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Archaeology Report Spring 2007


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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 the fire.

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.


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.