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29 January 2015
The Giant's Quoit restoration project

In the heart of Cornwall (UK), at Carwynnen, is a field known locally as the Devil's Frying Pan. Located in that field is the now fully restored 6,000 year old Giant's Quoit. It has been restored by a team of volunteers and archaeologists, headed up by Jacky Nowakowski, the Lead Archaeologist of the Cornwall Archaeological Unit.
     The Quoit comprises three upright stones and a capstone. The Quoit had previously collapsed in the 19th. Century and had been badly put together by amateur Victorian archaeologists but it collapsed in the 1960, following a local earth tremor. The collapsed stones were then left in place to protect the site from erosion and agricultural development. In 2012 a major exercise to restore the Quoit began, culminating in a very moving ceremony in the summer of 2014 when the capstone was lowered in place, over the re-erected upright stones.
     A wealth of archaeology was uncovered and recorded over that 2 year restoration period, including the intact stone floor within the uprights, the remains of a Neolithic stone pavement and over 100 pieces of flint. All of the materials used in the construction appear to have been of local origin, with greenstone pieces travelling approximately 5 kilometres from Camborne and clay coming from the Lizard peninsular, 30 kilometres away.
     The project was primarily a community archaeology project and it that respect it was hugely successful, leading one member of the team to say "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". The 2 hectare site around the Quoit has now been saved from agricultural development and a small picnic area provided, to encourage future generations to enjoy one of our ancestors amazing structures.

Edited from Culture24 (13 January 2015)

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