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Archaeological Consultancy Ltd
Since forming Archaeological Consultancy Ltd in April 2006, I have been responsible for developing and directing the company’s international portfolio. As founding Director, the standards and complexity of my personal work and that of the Company are inextricably linked.
Initially work principally entailed the establishment of the legal, financial and company framework. This included the acquisition and setting up of premises, staffing and pay, welfare, health and safety. IT and operational systems, associated templates and proforma were designed for motorway contracts in Ireland (2006-2007), Northern Ireland (2008) and smaller contracts in Great Britain. Typically we subcontracted to ‘principal’ archaeological contractors on large infrastructure projects. We employed
Archaeological Consultancy Ltd were commissioned by Gwel An Mor Holiday Village to undertake an archaeological evaluation to inform planning decisions in advance of a proposed holiday chalet development.
Following geophysical survey, the test trenching was undertaken in conjunction with Truro College to provide a relatively rare training opportunity on a commercial excavation in Cornwall, with the preliminary findings presented at the CBA SW AGM 7/5/2011.
This study found evidence for human activity at Gwel An Mor from the late Mesolithic or Early Neolithic until the present day. The site includes a probable barrow cemetery, a substantial planned ridge-top settlement enclosure with associated field system, a probable inhumation cemetery apparently spanning the late Iron Age and part of the Medieval period, as well as part of the Cornish Mining World Heritage Site . The significant evolving archaeological landscape at Gwel An Mor has proved a valuable training opportunity for students; fostering closer working relationships with Truro College, local residents and the wider archaeological community, enabling interaction with the archaeological resource on a number of levels. The resultant preservation in situ of much of the site is a significant achievement for this partnership and it is hoped that display panels, presentations and popular publications will foster a greater appreciation of this exciting archaeological landscape within the wider community.
On-going excavation of two probable Late Iron Age round houses within a similar field system on the adjacent ridge (Gwel An Mor 2) has added considerably to our understanding of unenclosed late Prehistoric settlement at Portreath.
The two round houses (Structures 35 and 100) appear remarkably similar. Each has internal pits, a central oval post-ring with additional posts defining a southwest entrance and a drip-gulley of c.15.5m external diameter. The curious alignment of the entrances upslope and into the prevailing south-westerly winds may suggest additional structures outside the study area on this side.
Structure 35 (Figure 1 background) appears to have been robbed of all of its re-usable materials, which were seemingly incorporated into its replacement, Structure 100 (Figure 1 centre). Two of the posts defining the entrance to Structure 35 had been replaced by more substantial timbers. The replacement posts seem to have rotted in situ, suggesting that water ingress from the upslope entrance may have caused persistent structural problems in this part of the round house. The remaining posts of Structure 35 had all been pulled up and there was a notable absence of stone-work and finds. Structure 100 included considerable quantities of slate in the drip-gulley, presumably remnants of a stone-faced earth bank forming the outer wall. This seems to fit well with the absence of features in this zone in both structures. Structure 100 has slight oxidation in the centre, suggesting a domestic scale hearth.
In the backfilled drip-gulley around Structure 100, a number of lithic finds and probable Late Iron Age pottery fragments have been recorded. Finds include fragments of granite saddle quern, mullers and a possible slate spindle whorl suggesting cereal preparation and textile manufacture were important parts of everyday life and by inference cereal production and sheep farming may have been undertaken in the vicinity. Hone stones, hammerstones, polished stones and sizeable worked, rounded slates were also recorded.
If you would like to know more about this site or other projects don’t hesitate to get in contact at: firstname.lastname@example.org, we’re always delighted to hear from you. Further details can be found on our website www.archaeologicalconsultancy.com.
Figure 1 Two probable Late Iron Age round houses at Gwel An Mor 2, Portreath, Cornwall. Structure 35 in the background and a post-built possible ancillary structure including the post-hole in the foreground appear to have been replaced by Structure 100 (centre).
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