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Petersfield Museum HLF bid success

Petersfield Museum has received £100,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project to understand and conserve the prehistoric barrow cemetery on Petersfield Heath.

Led by a team of professional archaeologists and working with volunteers from the local community and groups such as The Friends of Petersfield Heath, this four-year project focuses on excavation of and research into this unique cultural heritage, whilst at the same time creating new educational resources and opportunities for schools and colleges, and information for the general public.

The project, which is also supported by the South Downs National Park Authority’s Sustainable Communities Fund, will enable local people of all ages to take part in fieldwork (including archaeological ‘digs’) and research that will lead to greater understanding as to how human activity evolved in the region, and perhaps evidence that the origins of Petersfield are much earlier than previously thought.

The 21 known barrows (all Scheduled Ancient Monuments) on Petersfield Heath form a unique barrow cemetery, which is one of the most impressive and diverse in South-East England, in particular being one of the largest and best preserved in the region.

These burial mounds are of Early Bronze Age date and comprise a mix of ‘styles’ that are more typical of Wessex, as seen around Stonehenge and Amesbury. Our project will investigate why this particular, mixed, cemetery developed here. We will look at how they were built, the impact on the environment and the implications for social organisation. We will also seek evidence for what activities took place here and where the communities lived.

Petersfield Museum is an accredited museum that, as well as offering social history and art displays and exhibitions, works with many schools, colleges, local groups and organisations to explore, preserve and record the heritage of the town and surrounding villages. Its dedicated team of staff, trustees and volunteers help visitors and researchers gain a deeper insight into the wider community of this part of East Hampshire.

Commenting on the award, Jeremy Mitchell (museum trustee), said: “Coming at an exciting time in the museum’s development, we are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund. We are confident the project will allow local people to learn more about their heritage whilst generating a range of educational opportunities and resources for all and raising the profile of Petersfield as a target destination within the South Downs National Park.”

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