Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Discovering the past at Gunwalloe

The excavation taking place behind Dollar cove
This week an excavation organised by the National Trust and funded by the Trust’s 2015 Coastal Festival is enabling archaeologists to dig deeper into Gunwalloe’s fascinating history. The site has captured the imagination of local residents and archaeologists for over 60 years as features have eroded out of the cliff face and dropped to the beach below. Over a week long dig, excavations will be carried out by local volunteers under the direction of Dr Imogen Wood. Gunwalloe is an important site as is holds a fascinating mix of history in a relatively small area; From the Bronze Age and Iron Age remains of a Promontory Fort, to the 6th century establishment of a Christian hermitage and a powerful Dark Age Settlement and Royal Manor, followed by the creation of St Winwalloe’s Church in the 14th Century. Due to the fast rate of erosion the artefacts and the stories they tell us are at risk of being lost to the sea forever.

We are currently on day 5 of the dig and so far the remains of a potential medieval house have been uncovered. We have also found a huge midden- a medieval rubbish heap- containing pieces of animal bones, fragments of clay pot and lots of shells such as limpets. This gives an insight into the diet of the people at this time.
Probable wall of a medieval house

Sifting soil for artefacts
If you’d like to found out more you can visit Gunwalloe and watch as the excavation happens this week. This Saturday the 8th of August we are holding an open day where you can talk to experts, see the artefacts from previous excavations, make a clay pot and discover prehistoric cooking. Just drop in between 11am and 5pm. 

Thanks to everyone involved in enabling this project to rake place; local volunteers, the Cornwall Archaeological Society and Meneage Archaeological Group, Imogen Wood, John and Jenny Curtis of Winnianton Farm and National Trust members whose support has financed this project. 
Local volunteers having a break from working on the dig

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