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(The Piltdown Man hoax)

Name Derivation

General Details

Piltdown is a collection of small hamlets on a down on the southern edge of the Ashdown Forest , the area is one of heath land and shrubs.

The area near the golf course is claimed to have a Plague pit where victims from the nearby villages Fletching , Maresfield and Newick buried their dead when the Black Death struck in 1348 . This might explain why the churches are still at the village centre unlike Isfield where the church is a long way from the present village.

In 1912 a skull was unearthed by Lewes solicitor Charles Dawson, it had a human head and an apes jaw. Dawson who was also a geologist and fossil hunter discovered the skull close to some bones of elephants , hippopotamus and beaver in a strata uncovered by a nearby stream. The find caused a great deal of conjecture, as it was felt to be the missing link between men and apes, and was christened Eoanthropus Dawsoni (The Dawn man). The find became known as the Piltdown Man and in the 1920's the local public house was renamed to reflect this. The find was to remain the subject of investigation until 1949 when Dr K.P.Oakley examined the head and jaw bone with a new flourine dating test. He found that the head was from a medieval skeleton and the jaw from a young orangutan, the hoaxer has never been found.


Piltdown has very few services with the exception of the Piltdown man public house , a golf course and a vineyard.

The nearest main services can be found at Uckfield about 5 miles to the south east where you can find many shops and a train service to London .


Piltdown is mostly heathland with sandy soils and is has very similar flora to the Ashdown Forest .

The views to the Isfield side of the down are very rural, as so are the ones to the north towards Fletching .

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