Over the next six months starting in November, the survey, which is supported by the Friends of Preston Park, will try to detect and understand any archaeological features which lie beneath the surface of the park.
Brighton and Hove has a rich archaeological history and the area around Preston Park is no exception.
Dr Jaime Kaminski who is leading the archaeological component and interpretation of the study said: “The park is situated in a valley bottom which has always been a natural communication route. It is no coincidence that the modern London Road follows that same route today. This goes someway to explaining why the area has been attractive to people for so long.
“Numerous prehistoric stone tools have been found in the vicinity; a Roman villa was located in what is now Springfield Road; an early Saxon cemetery overlooked the park, and the medieval village of Preston was sited on the park’s northern edge.”
Dr Kaminski, from the university’s School of Environment and Technology said there will be no excavation in the park. “Instead we will be using two different geophysical survey techniques to assess what lies beneath the surface of the soil.
“The first is magnetometry which allows us to scan large areas quickly. Sensitive measuring equipment is used to detect anomalies in the earth’s magnetic field. This is particularly useful for identifying archaeological deposits such as building remains, ditches, pits and burnt areas.
“Where magnetometry is not suitable we will use resistivity survey. In this case a device passes a small electrical current through the earth and measures the relative differences in resistance. These measurements are then used to map potential features such as ditches, pits, and building remains.”
Brighton Museum’s Archaeology Curator, Andy Maxted, said: “Taking into account the numerous prehistoric stone tools found in the area, and the location of a Saxon cemetery on the ridge overlooking the park, we hope that our survey will produce some interesting results. Undeveloped green spaces like this within the city’s boundaries could give us a window into its intriguing past.
“We hope to undertake a number of surveys like this over the next few years, so if you see us out with our survey equipment do come and say hello - and see what we have discovered.”
The results of the Preston Park survey will be released next May, at an event to be held in the Park and at Preston Manor over the May Bank Holiday.