The main topic of this talk is the discoveries made over the last decade by the Culver Archaeological Project (CAP) in the Barcombe area just north of Lewes in East Sussex.

CAP was founded in 2005 by Robert Wallace to investigate the wider historic landscape surrounding the 3rd-4th century villa complex at Barcombe.  Prompted by a paper by Ivan Margary in Sussex Archaeological Collections 74, Rob discovered a substantial Roman road to the west of the River Ouse and instigated a programme of geophysical surveys and targeted excavations along the road’s corridor, identifying several sites of roadside activity and tracing the road’s alignment to the south of the villa heading towards the South Downs at Offham. This was a route considered by Margary as potentially more sensible than the last miles of the London-Lewes road down the eastern bank.

In 2011 CAP moved their investigations to Bridge Farm on the east bank of the river to locate the Roman London-Lewes road (Margary 14), where extensive geophysics undertaken by David Staveley led to the discovery of a substantial Romano-British settlement. Excavations at the settlement between 2012 and 2016 have suggested the foundation of a planned open settlement in the late 1st century AD. The London road entering the settlement at the NE corner appears to be 3rd century overlaying the filled 2nd century enclosure ditches and although directly on the alignment proposed by Margary it appears not to continue to the south of the settlement, justifying Margary’s hesitation over the route to Lewes and his consideration of a west bank route.

In preparing this talk the high importance and influence of Ivan Margary’s work to the Culver Archaeological Project’s research became increasingly apparent; indeed without his lead CAP would never have found the Bridge Farm settlement.

And that’s what Ivan Margary did for me and for the Culver Archaeological Project.

Roman roads and settlement at Bridge and Culver Farms, near Lewes, East Sussex;

or what did Ivan Margary do for me?

David H Millum ACIfA