ROCKY CLUMP 2006
Excavations at Rocky Clump, Stanmer continued to the latter part of
the year. The 2005 excavation in the Clump, north of the 'shrine
area' was expanded in 2006 with an additional line of grids to the
west of the original north/south excavation, exposing the previous
ditches which run south west from Rocky Clump's main ditch. A number
of stake holes were uncovered in this new area. The stake holes
formed part of an arc, which will require a further extension to the
site. The site extension will investigate the extent of the circle
and whether it denotes the location of some form of wind break or
simple structure. Excavations were carried out in the Clump area,
west of the 'Shrine', to locate any additional uncovered burials, but
none were found. In 2007 the field unit will investigate the remains
of a large mound noted by Herbert Toms in the earlier part of the
last century, which may be associated with the cemetery excavated by
Walter Gorton. The field to the south of the clump will be the
subject of a new geophysical survey focused on yet another prominent
mound. It is hoped that the new intensive survey will produce some
evidence for the Romano-British settlement site. Rocky Clump has
features indicating numerous rural activities, but as yet no
settlement has been revealed. Keith Edgar, who has been studying the
pottery, believes that the occupation at Rocky Clump was not
continuous, with only intermittent habitation.
Field walking at Woodingdean was conducted by the field unit during
2006. The field walking covered a large area of the field located
south of the cemetery, and this now completes the investigations into
Site 2 at the cemetery site. Field walking of Site Three which lies
along the western side of the Falmer road will be carried out by the
team during 2007. A number of other areas around this part of
Woodingdean will be the subject of further geophysical surveying.
Once again this important site has yielded a vast quantity of new
information and material. This season with our ranks swelled by the
members of the Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society we were able
to excavate some much larger areas than previously possible. The
hardworking team worked diligently, even in some very adverse weather
conditions, with the bailing out of trenches becoming the standard
beginning to a day's excavation!
This season four trenches were excavated across the Roman road,
uncovering a well preserved flint metalled surface, both roadside
ditches and what appears to be the Roman surveyors 'marking-out'
trench. Good dating material was recovered from the ditches,
suggesting that the road was constructed in the late 1st or early 2nd
century AD, in the past the road has been assumed to be contemporary
with the construction of the Roman fortress at Pevensey in the late
3rd century. Evidence was recorded of possible patching/repairing of
the road surface as well as an unusual hollow across the road that
may represent a shallow ford.
Previous season's excavation on the site, as well as the large
quantity of typically domestic artifacts has suggested settlement
alongside the road. This year we were able to confirm this, with
three trenches adjacent to the road recording evidence of timber
structures and boundary ditches. Large areas of apparent burning in
one area, including burnt post stumps, suggest that at least one of
the structures burnt down in the mid to late 2nd century.
A vast quantity of Roman material, mainly comprising of pottery
sherds has been recovered this year. The pottery assemblage is
unusual as it contains a large percentage of high quality imported
table ware, including Samian and Eastern Gaulish wares, as well as
the more typical 'local' wares. This, as well as residual quantities
of ceramic building material, including box flue tiles, suggests a
high status building in the immediate vicinity, could this be a
wayside inn? Evidence in the form of large quantities of iron working
waste and kiln lining, also shows industrial activities were carried
out on the site. Possibly this industrial activity was the cause of
A picture is therefore emerging of an important Romano British
settlement at the point where the Pevensey to Lewes Roman road
crossed the River Cuckmere.
Unfortunately most of this settlement is likely to have been
destroyed by the construction of Arlington reservoir, so we will
probably never know its true size and importance.
Pottery concentrations recorded in the early 20th century and
excavations near Berwick in the I960s suggest it was a large
settlement, possibly on a scale equal to that recently excavated at
Ashford, which has been described as a small town. The Arlington
settlement clearly had wealthy inhabitants, who were able to
encourage incoming trade from Europe and were presumably exporting
material and produce from this area of East Sussex.
Further work is hoped to add to our understanding of this very
important site, with other areas in Arlington and Berwick being
targeted to see if more of the settlement survives, as well as
further geophysical survey and excavation on the current site.
PLANNING AND WATCHING BRIEFS
The Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society have been policing and
studying planning applications for a number of years. The city
planners and the County Archaeologist have extremely busy schedules
and it is not unknown for developments to have occurred that have
impinged on archaeologically sensitive areas. The Society regularly
examines the planning applications to ensure that areas of
archaeological interest, which may be affected by building
construction, are brought to the attention of the planning officers.
Brighton and Hove City planners have a very positive approach to
archaeology and history and are anxious to conserve and preserve
where possible, or if not, record, any site of interest. The Society
regularly meet with the council planners, the County Archaeologist,
Greg Chuter and Dr Matt Pope. The objective of these meetings is to
ensure that this process of archaeological protection is being
pursued and to make planners aware that the Society is also being
vigilant with regard to all planning applications. The various
planning bodies have supported the Society and have actively
encouraged and congratulated the Society in their endeavours.
The Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society have a very active
watching brief team. Members of the Society, normally Bill Santer,
Steve and Eva Corbett are frequently called upon to visit small scale
developments in archaeologically sensitive areas. The team watch the
builders and record any features or artefacts that they find. It is
an important function of the Society as professional archaeologists
are often too busy to examine small excavations. The success of the
team can be noted at East Brighton Golf Club and Stafford Road where
small scale developments have produced finds of Bronze Age and Saxon burials.
If there are other members of the Society willing to give of their
time and join our intrepid group, please can they make themselves known.