Margate Bay.
This building was explored in 1924 by Dr. Arthur Rowe, one of Thanet's pioneers in scientific archaeology. A careful reading of his notes reveals that the building was a successor to a very dense settlement of mid to late Iron Age date. This was an important community where among other activities pottery production took place.
|Excavations near the site in 2001 and 2003 showed that a hollow way with a deep boundary ditch led up the western side of the valley toward Hartsdown and in Roman times this may have been a major road. Other trackways and possible ancient roads are known in the area.|
Many of the finds from Rowe's excavations have been dispersed and no plan remains of the building. Some of the Iron Age and Roman finds are still held by Margate Museum, the British Museum and the Trust for Thanet Archaeology.
Even the precise location of the building is not clear but it is believed to be close to the Tennis courts that were built over the valley, filled in when the railway to Margate was built.
Although Rowe left some notes and a lengthy description of the excavations in a local newspaper report, these are far from adequate to understand the size and function of the Tivoli Villa.
|A single photograph is known of the excavations and this shows wall foundations of large flint nodules, apparently forming a number of rooms.|
The Isle of Thanet Archaeological Society are currently reviewing the Tivoli Villa archives and carrying out some field work to explore the building further. This important part of Thanet's past deserves to be better known and better understood.
Version 1 - 13.03.07
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