Bid to uncover Dovecote secrets

Dovecote dig
Dovecote dig

The secrets of Motcombe Dovecote could be uncovered in an archaeological excavation next week.

Eastbourne Heritage Service is undertaking its third Community Archaeological Excavation, this time at Motcombe Gardens in the heart of Old Town.

The team has just one week to unravel the secrets of when the beautiful Dovecote that stands in the gardens was built.

It is thought to have been first constructed in the 1500s but as yet there is no definitive evidence.

Doves and pigeons were an important source of food for those that could afford to keep them, and this building was once used to house them and encourage them to breed in the nest boxes built into its walls.

Volunteers will help the heritage officer investigate the building and will also be learning skills needed to carry out archaeological investigations – such as section drawing, surveying and finds processing.

The team will also be experimenting with digital media to try to discover whether this technology can be used effectively on site.

The team initially tried to excavate the Dovecote back in March but unusually cold weather conditions led to its postponement until the summer.

Jo Seaman, heritage officer, said, “Following our failed attempt to investigate in March, I am really excited to be having another crack at dating this building and discovering more about it.

“With the recent weather conditions it would seem the heat may be our main problem this time, but certainly it will be more pleasant than digging in a blizzard!

“I am looking forward to having lots of visitors and we will be happy to show them any discoveries.”

The excavation starts Monday July 29 and runs to Sunday, August 4 and although all volunteer placements are now taken, the Heritage Service welcomes visitors to the site.

For more details visit or call 415396.