Was this area’s oldest school?

10/2/15- Bexhill Museum Curator Julian Porter with the museum's scale model of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road. SUS-151002-164742001

10/2/15- Bexhill Museum Curator Julian Porter with the museum's scale model of the Bexhill to Hastings Link Road. SUS-151002-164742001

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Archaeological research on the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road site has produced some “extraordinary” finds including what could be Bexhill’s oldest school.

The finds were discussed at this week’s Bexhill Museum AGM.

District curator Julian Porter told members at St Augustine’s church hall last Wednesday: “What we may well be looking at is one of the earliest ‘schools’ discovered.”

Archaeologists working on a Neolithic flint-working site found so many fragments of flint that one interpretation is that someone was showing someone else how to prepare flint tools.

The museum will be required to house at least 50 boxes of archeological finds and half a million flints.

To do so it has begun the process of seeking Heritage Lottery Fund help in building a new wing to the Egerton Road museum comprising a pre-history gallery, meeting hall and much-needed office space.

The curator said the rapid expansion of modern Bexhill at the turn of the 20th Century built over and obliterated its ancient past. Now the detailed examination of the Link Road route was helping fill the gap in knowledge of the area’s past from the end of the Ice Age through the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and Iron Age, the Romans and the Saxons onwards.

The museum now had the fossilised remains of Hypsecospinus - a 140 million year-old plant-eating dinosaur. It had been named Joyce in honour of palaeontologist Joyce Austen, who found the first bones. The find included a juvenile and a sub-adult.

Museum chairman John Betts has already completed the initial documentation required by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

He told the meeting he would shortly be attending a meeting with the HLC to discuss the pre-history wing project.

He said: “They are definitely interested. They are looking more and more at community projects. This is why it is important that we get the town behind us. It has to be a proper community effort.”

The chairman said the response to the museum’s buy-a-bulb appeal had been “sensational” with around £3,000 raised towards the cost of converting the museum’s lighting to energy-saving LED. However, more cash would be needed to cover installation costs.

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