Investigations of Roman settlement near Lewes head into 12th season

Culver Archaeological Project have announced the dates of their 12th season of excavations at the extensive Roman-period settlement at Bridge Farm, Barcombe Mills, near Lewes.
Students and volunteers working on siteStudents and volunteers working on site
Students and volunteers working on site

They will be back on site from May 29 for six weeks ending July 7. Once again there is the opportunity for volunteers at all levels of experience (or none) to take part and join the established team of field archaeologists and undergraduate students either on site (FIG) or in the finds processing unit.

The team also plans to have a public open morning on Saturday July 15 with tours of the site and a display of finds. Full details and volunteer application form can be found on the projects website ( together with reports and summaries on the results so far.

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The Bridge Farm settlement has a distinctively official character with double ditches enclosing a 2.4-hectare square area with rounded corners at the junction of roads from London, Pevensey and Chichester. It appears to have been occupied for most of the 350-year Roman period leaving multi-layered and phased features.

Hunting design beaker Hunting design beaker
Hunting design beaker

This season the team will return to the area in the centre of the site opened in 2018 but extended by 20m by 25m to the north last year. This area has a range of large pits (FIG) and postholes which are posing intriguing problems in the interpretation of their uses and phasing but are yielding an abundance of period finds.

Last season a further 18,744 sherds of Roman pottery were collected giving a total of 58,251 sherds from this 1400m2 area so far. This includes a high frequency of fine wares, including colour-coated beakers some with barbotine hunting images (FIG). 131kg of ceramic building material including 3,612 tesserae (basic mosaic tiles). 168 artefacts were recorded as Special Finds including dress ornaments, coins and glass; in particular 2 shards of rare blue 'snake thread' glass (FIG), possibly of Rhenish origin (pers. comm. John Shepherd) and a horse head harness strap slide of cast copper alloy (FIG), possibly military c. AD2nd-3rd cent.

It is hoped that an exhibition of finds together with images of the excavations may be held at Worthing Museum in 2024.