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Archaeology and Early History
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The chronology of events and political alliances that happened in Kent in Saxon times is far from clear. The archaeological record cannot show when the balance of power passed from Romano-British hands to Frankish (Germanic) hands, though it does show that the material culture of much of Kent was predominantly Germanic by the sixth century

Although Kent’s major Roman town at Canterbury seems to have been abandoned during the fifth century (to be re-occupied at the end of the sixth century), there may have been greater continuity in rural settlements. The political organisation and infrastructure of the Germanic Kingdom of Kent may have grown out of the Romano-British organisation of Kent.

It is interesting that the Germanic settlers adopted the Romano-British name of the province (Cantium). The major Kentish estates and the regions or lathes into which they were grouped for administrative purposes may have been based on the earlier Romano-British system.

Historians think that the independent Kentish Kingdom originally comprised only the eastern half of Kent, but that at some time, probably in the sixth century, west Kent was annexed and incorporated into the Kingdom, though remaining a distinctive province in certain respects. Kent’s geographical position in relation to the Continent favoured its development as one of the most successful Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in the latter part of the sixth century.

Kent is unique amongst the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms in having had two bishoprics, based at Canterbury (serving east Kent) and Rochester (serving west Kent). Kent was separated into two political provinces with the River Medway as the dividing line. Each province had its own king for much of the Saxon period in which the independent Kingdom of Kent existed.



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