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* Original Information May 2003
* added July 2003
* added August 2003
* added October 2003
* added December 2003
EARTHWORK DISTURBANCE AT WHITEHAWK HILL
The Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society
were alerted by Crispin Kirkpatrick, of Brighton and Hove Rangers
Service, that incursions had been made into lands close to the site
of the Scheduled Ancient Monument (SAM) of Whitehawk camp. The site
at Whitehawk is a Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure and of national importance.
The Hon. Sec. Archaeology visited the disturbed
area on Friday 15th August 2003. A large terrace had been cut into
the side of the hill on the west side of Whitehawk Hill. The cutting
is approximately 30 metres south of the Whitehawk television aerial
and about 150 metres west of the aerial. A large circular depression
has also been sunk, possibly as a cesspit, immediately north of this
terrace. An excavating or digging machine had been used as scrape
marks were clearly noted in the terrace walls. The site is south of
another local incursion created during 2002 by a local character. The
site created was apparently used as a platform for a musical 'rave'.
An examination of the platform and the
surrounding area produced no finds of antiquity, the majority of the
terrace being virgin chalk. The wall of the terrace, which is about 1
metre deep at the highest point, produced no features of pits or post
holes being cut into the natural chalk. The possible cesspit was not
examined, bearing in mind the possibility of the presence of
The vandalism at Whitehawk, in the creation of
these features into the local nature reserve (LNR), does have
archaeological implications. The causewayed enclosure does date to
the Neolithic period and a feature of this time is also the
construction of flint mines, the circular feature could easily be
interpreted as such a feature. The terrace, probably used as a
platform for the music equipment, has created a flat terrace with a
rear wall of chalk that compares both in shape and size, about 15
metres in diameter, to roundhouse terraces found on the Bronze Age
settlement sites at Downsview and Varley Halls, Coldean. It is
important that this is recorded on both the Brighton and Hove City
Council planning maps, and the Sites and Monuments Record (SMR) to
ensure that this area, in the future, is not considered and confused
with an ancient archaeological site.
WATCHING BRIEF AT 3 WINTON AVENUE, SALTDEAN
In April of 2003 the Brighton and Hove
Archaeological Society were asked to conduct a watching brief in the
grounds of the house at 3, Winton Avenue, Saltdean. Archaeological
remains of a Saxon burial had been found when an extension had been
constructed on the west side of the house, and a badger set was about
to be constructed in the north west section of the garden.
On April 12th members of the BHAS Field Unit
visited the garden and conducted a resistivity survey and metal
detecting examination of the area about to be disturbed. The results
from the geophysical survey found no evidence for possible grave
cuts, and this was endorsed by the metal detecting that also found
very little evidence of metalwork lying below the surface. Saxon
artefacts would have produced significant readings, particularly
swords, spearheads shield bosses.
On the weekend of 19th/20th July a greenhouse
was removed and a trench cut into the garden measuring 2 metres by 2
metres. On Saturday 2nd August the trench was towelled back and
examined by members of the BHAS team and Lisa Rigby of the Rangers
Service. The trench and subsequent incursions into the garden for the
deepening of the existing fence revealed no evidence for any other
Saxon burials. It was noted that the green house area had been
levelled and that the natural decent of the land was packed with a
layer of chalky loam, which was probably from other areas of the
garden, but which may have re-located some of the finds recovered in
this trench. The north/west end of the trench measured 0.3m dropping
down to a depth of 0.52m on the south east side.
The 2 metre square trench did, however, produce
some archaeological artefacts, and these are listed below:-
- A total of 6 flint flakes were
recovered from this trench and 6 pieces of fire-cracked flint (Total
weight 184gms). The flintwork is all with a white patination and hard
hammer struck. There was no sign of retouch of any of the pieces,
although one piece of the fire-cracked collection may have been used
as an end scraper before burning. Of the flint pieces only 2 items
retained fragments of cortex. The flintwork is probably of Late
Neolithic or Bronze Age date.
- A total of 3 pieces of pottery
were recovered from the trench. One piece is a very abraded sherd of
grey ware, but with a soft temper and may be grog tempered. A small
piece of pottery is grog tempered ware, possibly East Sussex Ware.
One piece has a coarse temper of very small flint inclusions, with a
small percentage (5%) of larger pieces of flint temper ( 0.2-0.5mm
length). There were also a small number of pieces of mica present.
