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by Alan S.

For our second video tour of some of the sites of West Cornwall we revisit the Boscawen Un stone circle, near St Buryan.

If there’s a specific site you’d like to see covered in this series, please leave a comment and I’ll see what I can do.

by Alan S.

For some time now, I’ve been wanting to commit some of my site visits to video. Since moving to Cornwall earlier this year I’ve had limited time to get out and about, but am slowly putting together short films of some of the sites I’ve had the opportunity to visit.

So without further ado, here’s the first in the series, featuring the Men an Tol. Enjoy!

Look for more videos, coming soon!

As regular readers will know, for the last few years we have assisted in live tweeting the annual ‘CA Live!’ conference. Organised by Current Archaeology magazine, the dates for the 2018 event have now been announced.

As in previous years, the conference will be held at Senate House in London over two days. So take out your calendars and mark the dates: Friday February 23rd and Saturday 24th. In previous years, arrangements have been made for attendees to visit an  archaeological site in London, although details of this year’s trip have yet to be confirmed.

The conference has been extremely entertaining, educational and successful in the past, and once again some of the foremost archaeological experts will be presenting their latest finds and ground-breaking research of the past year or so.

And don’t forget the awards! Although nominees are yet to be announced, winners are determined by public vote, so these truly are the People’s Awards, which you can help to determine.

So to be sure of your seat and take advantage of the subscriber’s early bird discount, book your tickets as soon as you can.

Firstly, the bad. We’ve previously covered the plans to create a new bridge at Tintagel.

In our view (and that of many others), it will be completely out of keeping with the look and feel of this important area of Cornish Heritage, and will create a health and safety nightmare. The Kernow Matters To Us (KMTU) group posted the following on Facebook after a recent Council Meeting to discuss the planning application:

Tintagel Castle Theme Park to Proceed

A sad day as Cornwall Council has approved plans to build a huge new bridge between the mainland and the historic site of Tintagel Castle.

The vote was 13 for and 2 against.

There has been massive & widespread objection to the expensive scheme including from ‘Kernow Matters’ who were joined by senior Councillors and countless archaeologists in stating that this adds to the ‘Disneyfication’ of one of Cornwall’s treasured archaeological sites.

Critics of the £4m project say it will damage an area of outstanding natural beauty.

But English Heritage says it will help protect the ancient site in the long run and will allow safer and easier access.

In truth, it’s all about money and English Heritage who administer the site on behalf of the Duke of Cornwall view Tintagel as a tourist cash cow.

The Secretary of State at the Department for Communities & Local Government, Sajid Javid MP is believed to be calling the decision in to examine it further following a request made by Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty Unit.

Read more from Cornwall’s increasingly popular news source, ‘Cornish Stuff’

In better news, although the monument at Trethevy Quoit owned by English Heritage has been included in the 2017 Heritage at Risk Register, the 3 acre field in which the monument stands was acquired by the Cornwall Heritage Trust earlier this year, in a bid to preserve the monument setting. As mentioned in the Trust’s Annual Review 2016/17 recently released to members, a full geophysical survey is now planned for the field, along with targeted excavations to further understand and enhance the quoit and it’s position in the landscape.

 

To celebrate the 99th anniversary of Cecil Chubb giving Stonehenge to the nation, the Heritage Journal’s gift to the world is a game of ‘Stonehenge Snakes & Tunnel’ complete with complementary dice and player pieces. Printed out on two A4 sheets, or on one sheet for a travel version, the game can be laminated.
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See if you can beat the tunnel and tunnel supporters by sneaking a peak at those stones, reversing when you get to square 40 to enjoy a free view without the tunnel no matter what you throw. Enjoy being tunnel free -while you still can!
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[Click the image to embiggen]
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A friend of the Journal, Eve Boyle, recently documented her visit to Clachtoll Broch in North West Scotland, and has given permission for her story to be published here. So, it’s over to Eve:

Scottish Archaeology is all abuzz just now about the excavation of a broch at Clachtoll, on the west coast of Sutherland. On Tuesday, I was on the phone to Roland Spencer-Jones, chair of NOSAS, who tells me he’s spent a week digging at Clachtoll. “It’s wonderful!” he says, ”You should go”. On Thursday morning, Strat Halliday, once my boss, now retired (as if that were possible!) waltzes into my office to say he’s just been to Clachtoll “It’s fantastic! You should go.” That evening, Matt Ritchie, Forestry Commission Archaeologist, texts me – “Just been to Clachtoll. It’s amazing! You should go!”

So yesterday I drove the 270 miles north and this morning (Saturday) stood on Clachtoll. And you know what? It is wonderful, and it is fantastic, and it is amazing. And you should go!

Why?

Imagine, children, that you are gathered round the TV on a Saturday evening, watching Strictly. Dad’s in the kitchen, cooking dinner (he pretends not to like Strictly, but he’s watching it too, on the wee kitchen TV). And then (perhaps because he’s distracted by Louise Redknapp) a spark catches – your house is on fire – you all rush out – but, before the fire brigade arrive, the roof and the upstairs floor all catch fire, burn and collapse, followed by the walls, which collapse and dump hundreds of tons of stone onto what used to be your living room. Luckily, you all escaped (including sheepish dad), but the house is trashed. And, you know what? It’ll be two thousand years or more before anyone tries to dig it out and find your stuff.

