Secret structure discovered under one of Eastbourne’s oldest buildings

Motcombe Gardens archaeological excavation SUS-180326-170943001
Motcombe Gardens archaeological excavation SUS-180326-170943001

A secret building has been discovered under one of the oldest structures in Eastbourne.

A community archaeological excavation currently going on under the Dovecote in Motcombe Gardens has uncovered another building underneath.

SUS-180326-170929001

SUS-180326-170929001

Members of the public have been visiting the site and can see the mystery building during the excavation by the council’s Heritage Eastbourne department.

On Thursday afternoon the whole area will be carefully backfilled but it is hoped more excavation can take place next year.

The site and bowls club is open from 10am-4pm today (Tuesday), Wednesday and Thursday.

Historian and Heritage Eastbourne manager Jo Seaman said the excavation had been exciting and various items found within Motcombe Gardens are on display for the public to see at Motcombe Bowls Club.

Motcombe School's archaeological club members in Motcombe Park this week SUS-180327-122536001

Motcombe School's archaeological club members in Motcombe Park this week SUS-180327-122536001

“The Friends of Motcombe Gardens are working with Heritage Eastbourne to unravel the fascinating story of part of this beautiful public space,” said Jo.

“Generous grants from the John Jackson Charitable Trust and the Old Town councillors’ devolved ward budget have enabled Heritage Eastbourne to carry out an archaeological excavation of the area to the north of the stunning medieval Dovecote.

“The initial idea was to examine the foundations of the building in order to find some material to date it with and understand more about the environment it once stood in.

“At the same time as the excavation Heritage Eastbourne staff and volunteers are processing the finds from the project and displaying those from previous years.

“Hundreds of visitors have been to the site to see what was going on and talk to the archaeologists and volunteers, including the children from Motcombe School’s Archaeology Club who helped out on Monday.

“The project has been an incredible success both in terms of what we have found beneath the ground and in our engagement with the brilliantly enthusiastic local community.”