Keymer Avenue and Seaview Avenue, Peacehaven
Project type: Excavation
Archaeology South East undertook extensive archaeological investigations on land to the north of Keymer Avenue and at Seaview Avenue, Peacehaven, in advance of the construction of 160 new homes.
The first phase of work consisted of a geophysical survey. The results indicated the presence of prehistoric landscape features, such as enclosures and trackways. Following this an archaeological evaluation was conducted at both sites and confirmed that the anomalies shown from the geophysical survey were archaeological in nature and were mainly dated to the Iron Age.
The main phase of investigation consisted of archaeological excavation of the majority of the development site (Area A) which covered an area of 21391m². The archaeological features detected during the previous two phases of work were explored further. A range of archaeological finds were recovered from features which dated from the Early Mesolithic period through to the Mid Iron Age period.
The below ground remains of a Mid Iron Age farmstead or community left the most visible trace of human occupation across the development site. A series of boundaries, usually in the form of linear ditches, were uncovered which helped to understand how daily life may have been organised during the Iron Age.
Seven enclosures and two trackways were identified. The main focus of activity was towards the north-western area of the site. A series of inter cutting ditches were orientated towards this location. The dense concentrations of fire cracked flint recovered and the complexity of the re-cut ditches suggest continued use for some time. Near the centre of this enclosure was a possible burial which was backfilled with over a thousand large nodules of flint.
A second smaller excavation area (Area B: 667m²) revealed a series of pits. One feature from this area contained large quantities of Mesolithic / Early Neolithic flintwork. Two other pits contained Late Iron Age pottery.
After the Mid Iron Age the site seems to have been abandoned, as there is very little Late Iron Age dating evidence. The apparent depopulation of East Sussex and the appearance of new ditched settlements in West Sussex is a major theme of the end of the Mid Iron Age.
The Seaview excavation (c. 2254m²) was concentrated at the western end of the development area where the archaeological features were encountered during the evaluation phase of the project. Three features were found to contain Neolithic pottery and flintwork. One pit also contained burnt sandstone and charcoal indicating that it may have once been used as a cooking pit. Two other deep features were thought to be early prehistoric / Neolithic flint mine shafts or wells.
Project Officer: Paul Riccoboni
Client: Bovis Homes Ltd.
Project type: Excavation