View at Butts Brow with very blue sky and rolling green fields showing archaeological excavation in bottom left corner


The Big Dig starts this Summer with Heritage Eastbourne solving Eastbourne’s Stone Age secrets at Butts Brow


Very little of the Neolithic Causewayed enclosure at Butts Brow has  been excavated so between 16th and 31st July, a team of Archaeologists will be uncovering more of this rare monument using the latest scientific and technological techniques to tell the stories of people on the Downland, hidden for 5000 years.

Visitors are welcome throughout the excavation and we will be posting regular updates and live streaming from the site to our social media channels.

We’ll be running daily tours of the site at 11am, and on 23rd and 24th July, visitors will be able to find out more about prehistoric life with craft activities, prehistoric food and flint knapping  – all potential activities that took place on the site.

This excavation is the first event in the Big Dig Project, as part of Changing Chalk, a partnership of organisations supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund working together for the future of the South Downs.

In 2016, we started investigating an intriguing earthwork that appears to surround the hilltop above the Butts Brow car park near Willingdon.

A ditch was found to run around the hilltop with an associated bank made up of chalk, dug out of the ditch, but whether this barrier was complete or broken by openings is still unclear.

It was most likely created in the distant Neolithic era, around 5,000-6,000 years ago, when our ancestors were slowly starting to adopt a more settled lifestyle, beginning to farm and also clearing the Downs of trees.

It wouldn’t appear that this enclosure was defensive or that it contained settlement (the lack of many finds from daily life would support the latter) but perhaps it was built for more esoteric reasons. The Neolithic was an era of monument building with the first major flourishing of organised, large scale ritualistic and religious behaviour.

It is very possible that what we have at Butts Brow is connected in some way to the nearby Neolithic Causewayed Enclosure at Combe Hill....time will tell.

The Changing Chalk project is reversing the decline of the fragile chalk grassland, and connecting local communities to the nationally significant landscape on their doorstep. Led by the National Trust, the partnership connects nature, people and heritage. It is restoring lost landscapes and habitats, bringing history to life and offering new experiences in the outdoors.

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Butts Brow Archaeological Excavation

Type:Community Event

Butts Brow, Butts Lane, Eastbourne, BN20 9EP

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