Eastbourne Ancestors exhibition, photo by Graham Huntley

Eastbourne Ancestors

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, this ground-breaking project revealed the incredible stories of Eastbourne's Ancestors.

Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, this project began in 2012 and is the first time such an extensive examination has taken place on one collection in the UK.



Eastbourne's incredible Ancestors

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, we discovered...

   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

Below is our Saxon lady found buried on the site of ECAT at St Anne's Road.

The Search Continues

Wicker people, photo by Graham Huntley

We are still uncovering stories about Eastbourne's Ancestors ... watch this space!



Buried Treasure

Eastbourne's AncestorsFrom the rare brooches with gems from India to the beautiful crystal spindle whorl, the treasures buried thousands of years ago can tell us even more about the people who lived here



If you want to help us discover more of these stories, get in touch! 

Beachy Head Lady

Latest News

Ocklynge Hill Excavation 17 - 30 August

Eastbourne Heritage Service in partnership with East Sussex County Council Archaeology have just completed a two week community excavation on a grass verge right next to Saxon Place just off the busy Willingdon Road, Eastbourne. This unpromising looking archaeological site has provided evidence of human burials dating back to the mid-Saxon period (c600-750AD) since road building uncovered around one hundred skeletons in the early C19th

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).

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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