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DISAPPEARING SUSSEX CLIFFTOP BARROW REVEALS ITS PREHISTORIC SECRETS

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Kara Sundstrom
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« on: May 12, 2008, 09:48:17 pm »

DISAPPEARING SUSSEX CLIFFTOP BARROW REVEALS ITS PREHISTORIC SECRETS
By 24 Hour Museum 12/05/2008
 

 
Archaeologist at Peacehaven Heights, East Sussex, work to uncover the barrow before it falls into the sea. Crown Copyright
 
Archaeologists, racing against time to date a burial mound on the cliffs at Peacehaven Heights in East Sussex before it collapses into the sea, have found activity spanning back to 8000 years BC - the time of some of the island's earliest hunter-gatherers.
 
The excavations, which were carried out between April 19 and May 4 2008, have uncovered tools dating back to the Mesolithic period (8000 4000 BC) when the area may have been wooded and people were hunting animals, foraging for nuts and berries and making their camps in the area.

Finds include a flint arrowhead dating to the Mesolothic period together with several fragments dating to the Bronze Age, when the mound was built, 2000 to 3000 years ago.

Perilously close to the cliff edge at Peacehaven, the Scheduled Ancient Monument is fast becoming too dangerous to investigate because of coastal erosion.

Archaeologists expect the mound to fall into the sea completely in the next 25 years and English Heritage and the landowner agreed to its excavation by Brighton & Hove Archaeological Society and the Mid Sussex Field Archaeological Team to record as much information as possible.

The mound also produced pottery and clay pipe dating from the 1700-1800s, which could point to earlier antiquarian robbing of the mound. It was also used for defence purposes when soldiers dug their slit trenches through it during World War II as part of their defence of the coastline and a nearby radar station (now demolished).

Project leader Susan Birks said: "This mound has a complicated history spanning several thousand years BC right up to World War II. It's a complex story that will need careful unravelling, but we have gathered enough information to tell us its age and something about the people who built it.

Once the excavations have been completed, the barrow will be reinstated as it was, and the results will be collated into a report for dissemination to archaeological and local societies, as well as East Sussex County Council and English Heritage. Any finds will be donated to Brighton & Hove Museum.
 
 
English Heritage
  1 Waterhouse Square, 138 - 142 Holborn, London, EC1N 2ST, England
T: 020 7973 3000

 
 
http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/nwh_gfx_en/ART57241.html
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