Fishbourne Roman Palace offers chance to adopt piece of mosaic as unique Christmas gift

The Sussex Archaeological Society is offering a range of unique gift opportunities just in time for Christmas, including the chance to adopt a unique piece of history at Fishbourne Roman Palace.

Archaeology lovers can adopt a “pet” tessera – an individual piece in the palace’s iconic Cupid on a Dolphin mosaic, or a box in the museum’s archaeological collections.

All adoptions will help the society continue its ground-breaking research and help preserve its diverse historic sites across the county.

As well as Fishbourne Roman Palace & Gardens – once the grandest Roman Palace in northern Europe – the society looks after Michelham Priory House & Gardens, near Hailsham, and the Long Man of Wilmington – Europe’s largest portrayal of the human form and the guardian of the South Downs.

Cupid on a Dolphin mosaic at Fishbourne Roman Palace. Credit:Sussex Archaeological Society Date Shot10-08-2013

Andrew Edwards, chief executive of Sussex Archaeological Society, said: “We’re passionate about sharing the stories of Sussex – this is our charitable aim: to enable people to enjoy, learn about and have access to the rich heritage of this county.

“To celebrate our 175th anniversary, it seemed fitting to invite people to become part of that history too.”

Adopting a box in Fishbourne Roman Palace’s archaeological collections costs £50 and all recipients will receive a letter of thanks, a certificate and a complimentary visit voucher.

Adopting a tessera costs £20 and recipients will receive a photo of their individual piece in the mosaic and a letter of thanks.

Individual tessera pieces from the mosaic at Fishbourne Roman Palace which you can adopt for Christmas. Credit: Sussex Archaeological Society

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The society is also offering the chance to have a step engraved at the historic Lewes Castle.

History lovers can choose a bespoke inscription to be engraved on a brick and set into one of the 40 steps leading up to the Keep at the Norman castle, with its 360-degree views of the town, the South Downs and the Weald.

Whether it’s a tribute to a loved one or your feelings about the Castle, each inscription will remain in full view for visitors climbing the steps forever, giving the gift of a permanent mark on Sussex history.

Steps to Lewes Castle. Credit: Chris Stevens/Sussex Archaeological Society

Each step sponsored will help preserve Lewes Castle and other historic sites owned and cared for by Sussex Past – the trading name of the Sussex Archaeological Society, which is celebrating its 175th anniversary this year.

All step sponsors will receive a personalised authentication certificate signed by Sussex Past patron, historian, author and broadcaster Tom Holland, who said: “Sponsoring a step at Lewes Castle is an opportunity like no other. This is a chance to be written into Sussex’s history.”

Sponsoring a step at Lewes Castle with a permanent bespoke inscription costs £1,000 and comes with a year’s membership to the society, which includes unlimited visits to its six beautiful sites and museums, as well as half-price entry to all English Heritage sites in Sussex, Kent and Hampshire.

A special exhibition of diverse artefacts and archaeological discoveries, The Sussex Archaeological Society: 175 Years of Collecting, is at the Barbican House Museum at Lewes Castle until February 28.

For more information, please visit