The Lower Thames basin
DOI link for The Lower Thames basin
The Lower Thames basin book
The triangle of land fringed by the Chilterns and the North Downs and dominated by the estuary and lower valley of the river Thames has produced comparatively little good evidence of settlement apart from a number of casual observations and the results of limited excavation. But the few large-scale excavations that are available for assessment are of considerable interest and show the potential richness of the record. At Little Waltham, Essex, a straggling settlement of circular houses, extending for 200 m along the terrace ﬂanking the ﬂood plain of the river Chelmer, is hardly likely to represent less than a hamlet or small village of the Early-Middle Iron Age (Figure 12.17). This is in marked contrast to the strongly defended homestead of Late Iron Age date found at Orsett, commanding the lower reaches of the Thames (Figure 12.17), or the small farm at Farningham Hill in the Darenth valley in Kent, 12 km upstream from the Thames, where a modest house, together with a few storage pits, was set within a comparatively slight ditched enclosure. These three examples, together with a few other large-scale excavations (e.g. Gun Hill and Mucking), suggest that the settlement types of the Thames basin conform to the general range found elsewhere in the south-east but are yet too few to warrant a more detailed regional assessment.