Founded 1906

Archaeology Report Spring 2005


Home Page


About Us

Archaeology Reports

Contact Us



Field Unit


Lecture Programme

Picture Gallery




Truleigh Hill

Throughout January we have been undertaking a geophysical survey of an area of lynchets up on the Downs on the southern slope of Truleigh Hill (TQ23 10009600). The site consists of a series of lynchets forming a prehistoric field system, with a later enclosure, possibly of Roman date. The area is thought to be the site of a probable Iron Age/Romano British peasant settlement, most likely a small farmstead. Pottery and burnt flint were found in the area by E. C. Curwen, c.1930 and mentioned in his book 'Prehistoric Sussex'.

The main aim of the survey was to look for any signs of human activity and possible settlement. The geophysical survey was concentrated on the enclosure. The first part of the survey was to look at the enclosure bank, concentrating on the western side, which runs south and clearly overlaps earlier lynchets and possible terraces.

The point of this was to look to see if an entry point into the enclosure could be seen in this area, and also to see if a ditch could be found either on the inside or outside of the enclosure. This would help point to its use, and also to see if any form of construction was built on the top. The second area of geophysics concentrated within the enclosure looking at earthworks that are still visible within it, to identify if they are parts of the earlier fields or to do with settlement activity. Based on the results from the interior of the enclosure more geophysics maybe done to extend features that may appear in the results. (see Fig 1 and Fig 2).

Platforms, were identified by John Funnell, just north of the enclosure which he thinks are similar to the Bronze Age round house platforms found at Downsview, near Coldean Lane, during the Brighton bypass excavations.


Woodiugdean Project

The project at Woodingdean Cemetery will restart as soon as possible in 2005, all depends on the weather (we don't want to bend our trowels too early in the digging season). The trench which contains the two post holes will need to be expanded to investigate the possibility of additional/ associated post holes which could indicate a possible structure. The excavation of the 19th century compacted trackway and associated earthen bank, will continue for a further couple of weekends to confirm that the bank is natural landscape while an additional two trenches will need to be placed to the east of the cemetery ground to identify two other areas of ground which the geophysical survey highlighted. Geophysics will need to be conducted on the landscape to the west of the cemetery site, the Sites and Monuments Record for the field records a Tumuli at the top end of the field although this now appears to have disappeared. Geophysics and field walking will also need to be carried out on the large ploughed field to the south.

So plenty of archaeological activity for the Field Unit and geophysics team.


Rocky Clump 2004

The excavations at Rocky Clump continue to produce all sorts of evidence for the people that lived at Rocky Clump in the 1st to the 4th centuries A.D. The excavations in 2004 concentrated on the large ditch that cuts across the field from south to north. The upper layer of the ditch is a dark, soft silty fill and has produced numerous pieces of animal bone. The "bones' team have been examining the bones from the ditch and have found that it is predominantly cattle bone, although there is also a large preponderance of sheep, pig, horse, deer and some small mammal bones. One interesting find is the remains of rabbit, in well stratified deposits. It was previously considered that rabbit came over with the Norman conquerors, but more and more Roman sites are producing rabbit bones, which means that there must be a re-think.

This year we have recovered a number of coins from the ditch fills and the new areas being opened up. One coin was of the Roman Republic and is a very early coin 50 BC which may show that Rocky Clump has even earlier origins in the first millennium. Another coin was of the Empress Lucilla who was married to the Emperor Varus, she was later implicated in a plot against the Emperor Commodus, who exiled and later killed her. We are hoping to make this coin the emblem for our 2005 tee-shirt. Other finds have included a spectacular brooch from a large pit on the east side of the site.

One of the BHAS team is examining the pottery and has already pieced together almost a complete pot from one of the pits, it is quite a large vessel. Another pit, the one that contained the lovely brooch, has produced a large pot that has a 'raised' eyebrow decoration, which indicates a possible Iron Age date for this particular feature.

As the ditch progresses northwards it is expanding onto a wide terrace, and into this terrace have been cut a number of very large pits. These pits have not yet been excavated and will be part of the 2005 work. The BHAS will also be opening an area to study the deposition of the bones in the large ditch to determine whether they are random or specifically placed as ritual deposits.

In 2004 Rocky Clump was visited by the Young Archaeologist Club (Y.A.C.) which gave young archaeologists the opportunity to work with real 'diggers' and they all thoroughly enjoyed the experience and cannot wait to return. Rocky Clump has also played host to students from the Brighton and Hove 6th Form College and an evening class group from Heathfield.

The north field is now gradually being back-filled, and the future investigations are unlikely to have such a large area uncovered at any one time. The excavations at Rocky Clump continue to produce important evidence for the way of life of the people of Stanmer in Roman times. It is hoped that upon the conclusion of the excavations, our image of the Roman way of life will be greatly enhanced.