The pottery collection consists of quite small pieces, and all were
very abraded. The grog tempered ware could equally be of either Roman
or Saxon dating, only a detailed analysis could determine which. The
coarse flint tempered piece may be of prehistoric origin.
- A total of 3 fragments of oyster
shell were found among the soil removed from the trenches.
- Pieces of contemporary
metalwork, tile and ceramics were also found among the soil removed
from the trenches.
BHAS would like to thank the owners of 3 Winton
Avenue for allowing access to the property, to Paul Skinner of Badger
Watch, Lisa Rigby of the Ranger Service.
GEOPHYSICS AT 'THRAVES' GRAFFHAM, WEST SUSSEX
The house named 'Thraves' lies on the southern
outskirts of the village of Graffham, West Sussex, nestled in a small
valley on the north side of the South Downs. The house was built
circa 1410 and is described by Dr Annabelle Hughes as a medieval four
bayed hall house. The house has over the centuries been the subject
of much structeral alteration. A number of additions to the house are
clearly visible from both the front and back of the house. The
alterations have included the addition of a chimney, centrally
spaced, and a pair of windows cut into the roof. The front door
appears central but the rear is offset, but a small extension to the
rear of the building may incorporate this doorway. The chimney and
the upper windows appear to form some form of symmetry within the
early fabric of the building. However, the south end of the structure
has obviously been the subject of some dramatic change in recent
times. The removal or loss of the south bay of the hall has produced
an irregularity in the house design in this area (see
The house owner has produced a number of plans of
the house and the surrounding area. At one time the house had been
the rectory for the church located nearby. The plans showed that over
a period of time other buildings had been constructed around the
focus of the main house and these over a period of time had changed
or had been removed.
The BHAS Field Unit was contacted with regard
conducting a geophysical survey on the south side of the house to
seek possible evidence for the missing fourth bay. During the
intervening period a small excavation was conducted by the District
Archaeologist south of the existing building. The trench measuring
2.5M by 2.0M was still open when the BHAS unit arrived to conduct the
geophsyical survey, and evidence for a robbed out wall footing could
be discerned within the excavation. The excavation trench revealed a
significant depth of soil and contemporary overburden above the early
wall levels. It was anticipated that the results of the geophysical
survey would be affected by this depth of earth and rubble. The
survey also had to navigate around the remaining spoil heap of the excavation.
The geophysical survey concentrated in those areas
of the front and rear gardens that were accessible, but despite the
restrictions imposed by flower beds, shrubbery and other garden
features, a survey of 2 complete grid squares measuring
20M by 20M was accomplished.
The survey was a resistivity survey and the images
produced show areas of high resistance being discerned as light grey
or white in colour, low resistance areas being black or dark grey.
The survey to the front of the house (front)
produced very little evidence for anything other than the flower
beds, a dark linear feature running from the bottom left hand corner
of the picture running up and to the north east in the image is the
driveway. The lighter area running either side of this dark feature
is grass and flowerbeds. The dark area in the south east quadrant is
the driveway and grass of the neigbouring house.
The rear garden (back)
does, however, contain a number of interesting anomalies. The lawn
has produced a number of high resistance areas that can clearly be
noted. On the east side of the garden, close to the garden wall
running down to the roadside is small square feature consisting of 3
possible walls, there appears to be no wall on the north side.
However, there is an ephemeral lighter linear link running from this
feature in the east to the west side of the garden. This subtle
linear feature may be the remnants of an earlier building or an old
garden wall. The west side of the garden, has a number of linear
features of high resistance. These features measure between 2 and 5
metres in width and may continue in a westerly direction. A seperate
rectanguler feature can be noted just to the east of this other
linear arrangment, but all the areas of high resistance may possibly
The survey produced no evidence for walls located
in the area considered to be the location of the fourth bay of the
house, this was anticpated because of the excessive overburden seen
in the section of the excavation trench.
The resistivity survey of the gardens around the
house called Thraves indicate that vestiges of old outbuildings may
lie beneath the lawns and flowerbeds. It is not possible to say with
certainty exactly what the results prove and how old the features
are, often geological anomalies can produce similar results. However,
the features being of a regular configuration do suggest possible
structures, but only excavation can really determine the nature and
date of the features.
I would like to thank the houseowner, Mr Peter
Hawkes, for allowing access to his garden.
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