Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

On the Beach: New Discoveries at Harlyn Bay, Cornwall

  • Andy M. Jones (a1), Jane Marley (a2), Henrietta Quinnell (a3), Steve Hartgroves (a4), Richard P Evershed, Anna Lawson-Jones, Sue Jones, Clare Randall, Laura Ratcliffe, Lucija Šoberl and Roger Taylor...

Abstract

In 1990 a stone covered pit containing a Trevisker Ware vessel was found eroding from the cliffs at Harlyn Bay and excavated. The vessel contained cremated bone from several individuals with some animal bone, quartz pebbles, and a small bronze pendant. A radiocarbon date on the cremated bone fell in the range 2120–1880 cal bc and is a valuable addition to the small number of securely-dated Early Bronze Age burials in Cornwall with metalwork associations. This early date also makes a major contribution to the debate on the sequence of Trevisker Ware as the vessel, of gabbroic clay, has a band of incised chevron decoration. Lipid residue analysis showed traces of ruminant dairy fat. This paper examines the significance of unmounded burial sites in Cornwall and also assesses the importance of Early Bronze Age burials around Harlyn Bay which have produced an unusually wide range of artefacts.

En 1990, on a découvert et fouillé une fosse couverte d'une pierre, contenant un récipient de poterie Trevisker, qui s'érodait des falaises de Harlyn Bay. Le récipient contenait des ossements incinérés de plusieurs individus ainsi que des os d'animaux, des galets de quartz et un petit pendant en bronze. Une datation au C14 des ossements incinérés se situait dans la fourchette 2120–1880 av. J.-C. cal. et est un précieux ajout au petit nombre de sépultures de l'âge du bronze ancien de Cornouailles associées à la métallurgie et solidement datées. Cette date ancienne apporte également une contribution majeure au débat sur la séquence de la poterie de Trevisker car le récipient, en argile gabbroique, porte une bande de décor incisé en chevron. L'analyse des résidus de lipides a montré des traces de matière grasse laitière de ruminant.Ce compte-rendu examine la signification des sites d'inhumation sans tertre des Cornouailles et évalue aussi l'importance des inhumations de l'âge du bronze ancien autour de la baie d'Harlyn qui ont produit une gamme remarquablement étendue d'objets manufacturés.

Im Jahr 1990 wurde eine von Steinen bedeckte, ein Gefäß der Trevisker Ware enthaltende Grube entdeckt, die an den Kippen der Harlyn Bay der Erosion ausgesetzt war, weshalb sie ausgegraben wurde. Das Gefäß enthielt Leichenbrand mehrerer Individuen und dazwischen Tierknochen, Quarzsteine und einen kleinen Bronzeanhänger. Ein Radiokarbondatum, das an den verbrannten Knochen gewonnen wurde, liegt im Bereich zwischen 2120–1880 cal. bc und stellt eine wertvolle Ergänzung zur kleinen Zahl sicher datierter frühbronzezeitlicher Bestattungen mit Hinweisen auf Metallverarbeitung in Cornwall dar. Dieses frühe Datum trägt auch entscheidend zur Frage der Abfolge der Trevisker Ware bei, da das aus Gabbro-Ton bestehende Gefäß mit einem eingeritzten Zickzack-Band verziert ist. Die Analyse von Lipiden ergab Spuren von Milchfett von Wiederkäuern. Dieser Beitrag untersucht den Stellenwert hügelloser Grabplätze in Cornwall und bewertet auch die Bedeutung der Bestattungen der Frühbronzezeit rund um die Harlyn Bay, die eine ungewöhnlich breite Vielfalt an Artefakten erbrachten.

