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Those who frequent detecting forums will be very familiar with the claim from local clubs that they are the responsible, dedicated, local amateur archaeologists who are purely concerned with studying their local area whereas commercial outfits are a money-making pestilence, willing to go anywhere they can find a compliant farmer in pursuit of money.

But words are cheap. One of the loudest claimants is the Loughborough Coin and Search Society, yet it is planning a dig at Salisbury in September, 3 hours and 150 miles away from its base. It’s open to ALL, not just its club members and no doubt including those who go to the much-criticised commercial rallies. Amazingly, this is the THIRD time they’ve come (here’s the first).

There’ll be no Portable Antiquities staff there to record finds. (Who would want to be photographed at a detecting rally with Salisbury cathedral in the background?)


Thanks to one of our Founder Members, Goffik, for this splendid image.

First an easy one: where is it?

Second, apart from by air and water, which other way is there to get there?

Third, apart from by walking, how could you then get up to the castle?

We continue our trip around some Cornish hamlets with a visit to Tregeare in the parish of Egloskerry.

Tregeare was recorded in 1416 as ‘’Tregayr’ translating from the Cornish language ‘tre ger’ meaning ‘farm by a fort’. From this, we can conclude that the name probably derives from the hillslope enclosure to the north of the farmstead at Tregeare Rounds.

Tregeare Rounds, once recorded as ‘Dameliock Castle’ with this being a false name, was excavated in 1902 by S Baring-Gould.

This excavation suggested that human occupation was restricted to the area between the two main ramparts where finds consisted mainly of slingstones, perforated stones, spindle whorls and pre-Roman pottery.

The terminals of the innermost bank are raised up, presumably providing vantage points for those overseeing the herding of cattle in the centre of the fort. This seems to have been the purpose for which these hillslope forts were designed, probably dating from the second and first century BC.

Tregeare Rounds was surveyed by the Ordnance Survey in 1976 and comprises two sub-circular univallate and concentric enclosures totalling six and three-quarter acres, and on the eastern side, a five feet high scarp forming a curvilinear outwork encompassing a further three and a quarter acres.

The inner enclosure, of 295 feet internal diameter has a bank which averages six foot six inches high and a pitch up to six feet deep, with an overall width of just over 39 feet.

The outer enclosure of 558 feet internal diameter is much stronger; its rampart averages 10 feet high, the ditch six feet deep and the overall width exceeds 65 feet.

In the southeast a sunken way across the interspace of the outwork leads to simple entrances through the main and inner ramparts though in each case a low scarp extends across the gap. The relationship of this sunken way to the outwork is uncertain and complicated by the construction of a field bank.

In the north the outer ditch incorporates one shallow causeway which may be the result of ‘gangwork’; other interruptions appear to have occurred through agricultural activity and the 1902 excavations.

A Cornish ‘hull’ is excavated into the side of one of the outer ramparts of Tregeare Rounds. This is described as an “adit 51ft long 5ft wide and 6ft high”, with soil from the excavation placed some distance away.

Cornish historian Michael Tangye describes hulls being used for underground storage of potatoes, cheese and other foodstuffs.

At one time Tregeare Rounds became associated with Arthurian legends:

The Arthurian associations of Castle Killibury stem from attempts to discover the location of Kelli wic, the name given in both Culhwch ac Olwen and Trioedd Ynys Prydein to Arthur’s residence in Cornwall. In 1900 Castle Killibury was suggested as Kelli wic for three main reasons: firstly that a hill-fort would be the most appropriate identification; secondly that the names Kelli wic and Killibury are similar; and thirdly because it was near Tregeare Rounds. This last argument is the one that tipped the balance in favour of this site, when the name alone gave it no better case to be Kelli wic than, say, Callington and Calliwith. This argument is, however, false.


With thanks to Myghal Map Serpren.

… by co-operating with those who say knowledge that’s everyone’s is theirs to withhold. We can do no better than to quote Paul Barford:

From past experience, this program almost certainly will NOT be telling the public about the relationship after quarter of a century of operation of this public-funded detectorists’ scam between the number of finds that are recovered ‘responsibly’, i.e., reported and recorded, and the vastly greater numbers that are not, and what this means in terms of the overall destructive effects of this exploitative hobby. 

By not telling the public about this, the object-centred ivory tower eggheads of the British Museum will (again) not have to bother about telling the viewing public about the realities behind the silly publicity-spin ‘expedition’ jeep parked in front of their faux-classical façade aping imperial grandeur with the numpty in Indiana Jones garb standing next to it trying to look cool.”

One can’t help reflecting on what most archaeologists and educated people elsewhere in the world think of this image and the official involvement in it. We doubt if they are thinking what the British Museum imagines they do.


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

Trencrom Hill in West Penwith, Cornwall was recorded as ‘Torcrobm’ in 1758 from the Cornish ‘tor crom’ (in later Cornish ‘crobm’ because as in all other languages, evolution of a tongue occurs) meaning ‘hunched bulge’ with tor meaning quite literally ‘belly’. Learn more about the Cornish language, Kernewek here.

Finds of Neolithic axes on the slopes of the hill indicate that the hilltop was occupied during that era and it may be that the massive wall surrounding the flattish summit originated then, to be reused and strengthened during the Iron Age. This wall is up to 2.5 metres high on its external side and makes full use of the many natural granite outcrops. The fort is roughly pear-shaped in plan, 137 metres by 91 metres and there is a pair of fine entrances facing east and west with granite gate jambs. Trencrom provides superb coastal views; to the Northeast across the Hayle estuary and up to Godrevy Point, and to the South across Mounts Bay and St Michael’s Mount.

