(ORDO NEWS) — A mysterious stone circle has been discovered at the center of a prehistoric ritual site in Cornwall.
The find at Castille Heng, near Bodmin, is only the second stone circle henge in the county, archaeologists say.
It was discovered after a series of studies as part of a project to preserve and better understand the site, which is believed to have been built during the late Neolithic period (3,000 – 2,500 BC).
Defined by an outer rampart and an inner moat, Castille Henge was intended to be an amphitheater for gatherings and rituals.
Previous researchers have suggested that the site was used as a theater during the Middle Ages and later as a battery during the English Civil War.
Anne Preston-Jones, Head of the Heritage at Risk Project at Historic England, said: “Research at Castille Henge has given us a deeper understanding of the site’s complexity and its importance to Cornish history over the millennia.
This will help us make decisions about how to manage the monument and how to present it so that future generations can enjoy it.”
The opportunity to apply modern research methods to the intriguing monument came in 2021 when it was included in the Monuments Management Scheme (MMS) – a partnership between Historic England and the Cornish Archaeological Unit (CAU) to conserve and repair monuments on the Register of Heritage in Danger .
Volunteers, coordinated by the CAU, cleared the site of vegetation that threatened the underground archaeological deposits.
This work enabled teams from Historic England to make the first detailed topographical and geophysical surveys of Castille Henge.
Research, which will be detailed in a report by Historic England later this year, has unearthed traces of a long-buried stone circle at the center of the henge, making it the second stone circle in Cornwall.
They also uncovered detailed information about the original form of the henge and how it has changed over time.
Peter Dudley, senior archaeologist at the Cornish Archaeological Unit, said: “The help of local volunteers was invaluable in removing the bracken and bush that hid the henge.
During the winter, thirteen people gave 111 hours of their time, and now the monument looks much better.”
The project also re-fenced the field and the farmer is happy to start grazing again, improving the long-term management of this amazing archaeological site.”
Castille Henge is listed on the English Historic Register because its location makes it difficult to maintain and as a result the excavation and part of the interior is heavily bracken.
As part of the MMS project, volunteers removed bracken and other harmful vegetation from the site, making it visible in the landscape again.
The Late Neolithic site is now fenced in to allow cattle to graze.
Castilley Henge is located in the center of Cornwall, above a major junction of the A30 with the A391 to St Austell and the A389 to Bodmin.
The excavation work here is well preserved and is an oval enclosure measuring 223 feet (68 m) long by 203 feet (62 m) wide, with a flat interior measuring 157 feet (48 m) long by 91 feet (28 m). ) in width.
The surrounding moat is 24 feet (7.6 m) wide and 5.9 feet (1.8 m) deep, with an outer embankment up to 5.2 feet (1.6 m) high.
As a result of the revolution, small groups of travelers turned into sedentary communities that built villages and cities.
Some cultures used irrigation and cleared forests to improve farming techniques.
Others hoarded food in case of famine, and farming eventually created different roles and divisions of labor in society, as well as a trading economy.
In Great Britain, this period was caused by a huge migration or popular movement across the English Channel.
Today, prehistoric sites in Britain exist from the time of the Neolithic agriculturalists until the Roman invasion in 43 AD.
Many of them are under the protection of English Heritage and range from standing stones to massive stone circles, from mounds to hillforts.
Stonehenge, the most famous prehistoric structure in Europe and perhaps the world, was built by Neolithic people and then completed during the Bronze Age.
Neolithic structures were commonly used for ceremonies, religious festivals, and as centers of trade and social gatherings.
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