En 1990, un pozo cubierto con piedras que contenía una vasija tipo “Trevisker Ware” fue descubierto como resultado de la erosión del acantilado en Harlyn Bay, y fue excavado. La vasija contenía los restos incinerados de varios individuos junto con algunos huesos de animales, guijarros de cuarzo, y un pequeño colgante de bronce. Una datación al radiocarbono de los huesos incinerados produjo una fecha entre 2120–1880 cal a.C. y supone una valiosa contribución al pequeño número de enterramientos de la Edad del Bronce de Cornwall asociados con objetos de metal que han sido firmemente datados. Esta temprana fecha también representa una importante contribución al debate sobre la secuencia del “Trevisker Ware” puesto que la cerámica, de arcilla gabroica, está decorada con una banda incisa en zig-zag. Un análisis de los residuos lípidos reveló trazas de grasas lácteas de rumiantes. Este trabajo examina la importancia de los enterramientos sin túmulo en Cornwall, y además valora la importancia de los enterramientos de la Edad del Bronce Antiguo en la zona de Harlyn Bay que han producido una inusual variedad de artefactos.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Allen, C. & Hopkins, D. 2000. Bronze Age accessory cups from Lincolnshire. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 66, 297318
Anheuser, K. & Roumeliotou, M. 2003. Characterisation of mineralised archaeological textile fibres through chemical staining. Conservator 27, 2333
Annable, F.K. & Simpson, D.D.A. 1964. Guide Catalogue of the Neolithic and Bronze Age Collections in Devizes Museum. Devizes: Wiltshire Archaeological & Natural History Society
ApSimon, A. & Greenfield, E. 1972. The excavation of the Bronze Age and Iron Age settlement at Trevisker Round, St. Eval, Cornwall. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 38, 302–81
Barclay, A. & Halpin, C. 1999. Excavations at Barrow Hills, Radley, Oxfordshire. Oxford: Oxford Archaeological Unit
Barley, N. 1994. Smashing Pots Feats of Clay from Africa. London: British Museum Press
Barrett, J., Bradley, R. & Green, M. 1991. Landscape, Monuments and Society: the prehistory of Cranborne Chase. Cambridge: University Press
Bradley, R. 1972. Prehistorians and pastoralists in Neolithic and Bronze Age Britain. World Archaeology 15, 192204
Bradley, R. 1997. Rock Art and the Prehistory of Atlantic Europe. London: Routledge
Bradley, R. & Fraser, E. 2010. Bronze Age barrows on the heathlands of southern England; construction, forms and interpretation. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 29, 1534
Braithwaite, M. 1984. Ritual and prestige in the prehistory of Wessex c. 2, 200–1, 400 BC: a new dimension to the archaeological evidence. In Miller, D. & Tilley, C. (eds), Ideology, Power and Prehistory, 93110. Cambridge: University Press
Buikstra, J.E. & Swegle, M. 1989. Bone modification due to burning experimental evidence. In Bonnishcen, R., Sorg, M. & Thompson, D. (eds), Bone Modification, 247–56, Maine: Peopling of the Americas Publications University of Maine
Bullen, R. 1912. Harlyn Bay, Harlyn Bay: Colonel Bellars
Burgess, C. 1980. The Age of Stonehenge. London: Dent
Butler, J. 1997. Dartmoor Atlas of Antiquities, volume 5. Tiverton: Devon Books
Christie, P. 1985. Barrows on the north Cornish coast: wartime excavations by C. K. Croft Andrew 1939–1944. Cornish Archaeology 24, 23122
Christie, P. 1988. A barrow cemetery on Davidstow Moor, Cornwall: wartime excavations by C. K. Croft Andrew. Cornish Archaeology 27, 27169
Clark, P. (ed.). 2009. Bronze Age Connections: cultural contact in prehistoric Europe. Oxford: Oxbow
Cornwall, I.W. 1958. The cremations, 194, in P. Ashbee, The excavation of Tregulland Barrow, Treneglos Parish, Cornwall. Antiquaries Journal 38, 174–96
Crawford, O. 1921. The ancient settlements of Harlyn Bay. Antiquaries Journal 1, 283–99
Cronyn, J. M. 1990. The Elements of Archaeological Conservation. London: Routledge
Crowe, C. 1992. Chris Crowe writes. In Nowakowski, J., & Thomas, A.C., Grave News from Tintagel: an account of a second season of archaeological excavation at Tintagel churchyard, Cornwall, 1991, 9. Truro: Cornwall Archaeological Unit
