Prehistoric artefacts on display at Saddlescombe Farm

South Downs, Managing our downland landscape South Downs Managing our downland landscape
Close up view of a selection of small stone tools displayed in rows

Stone Age people were hunter-gatherers, moving from place to place in search of animals to hunt and nuts and fruit to eat. They hunted with spears and arrows tipped with flint and fashioned hand-axes and other tools out of it too. These could be used for cutting up food and for making clothing and shelters out of animal skins.

The 200 archaeological objects in the Saddlescombe Farm collection are mostly stone tools whose age ranges from the lower Palaeolithic period (400,000 years ago) to the Bronze Age (3000-4000 BCE). There are also pieces of Roman pottery, medieval floor tiles and two prehistoric loom weights.

Many of these items were found around Saddlescombe by the Robinson family who farmed here in the Victorian era. 

Royal Pavilion & Museums (RPM) Brighton & Hove has loaned the objects to the National Trust and the collection is being used as an educational resource as well as being on display to visitors on open days and special group tours. 

On handing over the items 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!).”

It was National Trust volunteer Janet Kennish who originally 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.”