Sunday, 09 December 2012 16:46

The Big Dig

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After 15 days of hard graft, great camaraderie, fun and palpable daily excitement, the Big Dig at Carwynnen Quoit came to a fitting finale on 3 October: the excavation had revealed the full extent of the original footprint of this megalithic monument.

Massive socketholes for the three principal granite uprights were discovered. Two were investigated in full and the third was identified but was not fully dug (it lay under one of the main excavation baulks). Our major discovery was a largely intact and well-preserved artificial chamber “floor”. That this survived at all was partly to do with the fact that when the three granite uprights and the massive mushroom-shaped capstone collapsed in the 1960s earth tremor, they had fallen right on top of the area where they had once stood, and that this heap of stones had therefore protected the ground beneath.

The “floor” of the monument,an intact stone pavement,is made up of two elements. One is a narrow strip of compacted small stones which formed a hard-standing surface arranged in a doughnut-like circuit. At the front end of the monument,a fine narrow strip of the pavement extended well beyond the shelter of the capstone.

This is the first time that the original footprint of a monument of this type and great antiquity has been revealed by excavation in Cornwall. It shows that wider Megalithic architectural styles in far south-west Britain accommodated tremendous variety.

The mysteries of this site as uncovered to date are tantalising, but have yet to be fully revealed. This one-time Neolithic community project built over 5-6,000 years ago can be reawakened as a new twenty-first century community challenge to restore the monument to its majestic glory!

Read 20965 times Last modified on Thursday, 13 December 2012 20:59

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