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TVAS News: Ballamy's Showroom, Ropetackle, Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex

Excavations by archaeologists from TVAS (South) on the site of Ballamy's Showroom in Shoreham-by-Sea, West Sussex have revealed clues to the area's history. Despite the site having undergone several phases of occupation in the 19th and 20th centuries the archaeology beneath was relatively untouched and was found to include prehistoric, Iron Age, Roman and medieval features.

Apart from a few stray finds of prehistoric struck flints, the site and adjacent areas were lightly used in late Iron Age and early Roman times but with this use terminating before the end of the Roman period. No further use is documented until the late 12th century at a time broadly when the formation of New Shoreham is historically documented. The site is then well used during the 13th and 14th centuries for domestic occupation activities, perhaps as a part of a large landholding. Yet in common with many other medieval settlements across England, this use comes to an abrupt end in the late 14th century, an observation easier to make than explain, though epidemic disease, economic decline or, for a coastal town, naval warfare, may all have their part to play. Sustained reuse was not to take place again until 19th century terraced houses were built followed by a cinema, car show room, and shortly, residential accommodation which necessitated the excavations described above.

Click on the image thumbnails below for larger versions:

Excavations at the northern end of the site, showing the 19th century wall foundations. A 13th/14th century cess pit and a 19th century well.

A 13th/14th century hearth. A pair of excavated pits.

A pair of 14th/15th century pits.