– After searching for almost a century, archaeologists are trying to finally find conclusive evidence of a mysterious Bronze Age settlement hidden on the magnificent hilltop of Belle Tout on top of the Seven Sisters cliff in Sussex, United Kingdom.
It is believed that humans occupied this coastline for several thousands of years and previous discoveries in the area have ranged from prehistoric flintwork to early Bronze Age Beaker pottery.
Many of the monuments are at risk from coastal erosion and it is urgent to find the archaeological artifacts and prehistoric traces before everything is lost.
The Seven Sisters Archaeology Project is organized by the National Trust Organization and volunteers are welcome to participate.
“We don’t know for sure how much we’ve lost over the last 6,000 years due to coastal erosion.
Seven Sisters cliff. Image © National Trust / John Miller
But there is a good case for saying it was the largest prehistoric enclosure in the country. We will be investigating the heart of the settlement – likely to be Bronze Age. This is one of the most ancient and fascinating archaeological sites in Sussex.
The site at Belle Tout is already a scheduled ancient monument, a site of national importance,” says Tom Dommett, the National Trust Archaeologist.
At the center of this enclosure are the remains of a small settlement, and it was in this area that a possible shaft was first identified.
Hand and footholds carved into the rock show this was not just a natural fissure. This was an ancient place of great importance to our ancestors.
The prominent ridge at Bailys Hill seems to have been a focus of Bronze Age activity, with several burial mounds containing cremations and grave offerings as well as evidence of settlement and farming. Further work here may give us an insight into how people were living, working, worshipping and dying on this hilltop more than 4,000 years ago.
However, there are still many unanswered questions and through survey and analysis scientists hope to unravel some of the mysteries of this impressive monument.
Over 200 National Trust volunteers participate alongside professional archaeologists in the Seven Sisters Archaeology Project.