Archaeology

A famous feature of Blue Bell Hill is the eastern group of the prehistoric tombs called the Medway megaliths (sometimes termed the Kentish Megaliths) including Kit’s Coty House and Countless Stones.

Kit’s Coty chamber tomb on the lower slopes of Blue Bell Hill (1)

Kit’s Coty (Kent’s ‘little Stonehenge’) chamber tomb is a 5000 year old Neolithic chambered long barrow which forms part of the Medway megaliths. The megaliths were constructed from local sarsen stone (very hard, large crystalline sandstone rocks) and soil between the 4th and 3rd millennia BCE.  Stones like these reached the valleys when chalk and soil were washed from the Downs during the last Ice Age.  The name Sarsen derives from the word Saracen, meaning a ‘dark stranger’. It stands, surrounded by iron railings, on a steep ‘hillside, to one side of, though not visible from, the Blue Bell Hill road between Maidstone and Chatham. The three great upright stones capped by an equally massive table stone are all that remain of a 200 foot long burial chamber that was still recognisable 200 years ago, before soil erosion bared it to today’s visitors.
Lower down the same hillside are the remains of another chamber, Little Kits Coty.

The Blue Bell Hill Dolmen is a now lost member of the group of Neolithic chamber tombs in Kent. It is thought to have been one of the Medway Megaliths. Its precise location is unclear but it stood on Blue Bell Hill to the north of Kit’s Coty House. Only fragments of antiquarians‘ records now remain. It was possibly investigated in 1844 and was still existant in the early twentieth century. A sketch in Maidstone Museum indicates that three sarsen standing stones survived to heights of 7 feet forming the walls of the burial chamber. A stone that may have formed the capstone lay between them. The tomb was found to have contained the skeleton of a man and fragments of red pottery were found although none of these has since survived. A kerb of smaller stones surrounded the larger ones and beneath the standing stones was a large circular pit dug into the natural chalk and filled with many flints. Local people told the investigating antiquarians that many such pits had been found on the hill and that the flints were used as a source of stone to metal new roads. From these fragments it is thought that one, or possibly more, chamber tombs stood on Blue Bell Hill in addition to the surviving Medway Megaliths.[2]

References

1. Panoramic view from the hill Archived December 10, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
2. Source:Kent Sites and Monuments Record TQ 76 SW 22

Medway Megaliths

High Speed 1 Tunnel

The High Speed 1 tunnel portal under the North Downs at Blue Bell Hill

Highest point
Elevation 160 m (520 ft)
Prominence c. 30 m
Geography
Location North DownsEngland
OS grid TQ740625
Topo map OS Landranger 188

Sources: Wikipedia.org

The A229 dual carriageway follows the route of a former Roman road and climbs Blue Bell Hill, linking the M2 and M20 motorways. High Speed 1 also runs beneath Blue Bell Hill, via the North Downs Tunnel, and archaeological work in advance of it uncovered a Neolithic long house on its slopes.