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The CBA SE Annual Conference: What is new from commercial archaeology in the South-East?

Saturday 18th November 2023

Prehistoric and later activity at Spelthorne Leisure Centre, Spelthorne

Andrew Hood

Foundation Archaeology

Excavation in advance of development revealed a small cluster of Neolithic pits, two Bronze Age ring ditches, one of which was associated with child cremations, as well as evidence for Roman and Saxon activity.

Andrew Hood BSc, MCIfA

Andrew is a project manager at Foundations Archaeology. He has over 20 years experience of archaeological fieldwork, post-excavation analysis, reporting and publication.

Hayley Nicholls, BA

Hayley found her way into commercial archaeology almost immediately after graduation from Bristol University. That was back in 2008, and she hasn't left since. 15 years late, she still enjoys it as much as she did to begin with. Having started with a love of all things Roman, the Bronze Age is her current focus of attention and passion. This year marks 10 years with Archaeology South-East.

A new lowland hillfort. Presenting the Late Bronze Age enclosed site at Madgwick Lane, Chichester

Hayley Nicholls

Archaeology South-East

Extensive excavations in 2018 revealed a huge, enclosed site of Late Bronze Age date to the north-east of Chichester, at Madgwick Lane. The outermost ditch may have enclosed an area as large as 8.5 hectares, whilst an inner ditch enclosed an area of possibly just 1 hectare.   At least 14 roundhouses and 20 4-post structures, perhaps functioning as granaries lay inside the earthworks. An extensive program of radiocarbon dating indicates a peak of construction and activity in the Late Bronze Age, with some continuity into the Early Iron Age.  
The site holds similarities to upland hillforts and yet it lies at just 20m to 25m above sea level, possibly representing one of the first in a Sussex lowland series. What was the purpose of the site and why was it situated so? And what can the site and its associated assemblage tell us about local society and its structure at this transitional point in history?

Shifting occupation; what can recent discoveries from developer funded excavations tells us about Early Neolithic occupation in Sussex

Dr Jon Baczkowsi

Chris Butler Archaeological Services

Defining and characterising Early Neolithic settlement (4000-3300 cal BC) has been a long-standing problem in British archaeology, partly due to a paucity of houses and structures. In recent decades many new Early Neolithic sites have been discovered across southern Britian during developer funded archaeological excavations, which have greatly improved our understanding of the period. This talk will detail four Early Neolithic sites discovered during fieldwork conducted by Chris Butler Archaeological Services in Sussex between 2017-2023. The talk will detail how these sites increase understandings of Early Neolithic occupation and other activities in Sussex. All the sites contained evidence that inform on local economies, whilst connecting nationally to an increasing body of knowledge on Early Neolithic lifestyles. Overall, the sites contribute to our understanding of Neolithic occupation in the early 4th millennium BC, a time of significance cultural and societal change.

Dr Jon Bączkowski

Jon began working in developer funded archaeology in 2010 and has worked at Chris Butler Archaeological Services Ltd (CBAS Ltd) since 2017, where he is currently a Project Manager and prehistoric lithic and Neolithic pottery specialist. During his time at CBAS Ltd he has directed many small to large-scale fieldwork projects, including a significance Bronze Age settlement at Ringmer, East Sussex. Jon is currently managing the large-scale excavation of an important multiperiod landscape close to Pevensey, East Sussex
Whilst working in the commercial sector Jon has also developed an academic career. In 2011 he completed an MA in 2011 at the University of Reading, which were published in the Oxford Journal of Archaeology (2014), a paper proposing that the British flint mines were Continental in origin. In 2021 he completed a PhD at the University of Southampton, titled The Early Neolithic flint mines of Sussex and their wider environs, which combined archival research and new field survey on the Sussex flint mines. Jon has recently completed a post doctorate position at the Institute of Archaeology, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Poland, researching the dating and spread of flint mining across Central Europe. 
Jon is an active member of the Commission on Flint Mining in Pre- and Protohistoric Times, a working group of the Congress of International Union of the Prehistoric and Protohistoric Sciences. He is also a member of the editorial board of the Sussex Archaeological Collections. Jon continues to teach archaeological fieldwork methods, including seasonally for the University of Southampton. Lastly, Jon continues to publish papers, in British and European journals, and drive research on both flint mining and the Early Neolithic of southern England, including the development of a project on a Polish flint mine and settlement.  

