On the evening of 21st June, the day the capstone went on, we had alignment!
Photograph by Colin Higgs
On June 21st 600 people gathered to watch the spectacle of the great stone being gently lowered into position by crane. First it had to be turned over and gently manoeuvred into the correct position above the three support stones. Then with a whirr and clicking of cameras it started to descend. It was a moment we had first anticipated in 2009 when work began to secure the Frying Pan Field and money was raised to pay for expert excavation and reporting on the 5000 year old site.
Photograph by Eustace Long
On May 2nd the two remaining orthostats were erected at Carwynnen Quoit. We had had over 100 local children on site during the week, learning about archaeology and life in Neolithic Times. One school got to see diggers and JCB's too!
The socket for the first stone of the day was clearly defined. We had been advised to slot it in place using machinery, as levering the 2 tonne stone up by hand would have damaged the carefully excavated socket. It was placed in 40 minutes and the monument was half back together again.
The third stone was not quite as simple. Firstly the original socket had been damaged by burrowing animals so it was not fit for purpose. In the historical photographs the quoit had 2 stones leaning in towards the centre. It was accepted that this may have been a contributing factor to its collapse during the 1966 earthquake.
The grand finale of our October dig in 2013 was the restoration of Stone 4 and its re-erection in its original socket. Everything this year was gearing up to this event which took place on 31st October, Halloween, All Soul’s day or Allantide and Kalan Gwav as they say in Cornish.
Enthused by the success of the Big Dig in 2012, the Carwynnen team returned in October 2013 to find out more about the site in preparation for the monument’s full restoration, in 2014. The principal aim was to re-expose the rear end of the floor of the monument to find out more about the make up of the stone “pavement”, as well as fully reveal and excavate the socket hole for Stone 4. The Council of British Archaeology have funded a 'visualisation', which has proved invaluable when placing the orthostats ready for the capstone.
We have held a stone moving workshop, which was delivered by Julian Richards. Over forty people came together and learnt about how the ancients could have moved such huge stones.
Photograph by Nick Donaldson
The first white light scan of a Neolithic Site in Cornwall
In the summer an experiment took place to obtain digital 3D images of each of the quoit’s principal stones with a white light scanner. The aim is to capture detailed information on the surface areas and curvatures of each stone as well as data on density and central gravity. These images will be modelled and help us with the restoration of the entire monument next year.
The final areas we explored in October 2014 were two hand dug trenches opened up around two large moorstones surfaced at field level. We wanted to explore these surfaces for potential rock art because although they are natural features and products of geological processes, they clearly would have been physically present in the landscape of the quoit when it was constructed and used over 5,000 years ago.
This is a summary report about two of the four stones thought to contain rock art or deliberate lines from Frying Pan Field, in the vicinity of Carwynnen Quoit. The data collected and initial interpretation is by Thomas Goskar an Independent Archaeologist.
The “Shield Stone” and “Coffin Stone” were both recorded in 3D using a method known Structure from Motion (SfM), a form of digital photogrammetry, on the morning of 30th April 2014.
The weather was initially dry and overcast, causing little or no shadow to the stone surfaces.
A sequence of overlapping photographs was taken across the areas of interest on both stones. 0.5m and 0.1m scales were included at opposing axes in both image sequences to allow for accurate scaling and checking of units in 3D space.