A number of circular features can be traced in the interior. Three are Bronze Age cairns and there are six round house platforms in the southern part of the enclosure. Other circular features are prospecting pits. Finds of pottery show Iron Age occupation from the 3rd century BC and that the site was well used well into the post-Roman period perhaps as late as the 8th or 9th century AD.

In folklore, the hill was the lair of Trecobben the giant. Trecobben is best remembered as the friend of Cormoran, who lived on St Michael’s Mount, and whose wife Cormelian he accidentally killed. Another legend speaks of games that they played, throwing rocks across to each other – the Bowl Rock at the northern base on Trencrom being one such rock that missed its target and rolled away.  

Various attempts at tin mining have taken place on/under the hill, known as the Wheal Cherry sett, between the mid-1800s and early 1900s. None were particularly successful.

The hill was presented to the National Trust by Lt Col C L Tyringham, of Trevethoe in March 1946, his wish being that it was to be regarded as a memorial to the men and women of Cornwall, who gave their lives in the service of their country during the two world wars, 1914 – 1918, 1939 – 1945. A plaque on the hill commemorates this fact.

With thanks to Myghal Map Serpren.

We have not nor ever will change our opinion of the proposed A303 road scheme with its hugely damaging tunnel. Our opinion has remained consistent since this letter (below), nicely summarising the situation, was published in the Daily Telegraph 28 April 2014. We don’t want to lose the free view from the A303, we don’t want the cuttings on either side of the tunnel to remove everything in the road’s path, and we don’t want a flyover landing alongside Blick Mead.

We will continue to resist this damaging Scheme and will lay down in front of the path of the tunnel if it comes to that. All we want is for Unesco to stand firm and not be taken in by late attempts to pretend the Scheme benefits the World Heritage Site. It does not. STAND FIRM UNESCO – BACK US UP PLEASE.

one of the joys of going on the current A303 is that one gets a glimpse of Stonehenge and I think that is a great benefit and it’s uplifting for people to see”

Jacob Rees-Mogg

It’s no secret that building new houses on the Green Belt instead of brownfield sites doesn’t really help first-time buyers who can’t afford most of the houses. No, the real winners are the big builders (who, remarkably, are the Government’s advisers on housing policy!)

But there are worse losses for the community than losing the amenity of the Green Belt land: losing Green Belt land that is also described as “a landscape of huge historical, environmental, and cultural significance“.


Protest in Dorchester opposing development of 4,000 new homes on ‘historic landscape’

Pandemic sparks a haul of treasure finds” … The British Museum said that more people were inspired to take up metal detector work as a form of exercise during the Covid-19 lockdowns, which added to the unexpected increase of back garden discoveries made in 2020.”

An unexpected increase in back garden finds” during lockdown?! That makes no sense and has to be explained to the public. It’s what is being reported in every region, but think about it: (a.) is there more treasure in back gardens and (b.) wouldn’t they have detected their back gardens very thoroughly as the first thing they did when they first bought their detector? What human being wouldn’t?

Does anyone care to guess where most of those extra finds (and extra Treasure rewards paid by the public) during lockdown actually came from? (No baloney please).


More Heritage Journal views on artefact collecting

As everyone knows, the Trust has banned trail hunting on its land due to public pressure, a consideration of “the appropriate use of charitable funds, and the risk of reputational harm to the Trust”.

Yet it still tolerates game shooting providing “it is evidenced-based, humane and safeguards local wildlife populations“. But as to that, consider this tweet by the Campaign Against Cruel Sports:

We can exclusively reveal that a staggering 23,990,188 pheasants and partridges were shipped into the UK in 2021. The vast majority of these birds start off life in factory farms in France. In 2019, we exposed the horrific conditions at a number of French game farms supplying the UK shooting industry. Despite the propaganda from @BritishGame and others, the reality is that the shooting industry is propped by by huge factory farms, where birds who are used for breeding spend their time in tiny wire cages.

So is that also an inappropriate use of charitable funds and inhumane? Perhaps the Trust will explain the difference between sporting cruelty to foxes and sporting cruelty to game birds?


Living in Cornwall, the sheer amount of prehistoric remains all around never fails to amaze me! Take, for example, the small hamlet of Dowran in the parish of St. Just in Penwith.

Dowran, such as it is, can be seen from the northeastern flightpath into Lands End Airport, and was first recorded in 1245 when it was spelt ‘Doueron’. It lies in the shadow of Bartinney Hill, atop which lies an enclosure containing eight round cairns known as Bartinney Castle.

Image © Google Earth.

The name Dowran is Cornish and is derived from the Cornish language ‘dowr-an’ meaning ‘watering place’.

Many of the fields around the hamlet and farm have their very own unique names, many of them in Cornish, Burrow Field, Hammon Moor, Henas, Croft Leskeys, Radannack, Park Skeber, The Spearn, Stalmac, Strakeshaw amongst others.

The hamlet is surrounded by ancient sites including traces of an Iron Age enclosure, an early Medieval enclosure, and evidence of a Bronze Age barrow and there have been a number of finds of Mesolithic flint tools.

On the image below, from the Cornwall Council Mapping website, the red dots indicate the Prehistoric entries on the Heritage Environment Record. As you can see, for what is relatively empty farmland, there was a lot of activity here in the past!

Image © Cornwall Council

Many fields in Cornwall are named particularly in Penwith and the late P.A.S. Pool wrote a small book on the subject called appropriately, ‘Field names of West Penwith’, published by Agan Tavas and available from their website.

With thanks to Myghal Map Serpren.


April 2022

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