Dr Paul Wilkinson BA (Hons), MA, PhD. MCIfA, FRSA

Paul spent most of his working life as a graphic designer working for the Sunday Times, Mitchell Beazley, Dorling Kindersley and Abbey Road (Sergeant Pepper CD)


He changed careers at 40 and rebuilt a topsail schooner found as a wreck in Faversham Creek and sailed to the Canary Islands then Malta and did day trips for tourists


On his return to the UK he was invited to teach at the Institute of Maritime Studies at St Andrews University and did a PHD on Faversham.  The SBC survey followed and Swale and Thames Survey Company was born which now employs about thirty archaeologists working on major house build projects in Kent.

Watling Street- conduit for Conquest or Commerce?

Dr Paul Wilkinson

Swale and Thames Archaeological Survey

Watling Street was key to the Roman occupation of Britain and with the adjacent sea approach to London- established on the  lowest crossing point of the Thames was a base of conquest of Britannia with the waterway protected and managed by the two Roman bases of Dover and Richborough with its ceremonial triumphal arch and the most important military base in Britain- and the last to be held whereas Dover with its excellent harbour was the commercial entrance to Britain. Along Watling Street Canterbury was established at the crossing of the River Stour and a Roman replacement for the adjacent Iron Age settlement of Bigbury but the most stunning recent discoveries are the 20 Roman villas and temples spaced along Watling Street discovered by Paul Wilkinson in a Swale Borough Council funded survey.

Reaching Out – Excavation and Outreach in Angmering, West Sussex

Odile Rouard & Felicity Thompson

Thames Valley Archaeological Services

This session will present the results of fieldwork and outreach carried out at the site south of Water Lane, Angmering, West Sussex. It will focus on public outreach- why this site is the exception rather than the norm, and how it acts as an incentive to meet the challenges of improving community engagement in the professional practice. The session will encourage discussion among the speakers and with attendees on new ways of involving a wider audience and explore how public engagement can be routinely considered and included within commercial projects.

Odile Rouard, BA, MA

As well as manager at TVAS South, Odile Rouard is a co-director of Archaeodiscovery and co-founder of the Brighton Young Archaeologists’ Club. She has been working in commercial archaeology for over 20 years and in the south-east of England for the last 10 years. She is the UK’s ‘Ask the Archaeologist’ for the next generation and is involved in many outreach projects, bringing archaeology to a wider audience.

Felicity Thompson BA MSc 

Felicity has worked in commercial archaeology for 20 years and has performed and contributed to many cultural festivals and heritage events over the last decade. She is also co-director of Archaeodiscovery and co-founder of the Brighton Young Archaeologists’ Club. Felicity is passionate about engaging young people in archaeology and designs workshops for schools and youth groups.

Diccon Hart, BA (Hons)

Diccon is a field archaeologist with over 25 years of commercial experience. He has spent most of his career working in and around London and the South-East, with occasional early-career forays to more exotic locations in the Middle East. Since 2006 he has been based in Sussex, where most of his work is now focussed.  During this time Diccon has developed a strong focus on the later prehistory of lowland Britain, from the Mesolithic/Neolithic transition to the Roman conquest. Since joining HBAC in 2016, Diccon’s work has begun to focus more on medieval and later sites as part of a collaborative approach with his colleague and co-director Maggie Henderson that seeks to better integrate above- and below-ground archaeology. Their work at Lewes Castle is the result of that approach.

