The Sussex School of Archaeology and History
Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Hearts and Histories of the Downs:
The Changing Chalk project 1 year in
Kathryn Buckland MA
Gary Webster BA
Katherine will begin this two-part talk by telling us about the 2022 season of excavations at Butts Brow and the launch of the Big Dig project. These investigations have given us an interesting insight into life in Eastbourne 5000 years ago, as well as prompting a lot more questions! Gary will then provide an update on aspects of the Changing Chalk Partnership and the newly mapped archaeology of the downland North of Brighton.
Katherine Buckland MA
Katherine is the Heritage Engagement Officer for Lewes District and Eastbourne Borough Councils and has worked within the Heritage team for just over 10 years. She loves discovering the stories of ordinary people in and around Eastbourne throughout its long and sometimes unexpected history and most importantly sharing those stories as widely as we can.
Gary Webster BA
Gary has a background in Commercial Archaeology, working predominantly with Archaeology South-East, across a variety of sites in the region. He joined Eastbourne and Lewes Councils, advising on Planning Policy, before joining the National Trust on the Changing Chalk Project in April 2022. He is interested in practical technology within archaeology, as well as ideas to broaden public engagement.
Dr Jaime Kaminski FSA, FRGS, FHEA
Jaime is the editor of the Sussex Archaeological Collections, the annual journal of the Sussex Archaeological Society. His academic research strongly focuses on the archaeology and history of Sussex. He also has a deep interest in the production and deposition of Bronze Age metalwork. Jaime is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS), a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) and a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries of London (FSA).
in the Near Lewes Hoard
Dr Jaime Kaminski
The Near Lewes Hoard is one of the most spectacular finds to come from Sussex in recent decades. The hoard was discovered by a metal detectorist in 2011 and acquired by the Sussex Archaeological Society in 2014. Dating to the Middle Bronze Age, it is notable for the size of the assemblage, the quality of the artefacts and the combination of local, regional and international objects found within it. This presentation will give a brief overview of recent research on the assemblage and will emphasise the artefacts with a strong local focus on the Sussex region. The presentation will look at the form and function of the artefacts and highlight the skill of the Bronze Age craftspeople.
The Near Lewes Hoard
A comparison of the early animal
food-based remains of Fishbourne Roman Palace to the later villas of Hampshire and Sussex
Rebecca Henry-Stumpe BA
Fishbourne Roman Palace is an exceptional site with many questions still to be answered. The many signs of wealth and early date of the Palace make it unique to Roman Britain. Thus, in the case of the animal remains it is not just the variety of animals involved, but also the quantities of certain species that make it stand out from other sites. The Palace provides an image of what the very wealthy could and did access, perhaps uniquely so outside Italy itself. The Fishbourne Flavian Palace is thus the focus of this research due to it being such an unusual site in Britain. The villa sites studied, such as Bignor, have been chosen in order to compare with Fishbourne, providing a good contrast between the hyperwealthy Roman elite and the wealthy up-and-coming. This specific topic of research has not yet been investigated and therefore, was considered necessary for further understanding of animal remains.
Rebecca Henry-Stumpe BA
Rebecca recently graduated from Bournemouth University with a BA in Archaeology. She is currently working for MOLA as a field archaeologist.
David Millum MA MICfA & Rob Wallace MA PICfA
Rob and David have been investigating the Bridge Farm site since it was discovered in 2011, having previously worked on the Culver Roman road and Barcombe villa/bathhouse sites. Rob is the founding director of the Culver Archaeological Project which runs the current excavations and an undergraduate field training course every summer (see www.culverproject.co.uk). They both gained MAs in Field Archaeology at the Centre for Continuing Education at the University of Sussex where they briefly became Associate Tutors before the department was sadly closed. They have had several papers published in the Sussex Archaeological Collections and David provided a chapter for the Archaeology of the Ouse Valley, Sussex to AD 1500. They have both made previous appearances at symposia and other conferences as well as giving regular presentations to local societies.
Bridge Farm Excavations 2018-22: Trench 7, a puzzling plethora of pits, postholes and pottery
David Millum MA
Rob Wallace MA
The current excavations in the centre of this Roman-period settlement in the Ouse Valley is peppered with large pits, many filled with burnt and/or highly baked material. Whilst rows of substantial postholes have been uncovered none as yet have shown a definable structure. The project's finds department have been busy with the wide range of artefacts including over 58,000 sherds of pottery with a high content of fine wares. It all adds to the intrigue of this exceptional site.
Ground penetrating radar on Roman to post-medieval Chichester
While most of Chichester has been built on since its occupation in the Roman period, there are spaces that remain open and suitable for geophysical exploration using ground penetrating radar. This talk outlines the Roman, medieval and post-medieval discoveries made using ground penetrating radar within the city, plus a look at Chichester's position in the wider Roman landscape.
David is a computer programmer by profession and in his spare time is an archaeological geophysicist, whose main research interest is the study of Roman roads and roadside settlements in Sussex.
Rich is a current PhD student at Canterbury Christ Church University, his research focuses on the reuse and recycling of the Roman past in Early Anglo-Saxon Kentish settlement contexts. This research aims to understand the ways in which Roman material became incorporated and used in daily lives of early Anglo-Saxon communities, and how this formed part of the expression of highly localised community identities.
Rich previously completed a BA at Canterbury Christ Church University and an MA at Cardiff University, and he is now working towards completing his PhD and is engaged in training to become a Small Finds specialist at Canterbury Archaeological Trust, while also spending the summers supervising at Bridge Farm.
