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This section contains the latest news from the Field Unit, as and when it occurs. New sections are added as and when to show the progress the Field Unit are making during the year.

* Original Information 15th March 2017

* Added 22nd May 2017

 

BHAS Post Excavation 2016/2017

There have been a number of finds processing days over the winter period. The pottery and flintwork has all been washed leaving only the bone to be completed. The finds were sorted into catagories and after washing were marked and catalogued. There is and interesting collection of pottery with a number of different rims styles, but the fabrics are quite limited. Other finds including marine shells and metal work will be inspected and recorded in a post ex. Day at Patcham Community Centre on March 11th


Winter Walks

There have been a number of winter walks to places of archaeological interest. The walks included visits to the hill fort at Caburn. A wander around the archaeological sites of Stanmer visited the Bronze Age sites at Pudding Bag Wood and Stanmer Great Wood, the Roman site at Rocky Clump and the medieval site at Patchway. A visit was also made to a number of locations around Ovingdean, where BHAS have been digging, field walking and conducting geophysics for over a decade. Planned visits to Wolstenbury Hill and Alciston had to be cancelled due to bad weather. These walks will be rescheduled for the summer.

 

BHAS Field Work

The BHAS field unit have been very busy during the winter months. In December the team, led by Pete Tolhurst, visited Rottingdean Grange and conducted a resistivity survey of the gardens to the west of the house. Rottingdean is considered to have numerous underground tunnels linked to 18th century smuggling activities. Sadly the survey failed to reveal any such features at the Grange.

The team also visited a farm at Burwash in November, where a farmer had observed a peculiar circular feature in one of his fields. The field around the farm has produced numerous finds of coins and bottles and other artefacts. The team conducted a small survey around a very visible feature but sadly failed to find any anomalies which could indicate archaeological features. It is possible that it is a fungal 'fairy' ring. The farmer is keen for the team to return and conduct some small scale excavations.

BHAS have been asked to conduct some surveying and geophysics at the site of Old Erringham Farm. The fields around the farm are full of earthworks and Heritage England has asked BHAS to conduct some investigations. This is being planned for the spring of 2017.

In February the team conducted some field walking on a small field immediately north of Hog Croft field, Ovingdean, where the Society is conducting its excavation. The weather was particularly wet and the going heavy, but a good number of finds were produced. Among the finds were medieval pottery, marine shells, flintwork, some whetstones and a nice, but broken, Neolithic rough out axe. The finds are being washed and will be studied soon.


 

Watching Brief

Members of the BHAS Field Unit conducted a watching brief while a large trench was being dug in Palace Place, close to the Royal Pavilion. The trench revealed a number of arches and walls probably dated to the Regency and Victorian periods. There were quite a lot of features in one small area. The only find were a spoon and some glazed ceramics which have been dated to about 1820.

 

Excavations at Hog Croft Field, Ovingdean 2017

A new season of excavations is planned to commence at Ovingdean in April. The long term weather forest is being studied as an early start to the digging last season coincided with a period of extremely wet and cold weather. The start of the 2017 digging may be pushed out till a little later if similar weather is on the horizon.

 
The Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society field unit returned to Hog croft field on April 8th. The tarpaulins were removed and work commenced in a number of areas. The south east trench has produced an area of flint nodules and tile which could be viewed as a possible floor surface. The layer above the flint surface has produced numerous finds of medieval pottery, fire-cracked flint, oyster shells and bone fragments. It is possible that this is the location of the manor kitchen. There are no associated post holes so it can only be assumed that it was timber beam building construction.

The north east trench has also produced finds of fire-cracked flint and bone, including a complete cow leg bone and half a cow jaw bone. starting to appear are large flint nodules which may hopefully confirm that the 'kitchen' also continues in this direction. The same area should reveal a ditch running north/south which has produced Saxon pottery in the past. The direction of the ditch is close to the west side of the kitchen and could prove to be some form of drainage feature.

Th north trench contains the north boundary ditch running east/west and the lead down into this wide feature is becoming larger as the ditch is revealed further east.

The well has been uncovered and the winter covering has proved successful, with very little frost damage to this incredible feature. The north wall of the well has been cleaned back and has found to be constructed of a collection of very large chalk blocks. The blocks are very crudely made. The well section itself has been cleaned and the various sections now drawn. It has an upper feature consisting of large mortared chunks with a solid mortar base below. Under this layer the fill consists mainly of large flint nodules and a clay loam. The central area is surrounded by a chalky loam fill, and there are suggestions that there may have been some shuttering.

The well is now being excavated down to the legal depth before shuttering is required. The north end chalk block wall has been partially excavated and is located within a shallow pit with the chalk blocks constructed inside. It is possible that this is a feature from the well construction. It was hoped to find a post hole indicating that it could have been part of a Saxon grubenhause, but sadly no post holes was found.

New areas are being opened with the removal of the various baulks, now that they have bee drawn ad recorded. A number of important features lie beneath the various baulks including a gully terminus and a large pit which could be for charcoal burning. The new areas may also reveal more post holes which could comfirm the shape and size of Saxon building known to be hidden below the later medieval layers.

 

 

The BHAS field unit is open to anyone with an interest in archaeology, no previous experience is required, all training will be given. For further details apply to the membership section or contact either John Skelon at archsec@brightonarch.org.uk or John Funnell at co-ordinator@brightonarch.org.uk for more details




If you are interested in any of these projects contact John Funnell at co-ordinator@brightonarch.org.uk or call 0844 5888 277 (Evenings)

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