ROCKY CLUMP 2005
The excavation season at Rocky Clump, Stanmer continued until
December 31st 2005. The season has been very productive and the field
unit has excavated a new section measuring 10 metres by 4 metres. The
excavations revealed a mass of inter-cutting pits with a large
north/south ditch cutting through the whole area. The pits were
numerous and there was extreme difficulty in recording all of the
various cuts and fills. Some of the large pits overlay smaller pits
located in their lower depths. The finds have been less numerous
despite the size of the pits, which brings into question the exact
purpose of the features. The pits are all located on the east side of
the ditch with only two of the larger pits actually cutting into the
chalk on the west side (see
The bones team were particularly active in recording the bone
deposits. The bones are concentrated in the lower reaches of the
upper fill of the large ditch. There is no real evidence for
ritualistic deposition and it appears to be a very random rubbish layer.
A new trench was opened within the copse of trees at Rocky Clump to
examine the possible 'shrine' features known from a series of very
large post holes revealed in the 1960's excavations. The new trench
is within the precincts of the shrine and it has revealed a rough
chalk elevated platform. The area has been badly disturbed by rabbits
and tree roots. The area produced some pieces of dressed sarson stone
and chalk blocks, but only a single piece of East Sussex Ware
pottery. It is planned to extend the trench into the shrine interior
to try and determine whether the chalk platform is a deliberate floor
level or a collapsed chalk wall.
A new trench has been opened to the north which is already into deep
archaeological layers. A geophysical survey last year showed a large
area of low resistance indicating the location of a substantial pit.
This large pit links to another large ditch further north. The new
are area has already produced a badly corroded Roman coin, It is
planned to extend this trench during the 2006 excavations.
This year we were joined by the Brighton and District Metal Detecting
Club who conducted a metal detecting survey of fields around Rocky
Clump. The adjacent field is called Iron Square and according to the
detectorists it is aptly named. There were no spectacular finds this
season, but a number of interesting lead pieces were collected. The
group will be working with us in the 2006 season.
Rocky Clump is still proving to be a very interesting site and
another season will begin around May 2006. The Young Archaeologist
Club, (Y.A.C.), have already booked their visit to the excavations.
Members of the BHAS Field Unit have been assisting County
Archaeologist, Greg Chuter and Bob Washington (MSFAT) with
excavations at Arlington. The site is in a field opposite the pumping
station at Arlington Reservoir, the farmer kindly left part of the
field un-ploughed so that excavations could take place.
Evaluation trenches have uncovered a section of Roman road with its
associated ditch to the north side. Post holes found on the south
side of the road show signs of settlement abutting the road. A small
trench in the ploughed area to the south of the road was placed over
an area of burning shown up by ploughing. At first it was thought
that this trench had been placed on top of a pit but it now appears
to be a small boundary ditch. This trench has produced large amounts
of Romano - British pottery including two whole pots (see
picture) and one in two or three pieces, these are
thought to date from the 2nd century AD. The same trench also
produced a coin of the 1st or 2nd century, Another trench at the edge
of the ploughed area also produced large amounts of pot and a large
piece of what appears to be iron slag with a pottery sherd embedded
in it. Also found were two possible pottery wasters indicating the
site may contain a kiln.
Excavations have now come to an end to allow the farmer to plough and
plant his crop. Greg and Bob are planning to return to the site in
October of this year once the crop has been harvested. This time it
is intended, with the help of a mechanical digger, to open up a large
area rather than small evaluation trenches.
The BHAS Field Unit are planning to return to Hog Croft field at
Ovingdean in the early part of 2006. The small scale excavations will
investigate two areas in the field. An area of slight depression may
be the location of a medieval 'detatched' kitchen. The kitchen would
be associated with the medieval manorial complex found during
previous seasons. Another area to be examined is a large circular
area of high resistance. A small section 1 metre wide was cut across
the feature in 2002 and produced a massive conglomeration of flint,
building rubble and the curved edges of a pit cut into the chalk. it
is possible that this is the location of an ancient dove-cote, often
a facet of medieval manors. The best preserved example of a standing
manorial complex is at Alciston, near Berwick. The season will last
for about 6 week-ends and will be open for public visits.
BBC VISITS ROCKY CLUMP
In the summer of 2005 the BHAS, Brighton and District Metal Detecting
Club and Liz Wilson, Sussex Finds Liaison Officer, took part in the
filming of a BBC programme. The programme "Inside Out" was
about "Nighthawks" and the illegal plundering of sites by a
small minority of metal detectorists. The segment filmed at Rocky
Clump aimed to show the co-operation between archaeologists and metal
detectorists working together on site. John Funnell gave a 10 minute
interview to presenter Kaddy Lee Preston (see
picture) emphasising the co-operation between the two
groups. Unfortunately all of this ended up on the cutting room floor!