Barcombe Roman Villa
During June the BHAS Field Unit received a request from the Mid
Sussex Field Archaeological Team to assist them in their major
excavation of a Roman villa close to Barcombe church. The area under
excavation for this season is the northern section of an 'L' shaped
complex, both the remaining wing and possible bath house locations
will be the subject of further investigation in future seasons (see
The site is already providing evidence for several phases of
development with post holes indicating an early timber framed
structure. Despite the site being ravaged by metal detectorists over
the past few years, finds of coins and brooches have been made. Other
finds have included impressive pieces of decorated Samian ware, fine
wares, glass vessels and bone pins.
Several members of the Field Unit have attended the training courses
organised by University College, London. Clive Langan and Liza
Stewart, on one such course, found a coin of Constantine II during a
metal detecting training session, close to the location of one of the
bath-houses. BRAS will continue to assist with the excavation until
their season closes.
Rocky Clump Excavations
The season at Rocky Clump began in late May and produced evidence for
a new wall parallel to the one found at the end of the 2000 season.
The new wall is spaced 3 metres apart from, and to the east, of the
one found previously. The southern section of this new building
possesses a new section of flint cobbled flooring which has sunk into
the previously known ditch running north to south (see
The areas are being recorded prior to removing the upper contexts, to
enable investigation of the lower stratigraphy of the north/south
The excavation stopped when the team moved to Barcombe, but will
begin again in late August and continue until weather prevents
further work. The Young Archaeologists' Club will be joining the team
in September, for a training session on archaeological excavation.
Geophysics at New Place, Pulborough
A small number of the Unit conducted a geophysical survey in the
gardens and paddock to the south of New Place, Pulborough. The garden
wall of New Place contains some buttresses of considerable size,
suggesting that they may be features other than a garden wall.
The results of the survey do indeed suggest that the buttresses may
be the remaining vestiges of a building that was once attached to the
existing building, but only excavation can provide evidence for such
a structure. Other areas of high resistance also suggest the remains
of earlier structures on the east side of the existing building.
Geophysics at Beedings, near Nutbourne
The Field Unit conducted a geophysical survey of land close to
Beedings 'Castle', Nutbourne in July. Some time ago, during a small
excavation carried out by Con Ainsworth, a number of prehistoric
pottery and flint artefacts were found associated with a ditch in
this area; unfortunately the exact position of this ditch has since
been lost. As development is planned for this area the resistivity
survey was carried out to locate this feature in advance of building
The results of the survey provided little evidence for archaeological
features but suggested only geological anomalies. A watching brief is
being arranged to examine the ground after top soil removal. The
project was undertaken at the request of, and directed by, Caroline Wells.
Geophysics at Chichester
The Unit were asked by Chichester Archaeology Society to conduct a
resistivity survey at houses north of Chichester in an attempt to
locate a Roman road running north from the ancient town.
The survey was conducted in two gardens and whilst the results
provided sequences of extremely high readings, as would be expected
from a compacted stone feature, the lack of consistency in the
direction of the readings tends to suggest that they are not the
road. It is of course possible that the road has been 'robbed' of
some of the material, but only excavation can really confirm whether
the road does lie beneath the gardens. The results provided little
evidence of flanking drainage ditches although dowsing in the same
gardens seemed to suggest their presence.
A watching brief at Roedean Crescent provided a number of sherds of
Roman pottery as well as an even more impressive feature; a large
subterranean void was found to the north of the building under
renovation. This newly found feature measured 3 metres square and
consisted of a single room with a number of cupboards or store rooms;
leading off this room were three passages - to the north, the west
and east .
The passages to the west and east ended in a series of iron rungs
which led up to trap doors now sealed by concrete cappings. An air
filtration unit was still in place and has been photographed. Bill
Santer of the BHAS Field Unit and Ron Martin of the Industrial
Archaeology Group have been making further investigations. The
chamber may be associated with the Royal Navy when it was located at
Roedean School. Investigations will continue.
Saunders Hill, Coldean
A watching brief, conducted by Bill Santer, at a house in Saunders
Hill, Coldean, produced finds of flint work, Roman pottery and
fire-cracked flint. A note has been made and will be forwarded to the
Notes in Brief
The BHAS Field Unit assisted SEAS in their excavation at Angmering,
West Sussex. The site contained a number of large Iron Age pits,
Roman rectangular buildings and a beautifully preserved flint
constructed corn drying oven.
Unit members John Funnell, Liza Stewart and Gary Bishop went flying
around Sussex in early August taking aerial photographs of Rocky
Clump and Barcombe. Photographs were also taken of Ditchling Beacon,
Caburn, Devils Dyke, Cissbury and Chanctonbury. Liza Stewart was the
pilot of the aeroplane, her first time at the controls.
BHAS Field Unit
The autumn and winter months will be very active for the Unit, field
walking, geophysics and surveying are planned for this period. Other
pursuits will include finds processing, day schools and trips to
archaeological venues. Many of these projects will be announced at
We are sorry to announce the recent deaths of David Combes,
our Honorary Member, and Con Ainsworth.