Settlement and Metalworking in the Middle Bronze Age and Beyond

New evidence from Tremough, Cornwall

Edited by Andy M. Jones, James Gossip and Henrietta Quinnell | 2015

Settlement and Metalworking in the Middle Bronze Age and Beyond

New evidence from Tremough, Cornwall

Edited by Andy M. Jones, James Gossip and Henrietta Quinnell | 2015

ISBN: 9789088902932

Imprint: Sidestone Press | Format: 182x257mm | 250 pp. | Language: English | 93 illus. (bw) | 7 illus. (fc) | Category: Bronze Age Archaeolgy, Prehistory, Metalworking, Settlement Archaeology, British Archaeology | download cover

Between 2008 and 2011 excavations were undertaken by the Cornwall Archaeological Unit at Tremough, near Penryn, Cornwall. The site is situated on a plateau overlooking the Carrick Roads, historically one of the busiest waterways in Cornwall.

The excavations led to a large number of significant archaeological features being uncovered ranging from Neolithic pits to Bronze Age structures and late prehistoric enclosures. Foremost of these sites were a Middle Bronze roundhouse (circa 1500-1300 cal BC) and a large circular Late Bronze Age enclosure (circa 1000-800 cal BC).

Importantly, the roundhouse was found to contain stone moulds associated with the production of socketed tools and pins, and traces of metalworking were found inside the building. As such, the excavations have provided the first evidence for metalworking inside a Middle Bronze Age roundhouse in southern England, as well as radiocarbon dating for a range of metalwork forms. As part of the project finds of metalwork from other roundhouses in the South West region have been reassessed.

The Late Bronze Age enclosure is the first of its type to found in the South West of Britain. It encircled a large number of pits and postholes, some of which were associated with rectangular post-built structures. A carefully made cairn of burnt stone beside a large pit and a second large pit containing burnt stone and pottery were also investigated. These may have been associated with cooking or perhaps with a small-scale episode of metalworking, as the tip of a sword mould was found in one of the pits.

The significance of the investigated sites is fully discussed with regard to their relationships with other prehistoric sites on the plateau and in terms of their wider context with other sites in the South West and beyond.

1. Background to the investigations
Introduction
Report structure
Terminology used in this report
Overview of work undertaken on the site
Location and setting

2. Results from the excavations
PAC building
AIR building
Car Park 4
Area south of Car Park 4: Enclosure 2

3. The prehistoric ceramics
Introduction
Early Neolithic pottery from the PAC building
The pottery from the AIR building and Car Park 4

4. The prehistoric worked stone artefacts
Structure 1
Roundhouse 1
Enclosure 1 and associated structures

5. The moulds and metalwork
The moulds
The copper-alloy objects

6. Geochemical analysis of samples from Tremough
Preparation
Methods of analysis
Results and discussion

7. The lithics
Flint from the PAC building, including Early Neolithic pits [102]
and [105]
Lithics from Roundhouses 1 and 2 and Enclosure 1

8. The charred plant remains
Charred plant remains
Results
Crop plants and weed assemblages
Discussion

9. The charcoal
Methodology
Early Neolithic pits [102] and [105]
Bronze Age
Results
Discussion
Conclusions

10. Radiocarbon dating
Dating strategy
Results from dating programme

11. Discussion: pits, deposition metalworking and circularity
Early Neolithic pits
Early Bronze Age activity
Middle Bronze Age settlement
Late Bronze Age Enclosure 1

Dr. Andy M. Jones BA, PhD, MIfA, FSA

Andy Jones, BA, PhD, MIfA, FSA, is Archaeologist Team Leader with Cornwall Archaeological Unit. His PhD at Exeter University was focused on the earlier Bronze Age ceremonial monuments and barrow complexes in Cornwall and South West Britain. His research interests include the Neolithic, Bronze Age periods, as well as the archaeology of the uplands and coastal areas of western Britain. He is also interested in the regional variation between communities in prehistory.

