Sep 07 2014
Video: Eastbourne Live
As well as being one of the most beautiful parks in Eastbourne, underneath the park, hidden from view, is the largest bronze age village to be discovered in Europe. It is believed that the village is built on a huge oak platform covering 500m.sq. and coming of this platform are a number of causeways going towards the Downs and Hastings, these causeways alone are unusual because it would normally be just mud tracks leading to a village, but in the case of these causeways they are massive, up to 8m wide. This implies that this village was of huge importance, perhaps as a dock or a large farming area.
A tiny fraction of the platform was discovered while excavating for the lake and in this small section all sorts of pottery and artefacts were found including the Sickle you can see below. Another amazing coincidence about the site is that everything is extremely well preserved. Not only are we finding pottery and metal but also the wood and even material used over 3000 years ago. The magnitude of this find cannot not be over stated, so why aren’t they excavating the site and finding out more about the site? [source]
British Archaeology, December 1995 – New Flag Fen-like site found in East Sussex
A large Late Bronze Age ceremonial and occupation site, preserved in waterlogged deposits and similar in some respects to the famous Bronze Age site at Flag Fen, has been found near Eastbourne in East Sussex.
As at Flag Fen, the Eastbourne site consists of a large wooden platform connected to a long wooden causeway running across what was formerly a marshy lake. A number of bronze artefacts have been found, seemingly thrown from the platform as votive offerings into the marsh.
The platform appears to have been the site of a small settlement. At least two clay hearths were found on the platform, surrounded by a mass of occupation evidence such as butchered animal bones and pottery. The pottery seems to date the settlement provisionally to c 800-600BC – later than Flag Fen, which flourished from c 1400-900BC.
Both the platform and causeway lay originally on the surface of the marsh, supported by a complex arrangement of oak posts. The posts had been driven into the underlying clay and peat, but also rose up above the causeway and platform, possibly to mark the line of the causeway (which ran for at least 1km across the marsh), and also perhaps as a structural base for buildings on the platform. The platform itself, 80m wide and at least 50m long, consisted of a solid timber base covered in brushwood and rush matting, with a surface layer of gravel.
The bronze artefacts found in the surrounding peat included a palstave (or unsocketed axe), two socketed axes, a chisel head and a sickle. The sickle was excavated complete with its intact wooden handle, and all the other objects except the palstave retained traces of wood. The excavators from East Sussex County Council have so far only excavated a small area, and many more bronze artefacts are expected as work continues next year. One of the socketed axes was found in near-mint condition, and still retained a sharp cutting edge. Its style suggests it came from north-west continental Europe, indicating some form of long-distance trade or gift-exchange. Some amber beads and part of a shale bracelet were also found.
The skeleton of an infant was discovered at the site, but it was not in situ, and at present it is unclear whether the skeleton represents an ordinary child burial, or a foundation deposit or some other kind of ritual burial. Human bones from at least three adults have also been found.
According to Andrew Woodcock, East Sussex County Archaeologist (now retired – 2013), the presence of `foreign’ bronze, and the ritual deposition of artefacts, suggest this was an important site in the Bronze Age. It is also likely to prove an important site for modern archaeology, as one of only a handful of major waterlogged prehistoric sites currently known in the country with good preservation of organic remains. [source]
Water-logged site in danger if it dries out
|Because of the nature of the site, the village has been trapped in-between two layers of clay in a layer that is very waterlogged. It is this water that is keeping everything well preserved. Think Mary Rose, this was preserved at the bottom of the sea and needs to be continually sprayed with water to stop it rotting away, now that it has been raised from the sea bed. Because of this waterlogged soil everything is being kept well preserved and there is no rush to get the site excavated, there is only a limited amount of money available for archaeological digs of the size needed to lift the village from the marsh and unfortunately there are more important digs that need to go ahead because the treasures they are hiding do stand a risk of disappearing for ever.||
Pic: Shinewater Park
We are continually monitoring the water levels within the marsh and if it should ever start to dry out then money would be found to raise the village, until then we just have to be patient.
A late Bronze Age sickle was found at Shinewater Park, Sussex, England in 1995. A thoroughly researched conservation plan was required in order to meet the display conditions of the receiving museum and to meet the high standards required by the specialists involved in the treatment of this unique sickle. [source]
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Originally posted 2013-02-19 06:12:03. Republished by Blog Post Promoter