14 April 2014

Archaeology project wins Heritage Lottery funding

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

Local residents will work with professional and skilled volunteers on the nationally important archaeological monument in Whitehawk. A series of volunteering opportunities, workshops and events will be run at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, Whitehawk Camp and other venues over the next 12 months.

Volunteers will learn the necessary skills required to catalogue and examine archaeological finds, undertake geophysical survey, excavate archaeological remains and carry out conservation work to the monument. A series of outreach events will examine themes such as our relationship with food, the biodiversity of Whitehawk Hill and Whitehawk Hill's relationship with the wider Downland landscape.

Results from 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 the1920s and 1930s. The 5,500 year old Stone Age monument (a Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure) on Whitehawk Hill is a rare type of ritual monument (predating Stonehenge by around 500 years) and marks the emergence of Britain's first farming communities.

The project will 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.

Commenting on the award, Dr Dominic Perring, the Director of the UCL Centre for Applied Archaeology, said: “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.”

The Partners

University College London - Centre for Applied Archaeology

The Centre for Applied Archaeology (CAA), and its professional arm Archaeology South-East (ASE), is part of the Institute of Archaeology, University College London and employs a team of over 70 professional archaeologists working out of offices in Portslade, London and Essex. As well as undertaking commercial work CAA aims to connect archaeologists in commercial practice, academic/research professionals and local communities in the shared goal of protecting and investigating our historic environment. CAA is committed to ethical and sustainable approaches, which build on and enhance the capacity of local communities to benefit from the historic and archaeological interest of the places they inhabit.

Brighton & Hove City Council - Royal Pavilion and Museums

The Royal Pavilion and Museums (RPM) brings together world class heritage, art and culture, with the iconic Royal Pavilion at its heart. It is one of the leading museums in the country, and one of only 16 granted Major Partner status by Arts Council England. RPM holds wide ranging, multi-themed collections, including a natural history collection designated of national importance, Ice Age, Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeology, and extensive local social, oral history and archival records. Over the past three years, the RPM has piloted new ways of working with audiences that have shown the enormous potential and appetite for genuine engagement. Building on this, one of the RPM’s key aims is to create contemporary, challenging exhibitions that engage and inspire, developed in collaboration with cultural partners, artists and community groups.

Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society

Brighton & Hove Archaeological Society, a registered charity, with a membership of 300, was founded in 1906, and through its long history has been a leader in the fields of archaeology and local history.

The Society organises for its membership a wide range of activities including lectures, walks and visits, and via its Field Unit, carries out excavation and post excavation work. It trains the members of the Field Unit to work up to professional standards. Their outreach activities include working with schools and local organisations from Brighton and Hove and East Sussex. They closely work with Brighton & Hove City Council, East Sussex County Council and Archaeology South-East; relationships which will stand them in good stead as a partner.

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with more than £5.9bn across the UK. www.hlf.org.uk.