New Bronze Age Settlement Found On Tresco
Archaeologists have discovered a previously unknown ancient settlement on a Westcountry island while carrying out a watching brief on the construction of a new playing field. Members of Cornwall County Council's environmental and heritage services made their exciting find on Tresco in the Isles of Scilly.
Commissioned by Tresco Estate, their excavation has so far uncovered the remains of five houses, other stone buildings and some walls which have survived for centuries just a few centimetres below the present ground surface.
The main buildings were circular and rectangular. Some contained remains of porches, hearths, quernstones for grinding corn and also internal partition walls.
Fragments of carefully recovered pottery suggest that the settlement, like others on Scilly, dates to the Bronze Age of about 3,500 years ago.
The form of the buildings is similar to houses of Bronze Age origin which were excavated on Nornour in Scilly's Eastern Isles in the late 1960s and early 1970s, a council spokesman said.
Nornour's dwellings had displayed evidence of continuous occupation and modification throughout the Bronze and Iron Ages.
Some of those buildings had been used as a Roman shrine up until the fourth century AD.
The buildings that have just been unearthed on Tresco would have been destroyed if the construction of the playing field had continued.
Because of the importance of the site, Tresco leaseholder Robert Dorrien-Smith decided to move the new playing field almost 20 yards to the north in order to preserve the remains.
The features uncovered have been cleaned and recorded by the archaeologists from County Hall, Truro, before being reburied for posterity.
Charlie Johns, one of the county council's senior archaeologists, said: "We have been amazed to find these remains so close to the surface of the ground. It is great for the people of the Isles of Scilly that the Tresco Estate has decided to move the new playing field in an effort to preserve these historic findings."
A report on the findings is expected to be completed in two months' time.
Archaeologists say the earliest record of human habitation in Scilly comes from the Bronze Age. On nearly all its islands there can be found ancient barrows, passage graves and stone boxes in which the remains of the Bronze Age dead were laid.
Posted by Rhiannon
4th November 2003ce
Edited 4th November 2003ce