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13 June 2005
Two Iron Age settlements unearthed in Cornwall

A team of archaeologists have uncovered the remains of two Iron Age settlements buried below the Truro College playing field. The team from Cornwall County Council's Historic Environment Service (HES), led by James Gossip, is carrying out an archaeological excavation at the playing fields in advance of construction work for the new Fal Building at the college. It is the biggest unenclosed settlement found in Cornwall
     Three large areas have been stripped by machine, targeting anomalies of possible archaeological interest following a geophysical survey carried out last year by StrataScan Ltd. The archaeological work is concentrated in one of the areas next to the site of the new Richard Lander School where an Iron Age settlement of 12 hut circles was discovered by HES last summer.
     An oval-shaped house, part of the same settlement, has been excavated and fragments of Iron Age pottery known as South Western decorated ware, dating to the second or first century BCE, have been recovered from the gully around the house. A 'La Tène' Celtic brooch of similar date was also found. Mr Gossip says the brooch, which will be cleaned with great care, is made of a type of bronze, probably tin. He thinks the owner would have used it to hold clothing together and may have buried it in the ground as part of a ceremony.
     Even more exciting is the discovery of another Iron Age settlement, comprising three round houses within an enclosure ditch. All that remains of these houses are holes in the ground to hold the supports for the wattle walls and thatched roofs and hearth pits. The pottery from the second settlement, still to be identified, appears to be of the cordoned-ware style which, depending on its type, may indicate that the second settlement represents a slightly later phase of occupation on the site. Mr Gossip estimated that 20 to 30 people must have lived at the site, which was on a high spot so that they could see who was coming and also their neighbours.

Source: This is Devon (7 June 2005), this is Cornwall (9 June 2005)

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