Black Patch (EAST SUSSEX) Geo archaeological Project 2005
In the late Seventies, several of the hut platforms associated with a Later Bronze Age settlement site at Black Patch were excavated by Prof. Peter Drewett ( P.P.S. 48 ). They were found to contain rings of post-holes, typical of Bronze Age round houses, fence lines and ancillary pits of varying size.
One of the hut platforms (number 4) was particularly rich in Bronze Age artefacts. A two dimensional plot was made of the location of all excavated artefacts. From this, the excavator was able to identify activity areas within the huts and to infer a social order to the group of huts on the platform.
However, several different theories as to the method of deposition of these artefacts have since been put forward. It has been suggested that the placing of the artefacts was either some kind of ritual deposition possibly at the time of abandonment of the buildings, or the result of later back filling to level the ground for agricultural purposes, or simply displacement from higher ground as the result of colluvial movement either from general areas of activity or middens placed directly above the hut platforms.
In an attempt to identify whether any of the above was the method of deposition, the current excavations will use not only traditional excavation techniques including 3- dimensional artefact plotting, but also geoarchaeological techniques not available at the time of the original excavation. A hut platform identified by Prof. Drewett but not excavated by him will be subjected to various analytical techniques including micro-artefact patterning which will be used with the 3 dimensional macro-artefact plots to determine activity areas. Particle size analysis and soil micromorphological investigations will be used to determine depositional and post depositional activities.
There will also be an extensive geophysical and geoarchaeological survey of the area to try to determine its total area and the uses to which different parts were put. This will concentrate on attempting to identify middens and possible water storage areas. No middens were identified in the original excavation, but ethnographic evidence would point to their being located just outside the excavated area. Several ‘possible’ ponds were identified but none had evidence of being lined, a necessity on chalk for long term water storage. Micromorphological techniques will be used to identify the existence of linings.
Extensive environmental sampling will be utilised to complement the other surveys and produce a more holistic analysis.