Islanders Being Asked To Record Threatened Archaeological Sites

Islanders are being asked to help record how the sea is eroding Scilly’s historic coastal sites, before it’s too late.

Charlie Johns, Cornwall Council’s archaeologist, is back in the islands to set up a Shorewatch group. He’s hoping to start sessions, where volunteers will record data from areas threatened by erosion.

Charlie says a similar approach has been very successful in Scotland with each island group having it’s own Shorewatch team.

The areas that will be surveyed here include the bronze-age remains jutting out of the cliff at Halangy on St Mary’s and the Old Quay on St Martin’s, where 5,000 year old Neolithic pottery has been uncovered,

There’ll also be work around the corner at Par Beach.

A cow’s tooth, thought to originate in 4000BC was recently found there. Radiocarbon dating is expected to confirm it as one of the oldest examples of domestic animal rearing in the British Isles.

From Radio Scilly

Charlie Johns describes the Shorewatch project

On Bryher, Charlie hopes to take a group to investigate Bonfire Cairn on Samson Hill, which was home to an ancient pottery, discovery in the 1930s.

Charlie says local people could ‘adopt’ a site close to them to make an initial record now, then again in October and next April to observe how winter storms could be affecting that area.

He says it’s worthwhile because there can be fairly dramatic falls of material from cliffs during the winter, and that means archaeological features can be lost, as well as new ones exposed.

Charlie and local volunteers will be joined by Jacqui Mulville and Ian Dennis from Cardiff University.

They’ll be coming over on the boat on Thursday and you can get their contact details from Radio Scilly or the museum.