The first season of an on-going project focused on Leskernick Hill, north-west Bodmin Moor, Cornwall, entailed a preliminary settlement survey and limited excavation of a stone row terminal. Leskernick comprises a western and a southern settlement situated on the lower, stony slopes of the hill and including 51 circular stone houses constructed using a variety of building techniques. Walled fields associated with these houses vary in size from 0.25–1 ha and appear to have accreted in a curvilinear fashion from a number of centres. Five smal burial mounds and a cist are associated with the southern settlement, all but one lying around the periphery of the field system. The western settlement includes ‘cairn-like’ piles of stones within and between some houses and some hut circles may have been converted into cairns. The settlements may have been built sequentially but the layout of each adheres to a coherent design suggesting a common broad phase of use. The southern settlement overlooks a stone-free plain containing a ceremonial complex.
The paper presents a narrative account of the work and considers not only the form, function, and chronology of the sites at Leskernick but also seeks to explore the relationships between people and the landscape they inhabit; the prehistoric symbolic continuum from house to field to stone row etc, and to investigate the relationship between archaeology as a discourse on the past and archaeology as practice in the present. It considers how the daily process of excavation generates alternative site histories which are subsequently abandoned, forgotten, perpetuated or transformed.