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Archaeology Matters

Whitehawk Camp Community Archaeology Project wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

A reconstruction by Ian Dennis of the Whitehawk causewayed enclosure c. 3,600 cal BC (reproduced from Whittle, Healy and Bayliss 2011; fig. 1.3)

The Whitehawk Camp partnership formed of Centre for Applied Archaeology (University College London), Brighton & Hove City Council’s Royal Pavilion & Museums and Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society, has today received £99,300 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting community archaeology project based in Brighton.

The project will involve the local community working with professional and skilled volunteers on a nationally important archaeological monument. A series of volunteering opportunities, workshops and events will be run at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Whitehawk Camp and other venues from April 2014 for 12 months.

Volunteers will learn the necessary skills required to catalogue and examine archaeological finds, undertake geophysical survey, excavate archaeological remains and undertake conservation work to the monument. A series of outreach events will examine themes such as our relationship with food, the bio-diversity of Whitehawk Hill and Whitehawk Hill's relationship with the wider Downland landscape. The results of the project will be interpreted through digital media and an archaeological archive report.

This project will focus on Whitehawk Camp and the collection of objects excavated from the site in the 1920s and 1930s. This 5,500 year old Stone Age monument (a Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure) on Whitehawk Hill in Brighton, East Sussex is a rare type of ritual monument (predating Stonehenge by around 500 years) and marks the emergence of Britain's first farming communities. It is the project’s aim to work with the local community to build understanding of the importance of the monument, engender a spirit of ownership and identity and actively work for the physical improvement of the site and its archive.

Further information will be made available at www.ucl.ac.uk/caa/whitehawk-hlf

Neolithic pottery from Whitehawk Camp

Commenting on the award, Dr Dominic Perring, the Director of the UCL Centre for Applied Archaeology, added: “This is what archaeology should be about: a chance for everyone to participate in the adventure of discovery on a really important site. There are some fantastic events planned, and we look forward to learning a lot more about what happened at Brighton in the early Neolithic (New Stone Age).”

Councillor Geoffrey Bowden, chair of Brighton & Hove City Council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, said: “Whitehawk Camp, older than Stonehenge, is on our doorstep and we are delighted that, with our partners, we have been successful in securing funds to increase understanding and highlight the importance of this historical site...This promises to be a real community effort and there will be opportunities for people to get involved in workshops at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery to study objects excavated from the site in the 20s and 30s, a community excavation at the site, and a range of other activities.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East, said:
Whitehawk Hill holds hidden clues as to the way our ancestors lived and how the community around here developed into what it is today. By delving into this history, volunteers will not only expand their knowledge and learn lots of new skills, but it will also provide a unique record of the area for others to learn, enjoy and be inspired by.”

 

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