3.2 The Antiquities of Richborough, Reculver and Lymne in Kent (1850) & excavations at Pevensey (1858)

Smith was involved with high-profile excavations at well-known Roman sites; his interest in the remains at Richborough and Reculver developed at an early stage in his archaeological career (Smith 1883, 1). The excavations of the Roman forts at Lymne and Pevensey (1850–52), which he conducted with Mark Anthony Lower (Smith 1883, 213) and James Elliott (Smith 1883, 205), were the first excavations in Britain to be funded through public subscription and were published promptly; he had unsuccessfully applied to the Government for a grant to support the excavations (Smith 1852b, vi; 1886, vi; see Thornton 2013, 12–13 on subscription funding in this period). The excavations at Pevensey were funded by subscribers from across the country (Table 1), and attracted considerable popular interest. Smith was presented with a free pass from the London and South East Railway Company to facilitate his research, since they recognised that the 'excavations attracted hundreds weekly; and that it was to their interest to encourage them' (Smith 1858, ii). This is an excellent example of the growth of archaeological tourism in this period, and the publicity gained was undoubtedly of huge benefit to Smith's campaigns and projects.


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