Mysterious 4,000 Years Old Clay Urn Discovered in Cornwall

Archaeologist Dr Catherine Frieman from the Australian National University (ANU) led the project which unearthed a 4,000-year-old burnt human remains on a farm in Cornwall in what is believed to be evidence of an unknown ritual. The discovery was made when an archaeologist and a team of volunteers investigated a Bronze Age burial mound. However, what has puzzled Dr Frieman and her team was the discovery of medieval ‘unaccountable activity’ on the same site. Researchers say that hundreds of years after the mound was built, someone in the 12th or 13th century came back and dug into it to bury the pot. At the time there were two local monasteries in view of the site so it was strange to have non-Christian activity still active.

'The site has thrown up a big mystery for us because we found what we believe is an entire - albeit crushed - medieval pot from the 12th or 13th century AD, carefully placed under a couple of layers of flat stones', said Dr Frieman. 'It had some cooked food remains adhering to it and we don't know what it's doing there or why.'

The excavation was funded through a Discovery Early Career Researcher Award and a contribution from the ANU College of Archaeology and Anthropology. Based in the town of Looe, the site is nearby the location of a series of Bronze Age shipwrecks discovered off the coast.

'The evidence looks quite ritualistic, but what the ritual was, we don't know,' she said.

The team also excavated a round house - an ancient dwelling or land marker nearby, possibly from 500 BC and are trying to deduce possible reasons for the location of the barrow. 

'This was a traversed place and regularly visited over the millennia, it affords a sweeping view of the south coast of England and we know that there are a series of Bronze Age shipwrecks off this coast, so this was an important shipping highway in prehistory', said Dr Frieman. 

The analysis of soil, pollen, flint and other samples is underway but it will probably be a year before a comprehensive story of the find is possible.


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