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5 May 2009
Ancient Cornish tomb saved for the future

Caerwynnen Quoit - also known as the Giant's Frying Pan and Pendarves Quoit - look like little more than a pile of rubble today, and is situated in a field outside Camborne (Cornwall, England). Like the quoits of Lanyon, Trethevy, Chun, Zennor and those on Scilly, Caerwynnen is a chamber tomb dating from around 3,000 BCE. Although the structure is a scheduled ancient monument, neglect led to its total collapse in 1967. However, plans are now being drawn up to re-erect it.
     Members and supporters of the Sustainable Trust met at the quoit to hear about its history and plans for its protection. The organisation, which has bought the monument and five acres of surrounding land near Troon with help from a Heritage Lottery grant, intends to restore and reposition the huge stones. Pip Richards, director of the Sustainable Trust, said: "Some local residents may be surprised to learn about this monument, which is so characteristic of the Cornish landscape. We feel the project to protect Caerwynnen Quoit is of major significance to the regeneration of the Camborne area and the protection of Cornish traditions and culture. We look forward to improving the site and running a series of events to raise awareness of this important part of our pre-history. It is a precious piece of our heritage which has been overlooked for many years."
     More than 70 people attended the event, including noted historian Professor Charles Thomas, who explained the significance of the site. "Potentially we have not just a Neolithic monument but a Neolithic landscape here," he said. "Our focus today is the restorable Frying Pan, a Penwith chambered tomb, and the project is able to employ archaeological techniques that were unknown 60 years ago when I started at the London Institute of Archaeology."
     Mrs Richards said: "I am delighted that we have secured this monument for future generations because quoits have always been seen as icons of Cornwall. Of course people have asked us why we have spent so much time and energy trying to buy this pile of old stones in a commercially priced field. But this 'pile of old stones' is as important a part of our heritage as the industrial and mining era that this area is famous for. Our ambition is to re-erect it as it stood originally - hopefully without any mechanical assistance. Our plans for the site are currently in the hands of the archaeologists and when we find out what we can do, we will start to work on them.
     Mrs Richards added that many people in the district can remember the quoit standing. She is running an audio project and would like to hear from anyone who would be willing to share their memories. She is also calling for volunteers to help organise a community picnic at the quoit as part of the Eden Project's "Big Lunch" on July 19. She can be contacted on 01209 831718. For more details visit www.sustrust.co.uk

Source: This is Western Morning News (29 April 2009)

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