Roman Sussex in the Post-Roman world:
A preliminary examination of Reuse and Recycling in early medieval Sussex
Richard Best MA
The occurrence of Roman material on early Anglo-Saxon sites and the presence of Anglo-Saxon material on Roman sites is a well-established phenomenon across England. Sussex, in contrast, appears to have a relative lack of sites where this occurs. This talk will first explore the contrast between Sussex and its neighbouring counties, before outlining the few sites in Sussex where this occurs, examining the evidence from Roman and Anglo Saxon sites including churches, cemeteries, villas, and settlements, and by bringing together a disparate range of archaeological evidence, will question the absence of apparent reuse in Sussex and explore why this may be.
Roman Box Flue tile incorporated into the walls of St Peters Church, Westhampnett
Travertine; a little-known Sussex building stone
David Bone MPhil
Travertine (also known as tufa) has been identified as a building stone in a survey of West Sussex churches, as well as being recorded from a few Roman excavations. The latter is particularly associated with bath buildings, and some medieval use probably represents the re-working of this material. The geographic distribution of travertine use suggested former quarry sites that, on inspection has also revealed ongoing travertine formation. Well-known in places such as the Peak District, travertine is formed by calcium carbonate deposition at springheads in limestone rocks that includes the chalk of the South Downs. Two centres of its formation have been identified, namely Duncton and Steyning, with use as a building stone in those areas and at multiple locations across the West Sussex Coastal Plain. The west wall of Steyning church tower (see photos) provides easily accessible examples of the building stone. The talk discusses the quarrying and dates of stone use, an unexpected historical bonus, and future studies that could be carried out.
David Bone MPhil, FGS
David has studied the geology of West Sussex for over 50 years and, since 1990, in connection with the archaeology and history of building stones. Published research has included new insights into Roman, medieval and 19th century use of building stone, and several new projects are in progress for future publication. David is retired, but currently holds the position of Chair for both the Sussex Geodiversity Partnership (hosted by the Wildlife Trust), the West Sussex Geological Society, the Tertiary Research Group, and the Friends of Fishbourne Roman Palace. He is also Treasurer for Rockwatch, the national geology club for young people and a Fellow (FGS) of the Geological Society of London. He regularly gives talks and guided walks on local geology and historic building stones.
Simon Stevens BA, MCIfA
Simon, who is a Senior Archaeologist at Archaeology South-East (one of the local professional archaeological units), is in his spare time the Vice Chair of the Wealden Iron Research Group. Sussex ‘born-and-bred’, Simon studied archaeology at the University of York, after which he returned to Sussex and has subsequently been directing and publishing excavations in the county and beyond for over 30 years. He has for many years (since 2011) been leading the Stiances archaeology project for school children at Newick, and last year this won the Marsh Award for Youth Archaeology Project of the Year.
The Iron Industry of the Weald -
Recent Finds and Experiments
Simon Stevens BA
Recent archaeological work in the Weald has revealed evidence of iron production dating from as early as the 4th century BC, and as late as the 18th century AD. An industry active over such a lengthy timespan has left various features, both below ground and still visible in the landscape. This talk explores the archaeological investigation of the physical remains of this important local industry, as well as the results of ongoing experiments carried out by the Wealden Iron Research Group into producing iron using ancient techniques.
Iron Firebacks: a Sussex speciality
Jeremy Hodgkinson MA
As the cradle of the post-medieval iron industry Sussex was inevitably the source of many of the earliest examples of iron castings. Cannon production here grew to be of national importance, and with wood as the principal source of domestic heating in wide inglenook fireplaces, firebacks became a functional advantage as well as an item of social prestige. Their decoration recorded social aspiration, superstitious concern, and political sensitivity. Latterly, classical imagery copied continental styles. The last iron castings made in the county of local iron ore were firebacks
Jeremy Hodgkinson MA, FSA
Jeremy is a retired school teacher and has lectured and written about the Wealden iron industry for more than 40 years. His interest in firebacks stems from his research into iron-making and the purchase of one by his parents in the 1950s. He is currently editor of Wealden Iron and of the Journal of the Antique Metalware Society, and is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Exeter. He is the author of two books: The Wealden Iron Industry (2008) and British Cast-Iron Firebacks (2010). His current project is the compilation of a catalogue of British firebacks.
Alex Bliss BA, ACIfA
Alex, a numismatist and metal small finds specialist, currently works as a Finds Officer for Cotswold Archaeology Suffolk. Previously he was the Finds Liaison Officer for Suffolk from 2016-2019, and before that a Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS) volunteer in Sussex. He currently sits as a committee member of the CIfA Heritage Crime SIG. Having published a small but steadily growing number of articles on various kinds of metal small finds, Alex is currently writing up the excavation reports on two Middle Bronze Age metalwork deposits discovered in Sussex last year. Outside of archaeology, Alex enjoys Harvey's best bitter and walking on the South Downs of his native Sussex.
Strap-fittings, stirrup-mounts, swords and staters: PAS metal finds from Cowdown, West Sussex
Alex Bliss BA
The fields around Cowdown, near Compton in West Sussex, have been intensively searched by some hobby metal detectorists over the years. Their efforts have resulted in the recovery of many metal small finds, a large number of which have been recorded via the Portable Antiquities Scheme (PAS). Accordingly, this has meant that a great quantity of finds-based data with significant research potential is preserved. Though a large proportion of the finds are of later Iron Age or Roman date, there is also an abundance of artefactual evidence from both earlier and later eras. Some objects appear to be relatable to the documented presence of a Late Anglo-Saxon estate and its transition through the Norman Conquest, while others reflect Post-medieval activity centred around the now demolished great house of Ladyholt. This talk will focus on the extensive metal finds assemblage recorded via the PAS from this area. A selection of objects will be presented and contextualised in their spatial, archaeological and historical settings where appropriate.