Fall’n at length, that tower of strength: Rescue, research and reconstruction at Lewes Castle 2019 – 2022

Diccon Hart

HB Archaeology and Conservation

On the 11th November 2019 a section of the Scheduled curtain wall at Lewes Castle suffered a catastrophic collapse, resulting in extensive property damage and the loss of a significant section of the surviving defences of an early and important castle. 
The sheer scale of the collapse and the damage it caused has required, from the outset, a truly collaborative and multidisciplinary approach between various organisations and stakeholders, including archaeologists, construction contractors, structural engineers, statutory bodies, and of course the owners of the land affected. 
Together, over the course of two and a half years, our work has progressed from initial stabilisation and clearance of the site to the subsequent assessment of the surviving remains, in terms of their archaeological significance, their capacity for reconstruction and the causes of the collapse. Subsequently, we have used the results of this work to formulate and deliver a scheme for reinstatement that meets the needs of the many parties involved.  
This talk aims to summarise the results of this work, focussing on the causes of the collapse, the wider context of the work in terms of the archaeology of the Rapal castles of Sussex, and ways in which we can use our work to inform on the future management of similar monuments elsewhere, so we can better adapt and protect our unique heritage to our ever changing climate.

Geoarchaeology in action in the SE: examples of practice in commercial archaeology

Dr Mike Allen

Allen Environmental Archaeology

Geoarchaeology is all about understanding the process of the deposits on and around your site – deposits, sediments, soils that have been directly and indirectly created by human action. They are archaeology. It’s all about telling stories from sediments and providing the context for your finds and your archaeological events. It may include and field and laboratory work … often it’s based around field descriptions and interpretations (that’s the laboratory analysis in the field) and understanding taphonomy (how the deposit got there in its current form) and understanding their history to tell us about people in the past, and narratives of landscape, features and sequences of human events. Geoarchaeology is about comprehension not just recording, buried soils are not always sealed darker layers, contexts are not always anthropogenic (‘man’ made). Can you tell?

This lecture will provide examples (stories) from around the SE from prehistory to historic sites from wide landscape to specific features.

Dr Michael J Allen, MCIfA, FLS, FSA


Mike is an experienced environmental archaeologist with over 200 publications including 6 monographs; a former committee member of the Association of Environmental Archaeologists; current council member and Prehistoric Society Research Papers editor for The Prehistoric Society; and council member of The Conchological Society. He has considerable and wide ranging experience including includes working on key projects such as Stonehenge and the British Archaeological Award winning Mary Rose volume (Before the Mast; life & death aboard the Mary Rose ed. Gardiner with Allen). My Molluscs in Archaeology book is now a fundamental undergraduate and professional archaeology text book


Mike specialises in the analysis of land snails, with the principal aim of understanding the development of prehistoric landscape and land-use. He has also spent many years researching and excavating colluvium and hillwash in southern England.

Letty Ingrey, BA MSc


Letty Ingrey is a Senior Geoarchaeologist at Archaeology South-East specialising in Palaeolithic archaeology and Pleistocene goearchaeology. She studied her undergraduate and masters degrees at UCL where she focussed on Palaeolithic archaeology, lithic analysis, and site formation processes. She has worked as a Pleistocene geoarchaeologist with ASE for 7 years where she has specialised in assessment of Pleistocene deposits, excavation of Lower and Middle Palaeolithic sites, and environmental and landscape reconstruction. 

Putting the region’s Palaeolithic in context: ongoing analysis on sites in Kent and Sussex

Letty Ingrey

Archaeology South-East

Over recent years Archaeology South-East has undertaken excavations at several Palaeolithic sites in Kent and Sussex. This talk will look at four of these sites and the ongoing analysis on each. These include previously known sites such as Conningbrook Quarry, which during its life as a quarry during the 1980s produced a large amount of Pleistocene faunal material along with a collection of Palaeolithic artefacts, and Stone’s Farm, Bapchild just across the road from the original Bapchild site where abundant Palaeolithic material was recovered from brick pits in the 1920s. Alongside this two new sites will also be presented, Ellen Street in Hove where the first handaxe to be found on the coastal plain between Brighton and Worthing in over a hundred years was recovered, and Maritime Academy, Frindsbury where hundreds of Palaeolithic artefacts were recently excavated including two ‘giant’ handaxes. 
The sites vary in type, age, geological context, and history of investigation. However, each is undergoing a full program of analysis that includes analysis of artefacts and other remains, scientific dating, palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and analysis of site formation processes. This allows us to address questions such as the age of deposits that produced material at Conningbrook Quarry, the age and depositional history of brickearth sequences Bapchild, the complex Ice Age deposits that survive below the surface in Brighton and Hove and which produced the Ellen Street handaxe, or who made the ‘giant’ handaxes at Maritime and when. 

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