Whitehawk Camp

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Whitehawk Camp, with the grandstand of Brighton Racecourse behind.

Whitehawk Camp, on Whitehawk Hill is one of the earliest signs of human habitation in Brighton and Hove, Sussex, England. It is the remains of a Neolithic causewayed enclosure inhabited sometime around 2700 BCE and is a scheduled ancient monument. It has been described as one of the first monuments in England to be identified as being of national importance, and one of the most important Neolithic sites in the country.[1]

It is one of only twelve remaining examples of a causewayed enclosure from the Windmill Hill culture in Britain and one of three known to have existed in the South Downs. It reaches 396 feet above sea level and measures 950 feet by 700 feet. It is made up of four concentric ditches broken up by causeways. The first written mention of the camp (as "White Hawke Hill") was in 1587.

It was the first scheduled ancient monument in Sussex.[2] It was excavated three times between 1929 and 1935. The 1932 excavation was carried out by Cecil Curwen, and found the remains of humans buried with fossilised sea urchins.[3] The 1935 dig was a rescue dig by students of Mortimer Wheeler, when a road was driven through the camp. Much of the camp was, by that time, levelled under Brighton Racecourse and allotments.[4]

The remains of four complete burials were found, including the bodies of an eight-year-old child and a young woman buried alongside the remains of a newborn child, as well as some other human bones. Also found in the infill of the circular ditches were many flint tools, potshards and animal bones.[5] Only part of the causewayed enclosure has been investigated by archaeologists.


  1. ^ Russell, Miles (2002), Prehistoric Sussex, Tempus, ISBN 0-7524-1964-1
  2. ^ Brighton & Hove City Council, Whitehawk Hill
  3. ^ Kenneth J. McNamara, The Star-Crossed Stone: The Secret Life, Myths, and History of a Fascinating Fossil, University of Chicago Press
  4. ^ M.V. Seton-Williams (1988) The road to El-Aguzein, Kegan Paul International, p.32
  5. ^ Whitehawk Camp Brighton & Hove Council

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