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WHITEHAWK CAMP CAUSEWAYED ENCLOSURE

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The fairly well preserved earthworks of the large and complex multivallate Neolithic causewayed enclosure of Whitehawk Camp. Situated on Brighton racecourse, the site has suffered some damage by the racecourse and associated developments, as well as minor roads and housing. Excavations occurred in 1929, 1932-3 and 1935. An associated ditch was examined in 1991 during development adjacent to the site. The earthworks were surveyed by RCHME in 1993-4 at the request of English Heritage and Sussex County Council, and the site has been reassessed as part of the RCHME project on Neolithic Causewayed Enclosures and related sites. The site comprises four circuits of interrupted ditch, the outermost enclosing an area circa 300 metres by 200 metres (roughly 6 hectares). Traces of a bank exist for all circuits. The second circuit is unusual in appearing to feature an external bank. The south-west tangential ditch is a later prehistoric addition, perhaps a cross-ridge dyke. The status of the north-east tangential ditch, which, unlike this one, is clearly causewayed, remains to be determined. An anomalous oval mound on the north side of the second circuit may possibly represent a long barrow. Significantly the evidence for remains of molluscan fauna (snails) was overwhelmingly made up of open-country species, indicating that the ditches were dug and filled in an essentially grassland environment. This contrasts with the faunas from other causewayed enclosures in Sussex, most of which seem to have been built in short-lived clearings in woodland. Recent research into the dating of causewayed enclosures has indicated that the four circuits were built between the middle of the 37th century and the end of the 36th century cal BC (roughly about 3650-3500 cal BC) The major period of construction may have been confined to the second half of the 37th century cal BC (3650-3601 cal BC). Overall, Whitehawk was in use for probably 155-230 years.

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