Sussex Archaeological Collections: Relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex

Sussex Archaeological Society, 2000 (updated 2019)

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Sussex Archaeological Society (2019) Sussex Archaeological Collections: Relating to the history and antiquities of the counties of East and West Sussex [data-set]. York: Archaeology Data Service [distributor]

Beaker occupation and development of the downland landscape at Ashcombe Bottom, near Lewes, East Sussex

with contributions by Richard Macphail & Joy Ede

Research excavations were conducted of colluvium in the dry valley of Ashcombe Bottom to the west of Lewes. Colluvial deposits in the centre of the valley were only 1.5 m thick but contained a buried soil on which was a series of parallel ard marks, which were confirmed by soil micromorphological analysis and indicated prehistoric tillage. The colluvium contained a number of sherds of Beaker pottery and at least 26 Beaker vessels were represented, indicating a settlement site rather than a funerary monument.

Environmental analysis of the sediment provides a broad history of the landscape from the Neolithic period to Middle Bronze Age and spans the construction and disuse of the causewayed enclosure at Offham, and the activity associated with the Late Neolithic and Bronze Age flint scatters recorded in the Houndean-Ashcombe area.

The results of this research excavation provide settlement and environmental data which enhance our understanding of the Early Bronze Age prehistoric occupation and use of the Sussex Downs.

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