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Archaeology South-East

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Seaford Head

A timely new initiative is developing ways to rapidly assess and record heritage sites at risk of accelerating coastal erosion related to climate change.

Films and Podcasts

Introduction Video: Watch Here

Results Video: Watch Here

If You Can Imagine, a spoken word performance by Alinah Azadeh: Watch Here

Podcast: Watch the teaser video | Listen to the podcast | Read the Transcript

Podcast also available wherever you get your podcasts, search Archaeology South-East Digs Deeper

Report and Data

Coming soon!

About the project

The project aims to assess and record the archaeology of Seaford Head before it is lost to coastal erosion.

It also trials the use of digital tools to engage local communities, starting a conversation about coastal change and its wider implications.

The project will be a replicable template for other heritage agencies, landowners, and community groups facing similar threats to their local heritage to help plan and deliver local responses.

Survey is already underway! Copyright: Chip Creative

Seaford Head

Seaford Head is a nationally important area of Chalk Downland landscape east of Seaford, East Sussex, featuring archaeology of multiple periods including a Bronze Age bowl barrow, an Iron Age hillfort and a Second World War reinforced concrete structure.

In the last year there have been significant cliff collapses in the area, which are expected to increase in frequency and severity with predicted rises in rainfall and storm events related to climate change.

Using a combination of non-intrusive archaeological techniques, including desk-based analysis of historic maps, and aerial, topographic and geophysical survey, we will assess and record the threatened heritage on Seaford Head.

The project is funded by Historic England with contributions from the South Downs National Park Authority (SDNPA). It draws together the expertise of archaeologists from Archaeology South-East (UCL), artists and videographers along with several key stakeholders, principally Seaford Town Council, the SDNPA and Historic England.

Digital Outputs

The latest digital outputs from the project are below! Follow our progress using #SeafordHeadProject on social media.

In the Media

Various news outlets have covered aspects of the Seaford Head Project. Click the titles below to read the stories.

Telegraph (£): Race against tide for archaeologists digitally restoring Seaford Head’s ancient hillfort

The Argus: Seaford Head heritage site being captured by drone

UCL News: Using drones to capture coastal heritage before it’s lost

Project manager Jon Sygrave was interviewed on BBC South East.

Connections/Further Reading

The Seaford Head project relates to a wider discussion on the management of heritage loss due to climate change, which is the focus of several current projects, notably the AHRC funded Landscape Futures project (of which Professor Rodney Harrison, UCL Institute of Archaeology is a co investigator) and the EU funded CHERISH project.  

Landscape Futures: https://www.exeter.ac.uk/research/esi/research/projects/landscape-futures/

CHERISH: https://rcahmw.gov.uk/services/research-and-recording/cherish-climate-change-and-coastal-heritage-eu-funded-project/