Carwynnen Quoit (G-B): a burial chamber in Neolithic Cornwall


The detailed investigation and post-dig assessments were a condition of the permission to restore the monument by English Heritage.

The restoration of Carwynnen Quoit was purposely developed as a community archaeology project and one of the aims of the fieldwork, as well as the post-fieldwork analysis, was to provide opportunities for the volunteer team to participate fully in all aspects of a research project under the guidance and encouragement of a modest professional team.

More than 45 people took part in both excavations in 2012. Some were experienced diggers, others had minimal fieldwork experience and some were complete novices.

The volunteers were encouraged to do as much practical work as possible and given training in not only digging but also recording, illustrating, processing and cataloguing the finds.

Our motives were guided by social sustainability, a lesser-known aspect of our work. To be able to restore what was perceived as just a pile of stones, unearth its history and well documented past, and then reintroduce the restored monument to an interested and varied audience was immensely enjoyable.

We regarded the site as we found it as a waste of resources, history and heritage. It has been satisfying that throughout the restoration, with the help of Cornwall Archaeological Unit, we have been able to demystify some aspects of archaeology and give people more of an insight and sense of ownership in one important area of their landscape.

We have been pleased to open the five-acre site to pedestrians and provide a pleasant picnic spot in ‘Cromlech Parc’.

As well as maintaining open access to the site, we will be able to provide more educational experiences here in the future.

One of our team, an experienced archaeological digger, said the excavation was one of the happiest she had been involved in due to the uniqueness of the site and the camaraderie of the disparate diggers involved.

There were lots of laughs and there was a really strong sense of doing something important and fascinating together."

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The team revisited the site with English Heritage backing at the end of 2013

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The heap of stones as they looked in 1999

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A greenstone pestle

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Burnt flint tools found at the site