Darvill, T. 2002. White on Blonde: quartz pebbles and the use of quartz at Neolithic monuments on the Isle of Man and beyond. In Jones, A. & MacGregor, G. (eds), Colouring the Past, 7392. Oxford: Berg
Downes, J. 1999. Cremation: a spectacle and a journey. In Downes, J. & Pollard, T. (eds), The Loved Body's Corruption, 1929. Glasgow: Cruithne Press
Dudley, D. 1964. The excavation of the Carvinnack barrow, Tregavethan, near Truro, Cornwall. Journal of the Royal Institution Cornwall 4, 414–51
Evershed, R.P., Dudd, S.N., Charters, S., Mottram, H., Stott, A.W., Raven, A., Bergen, P.F. van & Bland, H.A. 1999. Lipids as carriers of anthropogenic signals from prehistory. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London B 354, 1931
Fleming, A. 1971. Territorial patterns in Bronze Age Wessex. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 37, 138–66
Gent, T. 1992. Padstow to Harlyn: a transact across the landscape. Exeter: Exeter Archaeology
Gerloff, S. 1975. The Early Bronze Age Daggers in Great Britain. Munich: Prähistoric Bronzefunde
Griffith, F.M. 1984 Archaeological investigations at Colliford Reservoir, Bodmin Moor 1977–78. Cornish Archaeology 23, 47140
Griffith, F.M. & Wilkes, E.M. 2006. The land named from the sea? coastal archaeology and the place-names of Bigbury, Devon. Archaeological Journal 163, 6791
Grinsell, L.V. 1978. Dartmoor barrows. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society 36, 85180
Harding, A. 2000. European Societies in the Bronze Age. Cambridge: University Press
Harris, D. 1979. A cist at Trevemedar, St Eval. Cornish Archaeology 17, 137–9
Harris, D., Hooper, S. & Trudgian, P. 1984. Excavation of three cairns on Stannon Downs, St Breward. Cornish Archaeology 23, 141–54
Healy, F. & Harding, J. 2004. Reading a burial: the legacy of Overton Hill. In Gibson, A. & Sheridan, A. (eds), From Sickles to Circles: Britain and Ireland at the time of Stonehenge, 176–93, Stroud: Tempus
Helms, M. 1988. Ulysses' Sail: ethnographic odyssey of power, knowledge and geographical distance. Princeton: University Press
Helms, M. 1993. Craft and the Kingly Ideal: art trade and power. Austin: University of Texas Press
Hertz, R. 2009. Death and the Right Hand. London: Routledge
Hodder, I. 1982. Symbols in Action: ethnoarchaeological studies of material culture. Cambridge: University Press
Hunter, F. 2000. Excavation of an Early Bronze Age cemetery and other sites at West Water Reservoir, West Linton, Scottish Borders. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 130, 115–83
Hunter, F. & Davis, M. 1994. Early Bronze Age lead – a unique necklace from southeast Scotland. Antiquity 261, 824–30
Iago, W. 18901891. On some recent archaeological discoveries in Cornwall. Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall 10, 185262
Jessup, R. 1970. South-East England. London: Thames & Hudson
Johnson, N. & Rose, P. 1994 Bodmin Moor: an archaeological survey, volume 1. London: English Heritage
Jones, A. 2001. Drawn from memory: the archaeology of aesthetics and the aesthetics of archaeology in Earlier Bronze Age Britain and the present. World Archaeology 33, 333–56
Jones, A.M. 2005. Cornish Bronze Age Ceremonial Landscapes, c. 2500–1500 BC. Oxford: British Archaeological Report 394
Jones, A.M. 2008. Houses for the dead and cairns for the living: a reconsideration of the Early to Middle Bronze Age transition in south-west England. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 27, 153–74
Jones, A.M. forthcoming a. Excavation of a Bronze Age barrow on Constantine Island, St Merryn, Cornwall. Cornish Archaeology
Jones, A.M. forthcoming b. A note on the Harlyn Bay structure. Cornish Archaeology
Jones, A.M. forthcoming c. Without Wessex, the local character of the Early Bronze Age in the south west. In Pearce, S. (ed.), The Archaeology of South Western Britain: recent research. Papers in honour of Henrietta Quinnell. Oxford: British Archaeological Report
Jones, A. M. & Quinnell, H. 2006. Redating the Watch Hill Barrow. Archaeological Journal 163, 4266
Jones, A.M. & Quinnell, H. 2008. The Farway barrow complex in East Devon reassessed. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society 66, 2758.
