By Georgia Hardy
Nationally important artefacts, which have been hidden away for 17 years are a step closer to going on public display in Brighton and Hove.
At a council meeting yesterday (Thursday 22 October) Councillor Alan Robins expressed support for a campaign to provide a permanent gallery space for the extensive collection of archaeological artefacts.
A petition organised by Brighton and Hove Archaeological Society has gathered 3,000 signatures since March.
Councillor Robins, the deputy chairman of the council’s Economic Development and Culture Committee, spoke about “an unprecedented chill in budgets meaning it would require hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds to provide a new museum home for the artefacts”.
He said: “Nonetheless, we will be looking to secure significant external support.
“I am committed to making the most of the archaeological collection.”
The society’s director David Rudling said a permanent exhibition would offer great tourist potential, as there is currently “almost nothing” from the collection on display at Brighton Museum.
Mr Rudling said that there was enough space available at Brighton Museum since the local history centre had moved to The Keep.
Frances Briscoe, lead petitioner, said: “It is particularly pertinent in the light of the inclusion of prehistory and the Romans in the National Curriculum for Key Stages One and Two.
“We therefore call for the provision of suitable space for such a display in Brighton Museum and for resources to be secured to ensure the continuing maintenance, development and staffing for the display.”
Finds from nearby archaeological sites including Whitehawk Camp, Hollingbury Camp, Preston Park Roman Villa and Hove Barrow were removed from a permanent gallery in 1998.
The petition explains that the artefacts tell the story of Brighton and Hove over thousands of years and are a valuable asset that should be shared with residents and visitors.
Green councillor Pete West also welcomed the petition and mentioned an ancient barrow in Preston Drove. He joked that it was an early traffic-calming measure.