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
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.
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
or John Funnell at email@example.com
for more details
If you are interested in any of these projects contact John Funnell
or call 0844 5888 277 (Evenings)