Before Hastings tells the story of the local area from the end of the last ice age to the Saxons. It shows how migration from continental Europe brought farming and new technologies - first pottery, then bronze and iron. It includes the oldest man-made object in the Museum's collection, a beautiful flint hand axe that is at least 100,000 years old. There are other extremely unusual finds from the local area, including a Bronze Age pin, the only example of its type to have been found in Britain. Two hoards are featured - one believed to have belonged to a bronze smith, the other a pot containing over 140 Roman coins, presumably hidden by the owner for safekeeping almost 2,000 years ago.
There are special displays on the Roman bath house at nearby Beauport, and Charles Dawson, the perpetrator of the infamous Piltdown Man hoax, possibly the most audacious archaeological deception to have been uncovered.
Finally, we look at what archaeology is and you can get hands on with archaeological specimens and activities for younger visitors.
This is the first of three new displays that will fully incorporate our local history collections into the displays at Hastings Museum for the first time in over 50 years. The development of the town will be continued in The Story of Hastings in 66 Objects, whilst its history as a seaside resort from 1794-1964 will be explored in Wish You Were Here. Both these displays will be open from 25 June.