Archaeology uncovered as scheme draws to a close

As the £20m Medmerry Managed Realignment Scheme at Selsey in West Sussex comes to a conclusion, fascinating archaeology of national importance has been unearthed at the site.

In summary, the Medmerry scheme, which is being carried out by Team Van Oord on behalf of the Environment Agency, comprises: construction of flood embankments, two rock armour revetments, and embankment and outfall drainage; forming a 110m wide breach in the existing shingle bank; constructing maintenance and emergency access tracks, and creating public car parks and viewing areas.

Medmerry, which is located between Selsey and Bracklesham in West Sussex, is one of the stretches of coastline most at risk of flooding in southern England.

Following extensive consultation on the 2008 Pagham to East Head Coastal Defence Strategy, the adopted solution for Medmerry is a managed realignment scheme under which new defences are being built inland from the coast, allowing a new 300 hectare intertidal area to form seaward of the new defences.

The new defences will offer 1,000 times better flood protection for more than 300 homes and the main road into Selsey, and are designed to provide flood protection against rising sea levels over the next 100 years.

The scheme will also create important new wildlife habitat and open up new footpaths, cycleways and bridleways. The seaward area will create new intertidal and freshwater habitats to compensate for some of the losses of similar habitats as a result of flood defence works around the Solent.

The scheme has unearthed fascinating archaeology that is radically changing our understanding of how people lived along the Sussex coast 3,000 years ago.

Click here for an audio clip in which Colin Maplesden, Environment Agency Project Manager, explains more.

Click here to watch a BBC South Today film (broadcast on 31 July) about the archaeology uncovered at Medmerry.

Or for more information about the Medmerry Scheme visit the Environment Agency website.

21 August 2013