Jones, A.M. & Taylor, S.R. 2010. Scarcewater, Pennance, Cornwall, Archaeological Excavation of a Bronze Age and Roman Landscape. Oxford: British Archaeological Report 516
Jones, A.M. & Thomas, A.C. 2010. Bosiliack Carn and a reconsideration of entrance graves. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 76, 271–96
King, G. & Miles, H. 1976. A Bronze Age cist burial at Trebartha, Northill. Cornish Archaeology 15, 2730
Kinnes, I.A. & Longworth, I.H.Catalogue of the Excavated Prehistoric and Romano-British Material in the Greenwell Collection. London: British Museum Publications
Kristiansen, K. & Larsonn, T.B. 2005. The Rise of Bronze Age Society: travels, transmissions and transformations. Cambridge: University Press
Lynch, F. 1991. Prehistoric Anglesey (2nd edn). Llangefni: Anglesey Antiquarian Society
Malinowski, B. 1922. Argonauts of the Western Pacific. London: Routledge & Keegan Paul
Mattingly, J., Marley., J. & Jones, A.M. 2009. Five gold rings? Early Bronze Age gold lunulae from Cornwall. Cornish Archaeology 48, 95114
McKinley, J. 1993. Bone fragment size and weights of bone from modern British cremations and its implications for the interpretation of archaeological cremations. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 3, 283–7
McKinley, J. 1994. The Anglo-Saxon Cemetery at Spong Hill, North Elmham part VIII: the cremations. East Dereham: Norfolk Archaeological Unit
McKinley, J. 1997a. The cremated bone from burial and cremation-related contexts. In Fitzpatrick, A.P., Archaeological excavations on the route of the A27 Westhampnett Bypass West Sussex, volume 2, the cemeteries. Salisbury: Wessex Archaeology Report 13, 5577
McKinley, J. 1997b. Bronze Age barrows and funerary rites and rituals of cremation. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 63, 129–45
McKinley, J. 2000. The analysis of cremated bone. In Cox, M. & Mays, S. (eds), Human Osteology in Archaeology and Forensic Science, 403–21. London: Greenwich Medical Media
Meeks, T. 1993. Surface Characterization of Tinned Bronze, High Tin Bronze, Tinned Iron and Arsenical Bronze. London: Butterworth & Heinmann
Metcalf, P. & Huntington, R. 1993. Celebrations of Death: the anthropology of mortuary ritual. Cambridge: University Press
Miles, H. 1975. Barrows on the St Austell granite. Cornish Archaeology 14, 581
Miles, H. & Miles, T. 1971. Excavations on Longstone Downs, St Austell, St Stephen-in-Brannel and St Mewan. Cornish Archaeology 10, 528
Morgan, G.C. 2005. A Guide to the Identification and Analysis of Archaeological Artefactual Material. London: Longmans
Mount, C. 1995. New research on Early Bronze Age cemeteries. In Waddell, J. & Twohig, E. Shee (eds), Ireland in the Bronze Age, 97112. Dublin: Office of Public Works
Mount, C. 1997. Early Bronze Age burial in south East Ireland, in the light of recent research. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy 97, 101–93
Needham, S. 1988. Selective deposition in the Early British Bronze Age. World Archaeology 20, 229–48
Needham, S. 1996. Chronology and periodisation in the British Age. Acta Archaeologia 67, 121–40
Needham, S., 1999. Radley and the development of early metalwork in Britain. In Barclay, & Halpin, 1999, 186–92
Needham, S. 2000a. Power pulses across a cultural divide: cosmologically driven acquisition between Armorica and Wessex. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 66, 151208
Needham, S. 2000b. The development of embossed gold in Bronze Age Europe. Antiquaries Journal 80, 2766
Needham, S. 2009. Encompassing the sea: ‘maritories’ and Bronze Age interactions. In Clark, (ed.) 2009, 1237
Needham, S., Parfitt, K. & Vardell, G. 2006. The Ringlemere Cup, Precious Cups and the Beginning of the Channel Bronze Age. London: British Museum
Nicholson, R.A. 1993. A morphological investigation of burnt animal bone and an evaluation of its utility in archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 20, 411–28
Nowakowski, J. forthcoming. Early Bronze Age ceremony and burial in the lowlands: the excavation of Trelowthas Barrow, Probus, Cornwall 1995. Cornish Archaeology
Oddy, W.A. & Bimson, M. 1985. Tinned bronze in antiquity. In Miles, G. & Pollard, C. (eds), Lead and Tin Studies in Conservation and Technology, 33–9. London: UKIC
Parker Pearson, M. 1990. The production and distribution of Bronze Age pottery in south-west Britain. Cornish Archaeology 29, 532
Patchett, F. 1944. Cornish Bronze Age pottery. Archaeological Journal 101, 1749
Patchett, F. 1950. Cornish Bronze Age pottery, Part II. Archaeological Journal 107, 4465
Pearce, S. 1983. The Bronze Age Metalwork of South Western Britain. Oxford: British Archaeological Report 120
