From the Palaeolithic to post-Medieval Britain, our archaeology collection has developed since the late 1800s. It includes several complete large-scale excavation archives, and contains internationally important finds which reveal how our ancestors once lived.
The most important is the Whitehawk Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure which shows the first evidence for settled communities in Brighton, 5,500 years ago.
Another important discovery was the Brighton bypass excavation hoard, which offered archaeologists a unique opportunity to collect evidence about early settlements on the Downs and land use from the Mesolithic to Medieval times.
The unique 3,500 year old Bronze Age Hove Amber Cup is a significant highlight of the collection. It was discovered in 1856, in what is believed to be the grave of an important person of the time. The cup is one of Britain’s most important Bronze Age finds and could signify trade links to the Baltic region. Other important artifacts were found alongside the Amber Cup, including a whetstone, a dagger and ceremonial axe.
The collection also holds a regionally important collection of stone tools relating to prehistoric man and the Ice Age.
The collections are frequently used for academic research enquiries, whether relating to particular site assemblages or individual tools, vessels or finds.
Publications relating to the collection
- Brighton and Hove Prehistoric Peoples Research Project: an assessment of the human remains 2017 [PDF]
Current work on the collection
The 2014-15 Whitehawk Camp Community Archaeology Project was awarded Highly Commended for high quality work in the communication and dissemination of archaeological research by the Council for British Archaeology and the Marsh Christian Trust.