Details of the earlier excavation were recently rediscovered and in the nearby converted mine-engine house are photos from that time, when fallen stones were righted into original socket holes deep beneath ground level.
Scores of people scatter across moorland around the prehistoric stone circles of the Hurlers. Some carry buckets towards the woad-dying class; children gather around a leaning stone to create a sundial; and spectators stare at a line of kneeling volunteers who are all working with trowels, intent on uncovering the mysterious pathway of quartz – last revealed in the 1930s – seeming to link two of the circles.
Details of the earlier excavation were recently rediscovered and in the nearby converted mine-engine house are photos from that time, when fallen stones were righted into original socket holes deep beneath ground level. While today’s dig continues, the Caradon Hill Area Heritage Project has organised studies of alignments between the stones and stars, and the archaeologist guides walks around bronze age features that have survived centuries of mining and quarrying.
Uphill from the site of a possible fourth circle, where two men with a tape measure attempt a geophysical survey, dark-fleeced sheep merge with granite boulders among bracken and turf dotted with tormentil. A swallow flies above the Rillaton burial mound where the round-bottomed gold cup discovered by stone prospectors in 1837 has been dated from around 2000 BC. The origin of gold used to make it is not known, although gold inlaid into the bronze of the Nebra sky disc, found in Germany, is now known to have come from Cornwall. Ahead, Stowes Hill is set above worked moorstone and the quarry face. The stony top, with its strange and beautiful tors, is enclosed in a massive rampart. The most famous tor, the Cheesewring, because of its likeness to a pile of cheeses, is perched precariously above the quarry and remains an eye-catching landmark – a destination for trips and summer picnics.
Far off, towards the middle of Bodmin Moor, patches of sun light the flanks of Brown Willy. Sea to the south is misted and, below the eastern rampart, an expanse of emerald fields and darker woods spreads across valleys of the Lynher and the Tamar rivers towards Dartmoor.
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