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Rillaton Barrow

Round Barrow(s)


Rillaton Barrow to be surveyed.

Cornish newspaper "The Cornish Guardian" reported on 30 January 2003

A major archaeological project has been set in motion on Bodmin Moor ... over 150 years after the event which triggered it.

In 1837, workmen searching for stone to use in building unearthed the 3,000 year-old Rillaton Cup, which proved to be one of Cornwall's most spectacular historic finds.

The solid gold object, standing just 8cm high, was found in a burial cairn near Minions. Underlining its significance, the cup was recently voted one of Britain's top ten treasures by experts at the British Museum.

Interest in it was re-ignited by the discovery of a similar cup at Ringlemere in Kent a year ago.

Now the Cornwall Archaeological Unit, English Heritage and the British Museum are planning the first-ever comprehensive study of the site.

Jacky Nowakowski, a senior achaeologist with the Cornish unit, said the project was still being developed but had already created a lot of interest and excitement.

"What we want to do is study the whole of the landscape," she said. "There are a lot of upstanding prehistoric remains in that area and the key thing we want to look at is the significance of the Rillaton barrow in relation to that landscape and how it has developed over time."

The first phase of the project, which could start this summer, would involve an assessment of the landscape around Rillaton to identify potential excavation sites.

The next two years would see extensive fieldwork followed by a further two years of analysis resulting in the publication of findings.

One of the key sites, said Ms Nowakowski, was likely to be Stowe's Hill, on which the naturally-formed Cheeswring stands.

"There are two neolothic enclosures, one smaller which is defined by stonework which is still visible, and one larger which contains the remains of roundhouses," she said.

"What we hope to do is find dating evidence from those sites and try to understand the development of the area over the next 1,000 years in which we built the Hurlers ceremonial monument and the Rillaton burial monument."

In a television programme aired on New Year's Day, the cup was named as the tenth most important discovery ever made in Britain.

Made from a single piece of beaten gold, it was discovered by workmen in a stone-lined vault along with human remains, a sword, bronze dagger, glass beads and flint arrowheads.

It is thought the round-bottomed cup - a symbol of huge wealth and power - may have been made for a tribal chief or leader and then buried with them in the specially constructed barrow.

The online version of this article can be found at....
Posted by phil
30th January 2003ce

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