Prehistoric artefacts come home to Saddlescombe Farm

Aerial view of Saddlescombe Farm on the South Downs

Visitors at Spring Open Day or on a private tour to Saddlescombe Farm will have the opportunity to view a unique collection of archaeological objects that have been hidden from view for over 100 years. The National Trust have been working closely with Brighton Museum over the past few years to bring these objects home to the farm and with an army of volunteers and expert advice the cream of the collection will be on display in the new Learning Barn, which will also have its official launch on the same day.

Brighton Museum’s Curator of Archaeology Andy Maxted said: “We’re always keen to actively get objects back into the communities where they were found, so we’re delighted to be involved with this project.  
 
These objects show the continuous occupation of the Saddlescombe area over hundreds of thousands of years, including much evidence from the Neolithic period (perhaps from one of the local Neolithic communities we know feasted at Whitehawk in Brighton!).”
 
An axe fragment found at Saddlescombe Farm in Sussex
An axe fragment found at Saddlescombe Farm in Sussex
Royal Pavilion & Museums (RPM) Brighton & Hove has loaned over 200 archaeological objects some will be on display on the open day and in the future the whole collection will be an educational resource.  Many of these items were found around Saddlescombe by the Robinson family, who farmed here in the Victorian era.  
 
The objects are mostly stone tools whose age ranges from the lower Palaeolithic period (400k years ago) to the Bronze Age (3000-4000 years ago), but there are also pieces of Roman pottery, medieval floor tiles and two prehistoric loom weights. 
Map showing location of Saxon cremations near Saddlescombe Farm
Map showing location of Saxon cremations near Saddlescombe Farm
Crucial to this project was National Trust volunteer Janet Kennish, who stumbled upon the collection whilst researching Saddlescombe’s history. Janet says “This is a fantastic opportunity to tell the story of Saddlescombe, not only through these wonderful objects but also through the people who found them  - we know exactly who found what, when it was found and even which field it was found in”