Tuesday, 09 August 2022

ON November 7, Tom Walker spoke to those who had braved the cold and rain on the subject of “Palaeoenvironment, molluscs and archaeology”.

He sounded most erudite and indeed was absolutely fascinating to hear.

The chosen environment of his activities was the sand at Gwithian in Cornwall and the information obtained was amazing as was the period covered, from Mesolithic to modern.

The main area excavated, via a channel, was on the Gwithian and Godrevy headland, where the medieval flints were found but no settlements.

Then a Bronze Age barrow was excavated and three sites of soil provided traces of plough marks from 1500 BC to 1200 BC. There were also signs of builds from about 1800 BC.

The next area produced signs of an Iron Age settlement on top of the hill but very little of the Romano-British era.

However, post-Roman there was definitely a field system and industrial activity and an early shed was found.

Later indications were of a shed and a manor house at the top of a hill, which were probably there until the 16th century.

Post-medieval times produced tin mines, such were the signs of history.

Much of the information came from shells galore in the hillside, which were buried in different layers of sand, dating from 3350BC to 1730AD.

There were even hoof marks in the soil from 940BC to 640BC. Many mollusc shells were found from different centuries.

Near the coast there were signs of mining and prehistoric settlement.

This could be learned from a different type of sand grains. There was proof here of a post-Roman settlement on top of the sand dunes and signs of a medieval settlement higher up but the dates of these were nor certain. The dating was done from the molluscs.

This was a wonderful and most interesting talk, supported by photographs of the area and lots of detailed information.

Many thanks indeed to Mr Walker.

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