Piggott, S. 1938. The Early Bronze Age in Wessex. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 4, 52106
Piggott, S. 1971. The Wessex culture of the Early Bronze Age. In Crittall, E. (ed.), The Victoria History of the Counties of England, Wiltshire, volume 1 part 2, 352–76. London: Oxford University Press
Pope, E.J. & Smith, O.C. 2004. Identification of traumatic injury in burnt cranial bone an experimental approach. Journal of Forensic Science 49, 431–44
Quinnell, H. 1988. The local character of the Devon Bronze Age and its interpretation in the 1980s. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society 46, 112
Quinnell, H. 2003. Devon Beakers: new finds, new thoughts. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society 61, 120
Rose, P. & Preston-Jones, A. 1987. Mrs Hurn's Urn. Cornish Archaeology 26, 8596
Russell, V. & Patchett, F. 1954. A Beaker from Trevedra Farm, St Just in Penwith. Proceedings of the West Cornwall Field Club 1(2), 41–2
Sheppard, P.A. 1961. A Bronze Age cemetery at Port Mellon, Mevagissey. Proceedings of the West Cornwall Field Club 2(5), 197–9
Sheridan, A. & Shortland, A. 2004. ‘… beads which have given rise to so much dogmatism, controversy and rash speculation’: faience in Early Bronze Age Britain and Ireland. In Shepherd, I.A.G. & Barclay, G.J. (eds), Scotland in Ancient Europe, 263–79. Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland
Shipman, P., Foster, G. & Schoeninger, M. 1984. Burnt bone and teeth: an experimental study of color, morphology, crystal structure and shrinkage. Journal of Archaeological Science 11, 307–25
Smirke, E. 1867. Some account of the discovery of a gold cup in a barrow in Cornwall. Archaeological Journal 24, 189–95
Smith, G. 1996. Archaeology and environment of a Bronze Age cairn and prehistoric and romano-british field system at Chysauster, Gulval, near Penzance, Cornwall. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 62, 167220
Stead, S. 1985a. Report on the human cremated bone from Treligga. Christie 1985, 8792
Stead, S. 1985b. Report on the human cremated bone from Cataclews. In Christie, 1985, 104–6
Taylor, J. 1970. Lunulae reconsidered. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 36, 3881
Taylor, J. 1980. Bronze Age Goldwork of the British Isles. Cambridge: University Press
Taylor, J. 1985. Gold and silver. In Clarke, D.V., Cowie, T.G. & Foxon, A. (eds), Symbols of Power at the Time of Stonehenge, 182–92. Edinburgh: National Museum of Scotland
Taylor, J. 1999. Gold reflections. In Harding, A. (ed.), Experiment and Design: archaeological studies in honour of John Coles, 108–15. Oxford: Oxbow
Thomas, A.C. 1965. Coast and cliff names of Gwithian and the north cliffs. Journal of the Royal Institution of Cornwall 5, 251–75
Thomas, A.C. 1975. Excavation of a cist on Emblance Downs, St Breward. Cornish Archaeology 14, 82–4
Thomas, J. 1991. Reading the body: Beaker funerary practice in Britain. In Garwood, P., Jennings, D., Skeates, R. & Toms, J. (eds), Sacred and Profane, 3342. Oxford: Oxford University Committee for Archaeology
Thompson, T.J.U. 2003. An Experimental Study of the Effects of Heating and Burning on the Hard Tissues of the Human Body and its Implications for Anthropology and Forensic Science. Unpublished PhD thesis, University of Sheffield
Thurnam, J. 1871. On ancient British barrows, especially those of Wiltshire and the adjoining counties, part 2 round barrows. Archaeologia 43, 285552
Waddell, J. 1990. The Bronze Age Burials of Ireland. Galway: University Press
Watts, M. & Quinnell, H. 2001. A Bronze Age cemetery at Elburton, Plymouth. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society 59, 1144
Wainwright, G. 1980. A pit burial at Lower Ashmore Farm, Rose Ash Devon. Proceedings of the Devon Archaeological Society 38, 1316
Whimster, R. 1977. Harlyn Bay reconsidered: the excavations of 1900–1905 in the light of recent work. Cornish Archaeology 16, 6088
Woodward, A, 1993. The cult of relics in prehistoric Britain. In Carver, M. (ed.), In Search of Cult: archaeological investigations in honour of Philip Rahtz, 18. Woodbridge: Boydell Press
Woodward, A. 2002. Beads and beakers: heirlooms and relics in the British Early Bronze Age. Antiquity 294, 1040–47
Woodward, A. & Cane, C. 1991. The Bronze Age pottery, 103–31, in J. Nowakowski, Trethellan Farm, Newquay: excavations of a lowland Bronze Age settlement and Iron Age cemetery. Cornish Archaeology 30, 5242
Woodward, A., Hunter, J., Ixer, R., Maltby, M., Potts, P., Webb, P., Watson, J. & Jones, M. 2005. Ritual in some Early Bronze Age grave goods. Archaeological Journal 163, 3164

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed