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17 November 2012
Neolithic monument unearthed in Cornwall

Archaeologists working a site at Truro, Cornwall, in the southwest England, have discovered the fragmentary remains of an enclosure built around 5,500 years ago. Preliminary findings suggest the eastern end of the site may represent a henge or possible causewayed enclosure dating to the early Neolithic period - circa 3800 to 3600 BCE.
     "A causewayed enclosure was a sizeable circular or oval area enclosed by a large bank and ditch," said Dan Ratcliffe, from the Council's Historic Environment Service.
     Recent research indicates that causewayed enclosures were constructed within a relatively short time frame. The concept seems to have originated in mainland Europe, spreading quickly through France, Germany, Scandinavia and into the British Isles. Causewayed enclosures in Ireland appeared earlier than those in Kent, with those in Essex coming in at a slightly later period.
     Around 80 sites with evidence of causewayed enclosures are known across southern Britain. If confirmed, the find at Truro would be the first discovered southwest of the border between Dorset and Devon, although the "tor enclosures" at Carn Brea and Helman Tor are thought to have been built at the same time and may have served similar functions.
     Among some of the remarkably well preserved finds are large sherds of Late Neolithic Grooved Ware pottery (a type of pottery that is first produced in Orkney, in the far north of Scotland), and an unusual slate disc engraved on both sides and deliberately placed within a pit. One side has a distinctive chequerboard pattern while the other has lozenges with arrowhead decoration.

Edited from Past Horizons (1 November 2012)

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