Community Archaeology
National Trust at Petworth House

CBAS have been undertaking community archaeology projects for the National Trust at Petworth House. Two excavations have been carried out with volunteers in the grounds of Petworth House, combining research with training for the volunteers. The most important was carried out during the summer of 2014 when we investigated the possible site of Henry VIII’s banqueting house. Foundations and floors from a substantial building were found, and there were also hints of an earlier building below. The vast majority of the finds date to the 16th century, and include pottery, a variety of metal items including a gold ring, and two silver coins. The finds are concentrated in the period 1450-1575, although the main focus of activity appears to be during the reign of Elizabeth 1st. We also surveyed the standing buildings in the Cowyard at Petworth House. A total of 12 buildings were surveyed, with volunteers being provided with training in a series of dayschools run by the Sussex School of Archaeology, and then participating in the survey of the buildings with CBAS staff. >>image gallery
  Plan of the 16th century building
Volunteers working on the 16th century building excavation
Busy finds processing tent

Brede High Woods Archaeology Project.  
CBAS have been appointed by The Woodland Trust to manage an archaeological project in Brede High Woods running through to 2014. The project will investigate archaeological features found within the woods during a survey by Dr Nicola Bannister, including the excavation of a Medieval and Post Medieval farm, an ironworking site and woodland industry features such as saw pits and charcoal burning platforms. f you would like to take part, please complete the application form and send it to  or by post to the address on the form. >>image gallery

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March 2012 update on recent achievements
A busy year ahead in the woods on the Big Dig at Brede  
Here are some dates to note in your diary for planning the year ahead at Brede, fuller details will follow nearer the time.  
On the 9th April we will be returning to the iron working site that we started work on last year. The excavation and work in this part of the wood will take place over three weeks which will give us enough time to thoroughly explore the iron-working site. As it is difficult to estimate in advance how much time we will need to spend at the iron-working site we may also be investigating further charcoal platforms, carrying out a walk over survey on the site and surroundings of Austford farm and seeing whether we can find any remains of World War Two activities within the woods  nearby.  
17th June - 22nd June we will be finalising the archaeological excavations and consolidating the remaining foundations at Brede High Farmhouse. Whilst in nearby Coneyburrow Wood (or Coneybury on old maps), we shall be excavating a saw-pit and some charcoal platforms. During this period we will have an open day to which the public will be invited to view a live dig. We will display some of our findings, including the oral history aspect of this project, and involve schools in charcoal making activities.  
We will have a final week at Brede in mid September, details to be announced in due course.  

Old St Helen's Church: Ore East Sussex  
CBAS have been appointed by Sussex Heritage Trust to undertake a community excavation at Old St. Helen's Church, Ore as part of a larger Heritage Lottery Funded project to preserve and understand the ruins of this important church, which may have Norman or earlier origins. Volunteers from the Hastings Area Archaeological Research Group have worked with CBAS to record all the standing memorials and gravestones in the churchyard. A Community Excavation is planned for April 2012 when we will be excavating within the interior of the Nave and Chancel to try and establish whether any internal features survive, and to see if there is any evidence for the earliest church on the site. If you would like to volunteer for this excavation, please complete the application form and send it to or by post to the address on the form. >>image gallery   

Sovereign Harbour Cycle Network Phase 2A  
(Ringwood Road to Lottbridge Drove)  
This archaeological evaluation excavation is being funded by East Sussex County Council to uncover and record evidence for the 19th and early 20th century railway that ran from Eastbourne station to The Crumbles alongside the Horsey Sewer, before it is removed to make way for the new Sovereign Harbour Cycleway. The excavation is being carried out by CBAS with volunteers from Eastbourne Museum and The Eastbourne Natural History and Archaeological Society.  
The railway served the beach gravel extraction that was taking place on the Crumbles. In 1857-62 the London Brighton & South East Railway negotiated to purchase not less than 48,000 cubic yards of shingle from the Duke of Devonshire at 1 penny per cubic yard, to be extracted from the Crumbles. They constructed a railway from near Eastbourne railway station through open countryside, along the Horsey Sewer, then turning south to cross the turnpike road (Seaside) near its junction with Lottbridge Drove.  
The railway was 7 yards wide and ran for 3½ miles, and was known as the Ballast Line or the Crumbles Railway. It also served the gasworks from 1870 onwards. By 1932 the railway was no longer used to transport shingle, but continued to serve the gasworks and other industrial sidings, taking thousands of tons of coal to the gasworks, until finally going out of use in the 1950’s. >>image gallery