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Carwynnen Quoit (Dolmen / Quoit / Cromlech)

Quoit stones lifted by Sustainable Trust

Preparations for our big dig at Carwynnen Quoit went into full swing on Monday September 10th when a large crane arrived on site to dismantle the pile of stones and temporarily remove them to a safe place. This was an exciting although potentially nerve wracking exercise! The stones have lain in a disorganised pile for more than 40 years when the monument collapsed in 1966. Since then a large number of other stones have been added to the pile, many of them very large, and these had been heaped up, over and upon the ancient capstone and its companion uprights.

Carwynnen is a portal dolmen: essentially a stone monument with an open chamber formed by three large granite uprights which support a splendid majestic capstone. In an early measured survey carried out by the antiquarians Lukis and Borlase in the late 19th century, another two stones were recorded. One lay flat to one side of the monument and this was shadowed by a small squared upright placed next to it. We know that this ancient monument was therefore made up of at least 6 stones. These lay in a muddle within the heap. Over 130 years later a detailed plan of this heap was made and this excellent survey was a great help as it identified the six main stones. The challenge was to unpick the pile and remove those stones which we know were part of this ancient monument and place them to one side so that they can be studied further before they are brought back together and reassembled when the quoit is restored.

The whole operation ran extremely smoothly thanks to the planning and care carried out by the team from The Sustainable Trust. Each of the main stones were systematically removed from the pile, lifted by webbing strops carefully secured into place. They were then moved by the crane. As they were momentarily held, suspended in temporary flight, each was weighed. The finely dressed uprights each weigh on average 2 tonnes and the beautiful capstone clocks in at a massive 9.8 tonnes! Imagine how the ancients put this monument together over 5,000 years ago - the skill, operational management and engineering skills are truly astonishing. These fine stones now lie close to the site and the field has become a dormitory of sleeping giants waiting to be awoken and once again reunited as the Giant’s Quoit.
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