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Henrietta Quinnell BA, PG Dip

Henrietta Quinnell, BA (Wales) FSA MIfA, was Lecturer in Archaeology in the Department of Adult Education 1970-99 at Exeter University and gained wide experience of prehistoric sites in South West Britain. More recently she has developed her expertise in the prehistoric pottery of the region in which she is now the acknowledged expert, publishing widely in regional and national journals.

read more

James Gossip BA, PG Dip

James Gossip, BA, PG Dip, began working as a field archaeologist in 1987 and has worked for Cornwall Archaeological Unit since 1999. He has directed several excavations investigating multi-phase prehistoric landscapes and specialises in running community archaeology projects, working with volunteer groups throughout Cornwall. He is a Member of the Institute for Archaeologists.

read more

Abstract:

Between 2008 and 2011 excavations were undertaken by the Cornwall Archaeological Unit at Tremough, near Penryn, Cornwall. The site is situated on a plateau overlooking the Carrick Roads, historically one of the busiest waterways in Cornwall.

The excavations led to a large number of significant archaeological features being uncovered ranging from Neolithic pits to Bronze Age structures and late prehistoric enclosures. Foremost of these sites were a Middle Bronze roundhouse (circa 1500-1300 cal BC) and a large circular Late Bronze Age enclosure (circa 1000-800 cal BC).

Importantly, the roundhouse was found to contain stone moulds associated with the production of socketed tools and pins, and traces of metalworking were found inside the building. As such, the excavations have provided the first evidence for metalworking inside a Middle Bronze Age roundhouse in southern England, as well as radiocarbon dating for a range of metalwork forms. As part of the project finds of metalwork from other roundhouses in the South West region have been reassessed.

The Late Bronze Age enclosure is the first of its type to found in the South West of Britain. It encircled a large number of pits and postholes, some of which were associated with rectangular post-built structures. A carefully made cairn of burnt stone beside a large pit and a second large pit containing burnt stone and pottery were also investigated. These may have been associated with cooking or perhaps with a small-scale episode of metalworking, as the tip of a sword mould was found in one of the pits.

The significance of the investigated sites is fully discussed with regard to their relationships with other prehistoric sites on the plateau and in terms of their wider context with other sites in the South West and beyond.

Contents

1. Background to the investigations
Introduction
Report structure
Terminology used in this report
Overview of work undertaken on the site
Location and setting

2. Results from the excavations
PAC building
AIR building
Car Park 4
Area south of Car Park 4: Enclosure 2

3. The prehistoric ceramics
Introduction
Early Neolithic pottery from the PAC building
The pottery from the AIR building and Car Park 4

4. The prehistoric worked stone artefacts
Structure 1
Roundhouse 1
Enclosure 1 and associated structures

5. The moulds and metalwork
The moulds
The copper-alloy objects

6. Geochemical analysis of samples from Tremough
Preparation
Methods of analysis
Results and discussion

7. The lithics
Flint from the PAC building, including Early Neolithic pits [102]
and [105]
Lithics from Roundhouses 1 and 2 and Enclosure 1

8. The charred plant remains
Charred plant remains
Results
Crop plants and weed assemblages
Discussion

9. The charcoal
Methodology
Early Neolithic pits [102] and [105]
Bronze Age
Results
Discussion
Conclusions

10. Radiocarbon dating
Dating strategy
Results from dating programme

11. Discussion: pits, deposition metalworking and circularity
Early Neolithic pits
Early Bronze Age activity
Middle Bronze Age settlement
Late Bronze Age Enclosure 1

Dr. Andy M. Jones BA, PhD, MIfA, FSA

Andy Jones, BA, PhD, MIfA, FSA, is Archaeologist Team Leader with Cornwall Archaeological Unit. His PhD at Exeter University was focused on the earlier Bronze Age ceremonial monuments and barrow complexes in Cornwall and South West Britain. His research interests include the Neolithic, Bronze Age periods, as well as the archaeology of the uplands and coastal areas of western Britain. He is also interested in the regional variation between communities in prehistory.

read more

Henrietta Quinnell BA, PG Dip

Henrietta Quinnell, BA (Wales) FSA MIfA, was Lecturer in Archaeology in the Department of Adult Education 1970-99 at Exeter University and gained wide experience of prehistoric sites in South West Britain. More recently she has developed her expertise in the prehistoric pottery of the region in which she is now the acknowledged expert, publishing widely in regional and national journals.

read more

James Gossip BA, PG Dip

James Gossip, BA, PG Dip, began working as a field archaeologist in 1987 and has worked for Cornwall Archaeological Unit since 1999. He has directed several excavations investigating multi-phase prehistoric landscapes and specialises in running community archaeology projects, working with volunteer groups throughout Cornwall. He is a Member of the Institute for Archaeologists.

read more









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