Evidence of ancient Lewes

In the autumn of 1834, a tank was sunk for the recently formed Lewes Waterworks Company on a site about 100 yards west of St Anne’s Church.

The Sussex Weekly Advertiser detailed the discoveries made (courtesy of John Bleach).

Last week, as some workmen were digging the trench, they discovered a variety of ancient British vases and human skeletons, at the head and feet of which were placed drinking cups, of the barrel form, supposed to have contained food for dead. There were also several funeral urns containing the calcined ashes of human bones. One of these urns, having an ornamented handle, was evidently moulded by hand and decorated with some pointed instrument.

Two of these relics were discovered at an unusual depth (at least 14ft) embedded in the solid chalk rock; surrounding these were the bones of various animals, such as sheep, hogs, calves, cats, birds and boars’ tusks.