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Cornish Monument

5,000-year-old Cornish monument to be restored to its former glory

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The Carwynnen Quoit is an ancient dolmen which once sat in a field a few miles from the town of Camborne in Cornwall, in South West England.  The 5,000-year-old structure collapsed in 1967 and plans are now in place to rebuild the ancient monument, restoring it to its former glory, according to a BBC report .

The Carwynnen Quoit, otherwise known as the Giant’s Quoit is believed to be a Neolithic burial chamber, however, much debate surrounds the true purpose of dolmens. Although many have been found with human remains buried inside or nearby the dolmen, it is still possible that this was a later use of the structure and not the original purpose.

Although to the untrained eye, the Carwynnen Quoit may appear as little more than a pile of stones, the ancient structure is a significant monument as discoveries at the site span many time periods, from the Neolithic period (3,500-2,500 BC), through to the Bronze Age, Iron Age and Medieval Period, demonstrating thousands of years of continued use.

Some of the findings made at the side include: a Neolithic flint arrowhead, Neolithic pottery, a hammer-stone, Bronze Age pot fragments, clay pipes, granite balls, pestle, Polcrebo cobble, and a painted slate disc. One of the items discovered is a stone musket ball, which is believed to have been fired upon the ancient structure in the Middle Ages – Neolithic structures, stone circles, and burial mounds were regarded with much suspicion among the Puritans of the 16 th century.

Musket ball found at the Quoit

Musket ball found at the Quoit. Photo source .

The capstone of the Giant’s Quoit, which is 3.3m long, 2.5m wide and 0.3m thick, once stood on three supports and was 1.5m high. It collapsed in 1834, was rebuilt but fell again in 1967. It has remained collapsed ever since. Originally, the structure may have had a covering earth mound, but there is no trace of this today.  Some of the stones contain markings made in ancient times, however, the meaning of the engravings is unknown.

Markings on Stones

Markings on one of the stones. Photo source .

The first stones of the Carwynnen Quoit are due to be re-erected by the current owners, the Sustainable Trust, which bought the site in 2009. The cap stone will be replaced on 21st June this year. Restoration follows a series of archaeological digs to establish how the scheduled ancient monument should be reassembled.

All over the British Isles and throughout the rest of the world you can find different types of Portal Dolmens. In Britain they are most common in the western parts such as Cornwall, Wales, Scotland and Ireland.

Despite all that is known about the Neolithic period and all of the archaeological investigations that have been made over the past 150 years or so, sites like Carwynnen still contain an air of mystery as exactly how they were used has not yet been determined with any certainty.

Featured image: Carwynnen Quoit from a C19th drawing. Pendarves House is in the background. Image source .

By April Holloway

Comments

Justbod's picture

Interesting article. I have always thought that what we do with our ancient monuments and archaeological sites is a really interesting subject.

Do we preserve them as we found them? Catalogue them and leave them, reconstruct them as we believe they were, or build over them? There are obviously arguments for each approach.

Sculptures, carvings & artwork inspired by a love of history & nature: www.justbod.co.uk

 

 

 
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