ROCKY CLUMP 2004 SEASON
Work continued at Rocky Clump, picking up where we left off the
previous season. A series of archaeological and geological features
were recorded and significant quantities of artefacts recovered,
coins and a 1st century Roman brooch. During September we were joined
by the Young Archaeologist Club; its good to be looking to the future
GEOPHYSICS AT GRAFFHA.M WEST SUSSEX
In October of 2003 the BHAS Field Unit were invited to conduct a
geophysical survey in the garden of a house at Graftham, West Sussex.
The house called 'Thraves' (see
drawing) was built in 1410 and is a typical 4 bayed
hail house. Dr Annabelle Hughes (medieval buildings specialist) has
recently visited the property and considers that the house is not
complete, and this is quite obvious when viewing the house from the
east, where it can be noted that the doorway and chimney are out of
symmetry. Dr Hughes suggested to the owner, Mr Peter Hawkins, that
BHAS conduct a resistivity survey to look for evidence for the
missing fourth bay in the adjacent garden.
When the team, led by David Staveley, arrived on site a small
excavation had been conducted in the garden by the Chichester group
and they had found evidence for robbed walls that would have been the
missing fourth bay. The excavation, which was still open, showed that
there was a large deposit of demolition material overlying the garden
in this area, and that it would be very unlikely for the geophysics
to produce significant results. However, the team conducted a small
survey in both the front and rear gardens producing some interesting
results in the garden adjacent to the house. The front garden
produced nothing of any relevance, due to the depth of overburden.
The results did however, indicate linear features that may be
associated with the medieval phase, but only excavation can provide
dating and confirmation.
The owner of the property took the team on a conducted tour of the
interior of the house, and many of the CCE students working with
David Martin were able to point out appropriate medieval building
features. A report on the geophysical survey has been passed to the
house owner and to the West Sussex Assistant County Archaeologist.
The reports on the field walking conducted at Varley Halls and the
Roman nail scraper found at Lancing Down were published in the Sussex
Archaeological Collections Volume 140.
FIELD WALKING AT PEACEHAVEN
In January and February of 2004 the BHAS Field Unit conducted a field
walking survey of lands at Lower Hoddem Farm, Peacehaven.(Ref TQ
416018). The field is divided into 3 sections, east, west and south.
An initial field walking of 10 lines in 2003 had found two Neolithic
rough out axes, and significant amounts of flint tools. The field
walking of 2004 completed a survey of all three fields with some very
interesting results. The field has been identified as the possible
location of a Neolithic flint tool manufacturing site, probably
utilising natural resources from the cliff faces along the coast
close to Newhaven. (Pers. Comm. O.Gilkes). A local lady, Mrs Schultz
had collected a number of Neolithic axes when she worked on the farm,
and allowed members of the Society to examine and photograph them,
however their exact find provenance is unknown. A number of
Mesolithic blades have also been found in a field close by, by local
historian Mr Tony Paine.
For field-walking the fields were divided into lines spaced 20 metres
apart, and each line was walked in 20 metre long transects. The
weather was predominantly fine and sunny with only a little drizzle
on the final day of walking in the south field.
Finds recovered were mainly of flint, both waste flakes and fire
cracked flint. However, a significant number of flint tools were also
recovered. The tools included scrapers, piercing tools, notched
pieces, a number of beautiful blades and blade fragments and a total
of 9 Neolithic axes. Other pieces included a possible early Neolithic
blade and sickle. The dot density diagrams are indicating possible
concentrations of material in a number of places across the east and
west fields. The south field contained countless pieces of fire
cracked flint, and considerable quantities were collected, counted
and weighed during the field walking project.
The fields at Lower Hoddern Farm are obviously the site of
considerable Neolithic activity. However, as the fields consist of a
very rich sandy loam and have been ploughed for some time it is
unlikely whether ancient features are preserved below the plough
soil. It is possible that alluvial activity in the shallow valley
bottom may have produced deep enough protection, and a survey of the
results may indicate the potential for some assessment excavation.
The fields are close to one of the proposed areas for the Brighton
sewage site, and a professional unit may be conducting excavations in
the field to the east of the one walked.
In the centre of the field was a small concentration of Roman
pottery, including the rim of a burnished vessel and the base of some
grey ware. The dozen sherds recovered from the field walking are too
small to suggest a significant Roman presence and further walking
around this localised centre may be necessary to produce other fmds.
The Roman material could possibly be a small local site, or may
indicate pottery being moved from other locations through manuring or
isolated soil dumping.
The fields of Lower Hoddem Farm have produced significant amounts of
Neolithic flintwork to justify further investigation. Once the
concentrations are analysed it is likely that BHAS may return to the
fields for geophysical surveying and some archaeological excavation.
FIELD WORK IN 2004
The Field Unit are planning a number of projects in 2004; excavations
will continue at Rocky Clump and we hope to receive permission to
conduct assessment 'digs' at both Ovingdean (to look for a dove-cote)
and at Millbank Wood, Stanmer (to look for a Tudor mill). Geophysical
studies are planned at a number of locations including Ovingdean and
Peacehaven. Once permission is received the Unit will begin the first
phase of a major project at Woodingdean, this will include
geophysics, field walking and possible excavation, the site is part
of the cemetery extension and the land has produced a number of
linear earthworks. Aerial photographs of the field to the south of
the cemetery have shown soil marks, these suggest some form of
activity in antiquity. The field walking project may be able to
produce some datable evidence for the features noted.