Romney Marsh is a remarkably young part of the English coast. At the end of the last ice age, sea levels were over 100 metres lower than present and one could walk from Rye across the exposed floor of the English Channel to France. As the climate warmed and sea levels rose, so the Channel was flooded and the sediments that make up the marshland accumulated. To look into any of the many hundreds of drainage ditches criss-crossing the marsh is to catch a glimpse of an early history dominated by changes in sea level. To look up is to see a landscape that, over the last 4,000 years, has been moulded by many phases of human settlement and activity. This varied history is recorded in the sediments and landforms of the marsh, in its archaeology, and in a wealth of documentary evidence providing fascinating insights into the lives of people working and living on the Marsh since the Roman period.
The Romney Marsh Research Trust was formed in 1987 to study the history, archaeology and landscape history (or ‘geomorphology’) of Romney Marsh following the establishment of the Romney Marsh Research Group in 1985. Romney Marsh, one of the largest areas of coastal marshland in the UK, has a fascinating many-sided history starting at the end of the last ice age. Membership of the Friends of the Trust was dominated by members of the public and included local historians and archaeologists, as well as a diverse group of specialists from universities throughout the UK. The principal aim was to make the work of the Trust as widely available as possible. From its inception, we hosted events to publicise our research, to which all members were invited, including field demonstrations, lectures and walks. Research has also been also published in journals and the Trust’s own publications.
In 2012 the Trustees took the reluctant decision to wind down the activities of the Trust but decided to make as much of the research as possible available to the public and so the original website has been adapted to do this.
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