Eastbourne Ancestors exhibition, photo by Graham Huntley

Eastbourne Ancestors: Now closed, new Summerdown Exhibition opens 16 March 2015!

Saxon Man

A story of life from the bones of the past

After archaeological digs, thousands of hours of scientific analysis, investigation, planning and 3D reconstruction, the ground-breaking Eastbourne Ancestors exhibition was open during 2014.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this project began in 2012 with bone analysis dating back to Neolithic times, and is the first time such an extensive examination has taken place on one collection in the UK.

With 12 skeletons selected for further analysis, discover their story, when you visit the Eastbourne Ancestors.

Please note the Ancestors Exhibition has now ended. Look our for the new Summerdown Camp exhibition opening 16 March 2015!

Discover your ancestors at this ground-breaking new exhibition

The Beachy Head Lady © Jarrold Publishing/Eastbourne Borough Council

Meet the Beachy Head Lady at Eastbourne Ancestors

A rare and unexpected discovery in the UK of a sub-saharan African dating back to Roman times, found at Beachy Head. Analysis shows she grew up here - what's her story?
3D reconstructions

2D & 3D Cranio-facial Reconstructions

Gaze into the eyes of our ancestors through our extensive cranio-facial reconstructions conducted by leading UK experts.
The Pavilion cafe

Visit the cafe

Pop into the exhibition cafe for refreshments and tasty light bites, open during exhibition hours.
Skeletons, copyright Jarrold Publishing/Eastbourne Borough Council

From our extensive collection of Roman and Saxon remains, discover...

   What they looked like?

      What did they do for a living?

         What social status were they?

            What did they eat?

               Had they suffered illness in life & how did they die?

                  Where did they come from and where did they live?


2D & 3D Cranio-Facial Reconstructions

Meet several of our ancestors at the exhibition following 2D and 3D facial reconstructions by leading academics. Below is our Saxon lady found buried on the site of ECAT at St Anne's Road.

Visit for FREE

Wicker people, photo by Graham Huntley

Visit for FREE or pre-book a tour in advance. Gift shop, guide book and cafe also available.



Become a Bone Detective

Activities for children, photo by Graham Huntley

Learn how to examine a skeleton for clues of who they once were and how they lived in our exhibition lab!



The Project

Eastbourne Ancestors skulls

After nearly two years of analysis, discover how the project first started and the science behind the biggest project of its kind.

Beachy Head Lady

Latest News

Eastbourne Ancestors Exhibits Pre History Fingerprints

The stunning new Eastbourne Ancestors Exhibition is proving a real hit with visitors, highlighting some fascinating stories from Eastbourne’s past. One small exhibit, easy to overlook if you are in a hurry, displays some prehistoric fingerprints preserved in clay.

Eastbourne Uncovers Roman African Ancestor in Rare Archaeological Discovery

Eastbourne Ancestors project has uncovered a rare archaeological discovery, a skeleton with African ancestry dating to the Roman period, providing further proof of the ethnic diversity within the province of Britannia.

Video by East Sussex Moviemakers

East Sussex Moviemakers video of the Eastbourne AncestorsEast Sussex Moviemakers came to visit the exhibition and here is their video by Harry Lederman (time 2:48) 

Video by East Sussex Moviemakers

East Sussex Moviemakers video of the Eastbourne AncestorsAlso from East Sussex Moviemakers, here is an atmospheric, CSI style film by Chris Conil (time 4:54).
Summerdown Camp WWI project

Coming in 2015...

The Summerdown Camp Project - exhibition opens 16 March 2015

This exhibition follows an archaeology project undertaken in 2014, and will tell some of the stories around the staff and 150,000 convalescing soldiers who passed through this enormous World War One camp in Eastbourne, before it disappeared without a trace in 1920.  At the time it was the largest of three purpose built rehabilitation camps for the wounded from the horrfic theatres of the First World War.

The exhibition will immerse the visitor in stories of hope, despair and romance, amid all of the turmoil of the Great War.

> More info

Did You Know?

Eastbourne Heritage Service have over 300 skeletons in their archive collection
Eastbourne Ancestors


Please note this exhibition has now ended.

Kids Get FREE Entry to the Redoubt Fortress

Kids go free at the Redoubt Fortress

All children visiting the exhibition receive a free sticker, providing free entry to the Redoubt Fortress next door.


Heritage Lottery Fund
Kids in Museums
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