Archaeological Investigations at Plumpton Roman Villa

Archaeology at Plumpton

There is an extensive archaeological record across the estate. Most of the visible ancient earthworks occur on the Downs. The first Bronze Age settlement is situated 400m south of the South Downs Way and date at 800 to 700bc in the late Bronze Age. It consists of a cluster of four enclosures, linked by sinous roads and surrounded by fields and marked by lynchets. These are ridges created by the ancient ploughing system. 

The second settlement is situated a further 400m to the south-east along a wide drove-way and is marked only by a small bank and stages of crop development and Neolithic flint axes suggest that this extensive field system probably dates from the Neolithic or Early Stone Age. There are also many prehistoric burial mounds roughly in a line along the South Downs Way. 

On the Weald, the most important archeological sites in the Plumpton Roman Villa in a field called Sixty Acres. Since 1977, several archaeological surveys have been carried out. They show that the villa is set in a ditched enclosure with rubbish pits and a possible kiln to the south. Tracks and a field system surround the villa whcih was probably a working farm. Since 2015, the Sussex School of Archaeology has carried out six-week field excavations of the site each summer and in 2017 unearthed a Iron Age Burial Urn from the site. The excavations will continue over the next few years involving students where possible. An exhibition of the finds is planned along with a detailed interpretation board at the site. 

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