And that, kind of, is what seems to have happened at Clachtoll. Set into the floor is a stone mortar, filled with grain; all carbonised; that was meant to be someone’s meal, but it didn’t happen: they all left in a hurry and the fire burned the grain, still in the mortar.

Fifteen years ago, I spent a tremendous week surveying this broch with my friend and colleague Ian Parker. We peered and poked as much as we could into what was largely a huge pile of stones. I crawled into spaces to take measurements (I was a bit more sylph-like then, but still had to be pulled out by the ankles once or twice), and we wondered what might lie under all that rubble. Historic Assynt, who lured us up there for that survey, have spent years trying to make this project happen, so it was just fabulous to be there today.

Take a bow, then, Historic Assynt, and their professional partners in this project, AOC Archaeology Group. You can read much more (and see much better photos than mine) on their websites:

https://www.facebook.com/historicassynt/
https://www.facebook.com/aocarchaeology/


Many thanks to Eve for that report. If you’ve visited an excavation or heritage site during the summer, why not drop us a line or two about it so we can spread your story?

 

A Personal post by Alan S.

Regular readers will know of my love for all things Cornish – in particular the prehistoric heritage of the Duchy area, which has been covered here from time to time.

I am pleased to say that, although it took much longer than originally anticipated after my first visit to the area in 2002, I am finally moving from the smoke of London to reside in Cornwall!

My nearest major monument upon arrival at my destination will be a major tor enclosure, occupied between 3700 and 3400 BC. The tor is visible from miles around and is a major landmark in the area, partly due to a 90ft Celtic Cross, erected on the summit of the tor as a memorial to Francis_Basset, 1st Baron de Dunstanville and Basset.

I’m talking of course, of Carn Brea, situated between Redruth and Camborne.

Valentine’s Series, Souvenir Post Card

The site was excavated in the early 1970’s by Roger Mercer, when traces of platforms for Neolithic long houses were found within the ramparts. In fact, the excavations coined the use of a new site type, ‘tor enclosure’, of which several further examples have since been identified within Cornwall.

Over 700 leaf-shaped flint arrowheads found clustered around the main entrance to the enclosure have been interpreted as one of the earliest indications of ‘warfare’, evidence that the site was attacked by warriors armed with bows and there were also suggestions that the houses had been burned down.

©Cornwall Historic Environment Service.

The hilltop has been the site of human activity through many periods since, with finds of Bronze Age tools, Iron Age (and much later) mining activity, and even a small number of Roman period finds.

There is a well on the northern slopes which is related to a folk tale of a Giant, who picked a fight with another nearby Giant, ‘Bolster’ who lived on St Agnes Beacon. This story is duplicated throughout Cornwall – the Giants of Trencrom and St Michael’s Mount for instance having a similar tale of combat.

To say I’m excited to be moving to the area would be an understatement, and I look forward to bringing  more news and stories of the Cornish prehistoric period to the Heritage Journal in future months.

 

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is seeking to appoint a new Chair of Trustees from November 2017. There are also vacancies for four Trustees.

Chair

Voluntary and unremunerated: reasonable expenses reimbursed.

Location: Flexible

The Council for British Archaeology (CBA) is seeking to appoint a new Chair of Trustees from November 2017. The CBA, based in York, is a UK-wide educational charity working to involve people in archaeology and promote the appreciation and care of the historic environment.

Working with the Trustee Board and Executive, the new Chair will make sure that the Council for British Archaeology develops and delivers a new ambitious strategy for change in accordance with its charitable aims and to secure its long-term sustainability. The new Chair will champion the educational objectives of the Council, recognising how access to archaeology can inspire young people across the UK.

The Chair will lead the organisation in the next phase of its development to build the role that a progressive archaeological organisation can play in the twenty-first century, growing its impact, profile and financial sustainability.

The Board is seeking someone with good change and business experience as well as strong ambassadorial skills to work with a wide range of stakeholders. In the new Chair the Board is seeking someone with experience and enthusiasm for heritage or archaeology to provide leadership for the Board along with support and challenge to the Executive.

Commitment up to two days per month, term 3 years, renewable.

Closing date for nominations: Friday 21 July 2017

Trustee vacancies

Following the retirement of a number of existing trustees having completed their full term, there are vacancies for four new trustees for election at the AGM in November 2017. The CBA is particularly seeking trustees with strategic experience in fundraising, marketing and communications, and business management.

All trustee nominations for election at the 2017 AGM must be received by 6 August 2017.

For further details and for an informal conversation about any of the above vacancies please contact Dr Mike Heyworth MBE, CBA Director, director@archaeologyuk.org.

We’ve spoken many times on the Journal about the lack of sensitivity when it comes to local opinion at heritage sites – Stonehenge being the prime example. And last year we highlighted several issues at Tintagel in Cornwall where the heritage of the site seemed to be taking a back seat to the need for cash generation for English Heritage’s (EH) coffers, and to hell with the history.

Sadly, once again it seems that EH’s need for finance is over-riding any consideration for the actual history and heritage of the site at Tintagel, which was the seat for several kings of Dumnonia in the early medieval period – a fact apparently of no interest to the site’s guardians. Read the rest of this entry »

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