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11 November 2017
Neolithic rock carvings on a capstone in Cornwall

An innovative use of 3D laser scanning has uncovered previously unidentified carvings in a quoit capstone in Cornwall (England) which could well rival and surpass the scale of similar carvings found at Stonehenge. The quoit in question is known as Hendraburnick Quoit, in the North East of Cornwall, near Davidstow. The study was commissioned by the Cornwall Archaeological Society (CAS) and it is believed that the carvings are associated with moonlit rituals in the Bronze Age.
     Dr. Andy Jones, from CAS, is quoted as saying "It (the Hendraburnick Quoit markings) is a unique find. There are lots of decorated monuments in the UK but for southern Britain it's very remarkable". He went on to add "We know that it was moved upon a stone platform. We've established that this would have probably been during the late Neolithic period but we think it may have been carved before it was moved".
     Probably of equal importance to the identification of the carvings is the technique used to discover them. Originally from Cornwall, Tom Goskar is a fellow of the Society of Antiquaries in London and he first started using 3D scanning back in 2002. Since then he has refined his techniques and uses a combination of photogrammetry and 3D scanning to pull the carvings out of their background.
     Tom had previously studied stones at Stonehenge uncovering a host of previously unknown markings but he believes that this stone could be more elaborate. He is quoted as saying "You can't help but wonder why people chose to make these markings. Hendraburnick is formed of very hard stone called quartz porphyry". He added that "We shall never know the true meaning but we do know, because of the sheer hard work involved, it must have been for an important reason".

Edited from Camelford & Delabole Post (1 August 2017)

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