The excavations at Rocky Clump continued up until Christmas. A hardy
section of the Field Unit examined a new area of archaeological
features. An extension to the north/south ditch was anticipated, but
the removal of top soil revealed a large area of dark fill to the
north of the previously excavated site.
A geophysical survey in 1998 had provided interpretations of linear
features suggesting a new building with an area of high resistance
suggesting a possible floor. The new section of dark fill contains a
considerable quantity of large flint nodules but not enough to
classify it as a floor layer. The majority of the fill is a soft
silty substance producing finds of pottery, bone, shell and a third
century Roman coin. One of the important features revealed is a
possible wall footing of packed flint nodules, however, the wall runs
in the opposite direction to the linear features shown on the geophysics.
Among the finds from the top soil contexts have been a coin of Henry
VIII in mint condition, and a Roman cuneiform brooch, one of only
five of similar design, from Britain. (New
Find) The new season will extend the existing trench
to the north, 'chasing' the wall feature and uncovering more of the
Field Walking at Old Boat Corner
The fields to the south of Old Boat Corner are part of the continuing
research programme of the North Brighton Research Project. The field
to the east of the Ditchling Road and south of the dew pond was the
first area under investigation.
Finds from the field were predominantly of flint artefacts including
flakes, some tools and fire-cracked flint. The tools included a
number of scrapers and a notched piece. A few sherds of pottery were
recovered of mainly Roman wares, with a single piece of prehistoric
material representing earlier periods. The field has a number of
lynchet features visible suggesting ancient usage, but the finds
collected were few in number compared to the size of the area investigated.
The dot density diagrams are being created to try and identify
concentrations. The field is located on the side of the valley at
Coldean, close to the Downsview Bronze Age site and above the known
Romano-British settlement of Coldean. A second field was partially
investigated, but bad weather and the sowing of crops prevented the
project being completed, the field will be walked at a future date.
Surveying in Stanmer Woods
A number of surveying trips have been made to Stanmer over the winter
months to examine and relocate archaeological features and find new
sites. Millbank Wood possesses a flint cobbled trackway (pers comm.
J.Driver, retired local woodsman), possibly the road to a mill known
to have occupied a site in Millbank Wood. The trackway is covered by
moss but is still a distinct feature running down the hill towards Falmer.
A number of linear features and a very disturbed area of circular
features in the south east corner of Stanmer Great Wood will warrant
further investigation. A linear earthworks lies close to the cross
ridge dyke in Stanmer Great Wood, but on an east/west alignment, the
feature has a ditch on the north side and a partial ditch on the west
with a depression at the west end. Future field activities will
include surveying of these features.
Field Note Book 2000
The annual field note book of the BHAS Field Unit is almost complete.
The document gives details of all the activities of the unit
including geophysics, excavations, surveying, fieldwalking and
The publication is limited due to the costs of publication, but
copies can be found in Brighton Reference Library, Barbican House
Library, Lewes, the East Sussex County Archaeologist and the County
Records Office, Lewes. Included in this year's note book is a section
composed of tales and finds from Stanmer and Falmer, with details of
memories of older inhabitants of the villages.
The Society has made a number of important purchases over the past
few years including the resistivity meter. A number of people have
asked for an explanation into the working of the machine and exactly
what it produces.
The machine is comprised of 2 units, one is a fixed probe that is
secured into the ground, the other is a mobile probe mounted on a
frame, (the machine is often seen in Time Team). The equipment
measures the level of resistance between the fixed point and the
mobile unit by a series of readings. Areas such as ditches, pits and
post holes are water retentive and as such allow the resistance to
flow more easily, producing low readings. Walls and solid features,
such as floors, are of hard materials and will produce high readings.
The new resistivity meter has a data logging device to collect these
readings, with up to 3600 readings a possibility before downloading
the information onto a computer. The readings produce a visual image
of what lies under the ground without actually touching anything (a
survey of features at Ovingdean) The
results can be impressive and the results from the survey at
Barcombe produced a detailed plan of the villa complex. It is not an
exact science and geology can affect the results and produce similar
anomalies to archaeological features (Ref Time Team Sunday 25th
February where a wall feature turned out to be a natural gravel layer).