| 6 November 2003
Bronze Age settlement on Isles of Scilly
Cornwall County Council (England) archaeologists have discovered a previously unknown Bronze Age settlement on the Scilly island of Tresco whilst monitoring the construction of a new playing field. The excavation has so far uncovered the remains of five houses, other stone buildings and walls which have survived just a few centimetres below the surface.
The main buildings were circular or rectangular, with remains of porches, internal walls, hearths and quernstones for grinding corn. Pottery shards suggest that the site dates back about 3,500 years. The earliest record of human habitation on the islands is dated to the same period: there are Bronze Age barrows, passage graves and stone coffins on nearly all of the Isles of Scilly. The Tresco buildings are similar in type to those excavated on Nornour in Scilly’s Eastern Isles in the late 1960s and early 1970s, according to Cornwall County Council. Nornour shows evidence of continuous occupation and refinement through the Bronze and Iron Ages, and some buildings had been used as a Roman shrine up to the fourth century CE.
Because of the importance of the site, Tresco leaseholder Robert Dorien-Smith has now decided to move the playing field some 20 yards to the north. Charlie Johns, a senior archaeologist from the County Council, said: “We have been amazed to find these remains so close to the surface of the ground. It is great for the people of the Isles of Scilly that the Tresco Estate has decided to move the new playing field in an effort to preserve these historic findings.” The features have been cleaned and recorded by archaeologists from County Hall, Truro, and have been reburied for posterity. A site report is expected in two month’s time.
Source: Western Morning News (4 November 2003)
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