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Stone circle discovered in prehistoric henge

Archaeologists from the Cornwall Archaeology Unit have discovered the remains of a stone circle in the Castilly Henge, located in Cornwall, England.

The site is situated on the summit of a relatively low rise called Castle Hill within Innis Downs, close to the source of the Luxulyan River.

Initial excavations were undertaken in 1954 and in 1962 which interpreted the site as a Class I henge built in sections, although very few finds were discovered except for flint flakes and medieval pottery.

The Castilly Henge was constructed around 3,000 to 2500 BC, defined by an external bank and internal ditch that formed an amphitheatre-style setting. The bank has been partially cut by a hedge, and the ditch is largely preserved as a buried feature.

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During the medieval period, the henge was repurposed as a “playing place”, an early form of outdoor theatre used for plays and various social, religious and political events.

The henge was cleared of vegetation which threatened the underlying features, enabling the researchers to apply detailed topographic and geophysical surveys.

The survey found a series of seven regularly positioned pits in a crooked horseshoe formation. Archaeologists suggest that the pits may have formed a complete ring, however, at the time of the survey the team were unable to conduct a complete survey of the monument.

The survey data reveals positioned stones, some of which have been removed, whilst other stones were pushed face down in the pits.

Ann Preston-Jones, a project officer for at-risk heritage sites with Historic England, said: “The research at Castilly Henge has given us a deeper understanding of the complexity of this site and its importance to Cornish history over thousands of years. It will help us make decisions about the way the monument is managed and presented, so that it can be enjoyed by generations to come.”

Historic England

Header Image Credit : Historic England

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