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Abstract

The late third century Roman fort at Lympne in Kent, one of a series known as the Saxon Shore forts, is one of the earliest substantial stone-built fortifications in SE England. It was sited on the lower slopes of an escarpment, the remnant of a former coastal slope, eroded principally into Early Cretaceous clays capped with sandy limestones. At this location, the escarpment rises to c. 100 m above sea-level. Several episodes of landslip damage during the 17 centuries since its construction can be distinguished, based on evidence of various kinds: notably, the reconstruction of its original layout; the results of both geotechnical and archaeological site investigations; historical evidence; and analogy with sites and experience in adjacent lengths of the escarpment. The landslip damage manifests itself through the toppling and displacement of the curtain wall and projecting towers or bastions of the fort. The specific engineering geological interest arising from discoveries on site is the attribution of the damage to a small number of episodes of major movement rather than to creep; the magnitude of the movements associated with each episode; and the evidence as to their nature and date.

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