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Site name Trethellan Farm, Newquay
Site number 1196
Burial codes 3001 3003 3007 3021 3023 3026 3028 3030 3035 3042 3046 3051 3053 3065 3071 3084 3091 3098 3101 3105 3112 3128 3143 3153 3181 3200 1005 1007 1009 1021 1023 1025 1028 1030 1031 1042 1046 1051 1065 1071 1072 1084 1091 1098 1104 1105 1106 1108 1110 1111 1121 1123 1128 1143 1153 1181
14/1300bc-8/700bc A settlement site containing a burial and some evidence for possible ritual features. The site appears to have been systematically abandoned and deserted, occupation ceasing suddenly. The practices (dismantling, levelling, backfilling postholes, burying items etc) appear to suggest a degree of completion process, but for a settlement site rather than a tomb. Hearths were the only items buried intact.

Hut 2222 was c9.5m in diameter and the second largest building in the settlement. Under the hearth was burial 2604, which appeared to have taken place while the house was occupied. The poorly preserved remains of a skeleton of a young adult male were found within a subrectangular pit 1.84m x 0.54m (narrowing to 0.3m), aligned NE/SW, head to N. The bones were partly articulated and fragmentary, appeared to be from an extended inhumation, and their poor state may have been due to the activity going on over them. There was no evidence for a container of any kind. After the burial, a slate lined oven box was set into built up ashy spreads which in turn covered the burial. The burial pit had cut across two other pits to the south west. Among occupation spread on the northern part of the hut floor were a human tooth (from an adult c17-35) and splintered fragments of a human jaw. These may belong to the burial under the hearth.

RC: burnt wood from hearth of Hut 2222 UB-3114 1141 +/- 20

There were several features on the site which were not readily explainable, and which the excavators labelled ritual. There was a hollow south of Hut 2001 (136/2021) which contained pits with domestic debris (some sealed), evidence of successive levelling and dumping of charcoal rich organic material, the laying of paving, lighting fires, sealing of materials not in pits, culminating in a final layer of dark silty material. It may have been a midden, a site for ritual feasting, a votive pit but there is no unambiguous purpose, despite the repetitive nature of much of the activity.

RC: from charcoal in an early burnt spread UB-3110 1020 +/- 40

There was an oval hollow 2765 12m to the south of Hut 2222 with several phases including burnt spreads, deposits of rich organic materials, paving, pit digging, levelling, and covering of loamy spreads, in repetitive fashion.

RC: wood carbon from layer 2166 UB-3111 1084 +/- 20

There was a small stone building 3.2m square built into the foot of a scarp, with 4 drystone walls, an entrance offset in the front wall, very clean floor, but outside it a notably worn area. No obvious function for it could be divined. Organic material had been deposited in it, there were some Bronze Age sherds in two scatters, and the doorway position would have restricted light, perhaps by design. By chance or otherwise the burial in Hut 2222 was aligned on this building's entrance. Its dating is based on RC dates from adjacent areas.

RC: dates for the site overall ranged from UB-3108 1905 +/- 335 (abnormally small sample) to UB-3118 1031+/- 40 for the site. All but three of the sixteen dates obtained were in the 1266-1031 bc range.
100bc-AD43 There was an Iron Age cemetery overlying part of the Bronze Age settlement site, consisting of 21 oval, sub-oval or sub-rectangular inhumation pits, unlined and unmarked. On the evidence of metalwork, the site was in use as a cemetery between the 2nd/1st Centuries BC and the 1st Century AD. Only 14 graves produced human remains in situ, with two graves having remains in their backfill. Remains were in poor condition owing to the soil. Graves were generally well spaced, only two cases existing where graves cut each other. The majority were oriented NS, three were NNW/SSE, and one SE/NW. The smaller graves tended to be more oval in shape and shallower, and dug in the western part, the larger, deeper and more sub-rectangular tended to be in the eastern part of the site. There did not appear to be any reason for this except the nature of the ground in which they were dug. The graves varied in length between 0.64-2.26m, in width 0.84-1.46m and in depth 0.31-1.04m. The graves were dug into bedrock and backfilled with compact shillet deposited in a single episode. The burials were as follows:

2143 single inhumation of a female adult c25-35
2140 single inhumation of a juvenile adult at low end of c17-25 age range, La Tene III bronze brooch with (rare) coral disc in northern end close to head
2141 single inhumation of a probable male adult c25-35, most of the skeleton surviving. There was some evidence for disturbance shortly after burial, the body being thrown back in against the side of the grave, possibly after robbery.
2139 single inhumation of an adult c25-35

2182 single inhumation of an adult c17-25, copper alloy penannular brooch of 1st Century BC to 1st Century AD in chest region
2184 single inhumation of a possible male adult c17-25, La Tene II bronze brooch in northern end close to neck
2146 single inhumation possibly of a juvenile c5-10
3018 single inhumation of an adult c17-25, with an iron involute brooch of late 3rd Century BC to 1st Century AD period in the backfill
3051 single inhumation of an adult c17-25
3095 single inhumation of a probable adult
3073 single inhumation of a probable adult
3015 single inhumation
2142 double inhumation possibly of an adult and a child c5-6, accompanied by a badly preserved bronze brooch and an iron spiral ring in northern end close to head. The ring was similar to one found at Gussage All Saints in Dorset (Site 1173), there dated to Phase 3 (100 BC-AD80).
2144 double inhumation possibly of a child under c10 and a female adult
3040 disturbed human skeletal material in backfill, possibly single inhumation
2145 disturbed human skeletal material in backfill, possibly single inhumation, three bronze rings at northern end close to where head would be
2358 no surviving remains, La Tene III bronze brooch in northern end
3012 no surviving remains
3053 no surviving remains, common La Tene III bronze brooch in backfill
2376 no surviving remains
3032 no surviving remains

Of nine undisturbed examples, all were head to N, six of these facing W and therefore on their right sides, two E, and one uncertain from the surviving material. The bodies appear to have been crouched, from phosphate analysis of the graves. Contraction appears to have been slight. No other grave goods were found.

There were traces of other human skeletal remains in the form of fragments in the top of the fills of 2145, 3095, 3040 and 2144, not all from disturbance of the grave itself. This may mean that the cemetery was preceded by an earlier deposition phase on the site.

The excavator noted that a group of graves appear to cluster around the front of the Bronze Age stone building. If there was a place relationship, then this implies some Iron Age community's view of the older settlement area and features which called on it to respect that area. Only two burials in fact touch the edges of Bronze Age features.
Remains/Period Y3 Y1
County Cornwall
Region SW
National grid square SW
X coordinate 798
Y coordinate 614
Bibliographic source Nowakowski 1991


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Last updated: Tues Aug 10 2004