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Bronze Age
   
Cairn
Hut Circle Settlement
Standing Stone
Stone Circle
 
 
    Bronze Age menu
2500 to 800 BC
 
 
  Cairn
During the Bronze Age the dead were normally cremated and the remains placed in a pottery vessel (funerary urn) which was set into the ground beneath a circular mound. Cairn means simply a ‘stony mound’, and they are the upland equivalent of the earth and stone round barrows of the lowland zone. Cairns may incorporate a variety of ‘architectural’ features such as cists and kerbs, and excavation shows that they often went through a series of developments to reach the final phase visible today.
 
  Hut Circle Settlement
A prehistoric settlement consisting of stone-walled round houses, usually dateable to the Bronze or Iron Ages. The houses, sometimes solitary but more often in groups, are now visible only as low stony banks, but even so, it is often possible to recognise different constructional techniques in the walling and to identify the doorways. They survive only in moorland areas and are often associated with the remains of contemporary field systems.
 
  Standing Stone
Setting large stones upright is one of the features of the megalithic culture which flourished in Britain in the late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. Standing stones can occur singly or in pairs, and are often associated with other megalithic sites, particularly stone circles. They seem to have played an important role in the ceremonial and ritual life of the times, and may have served a variety of purposes, perhaps as memorial stones or grave markers, way markers or territorial boundary stones.
 
  Stone Circle
Stone circles are probably the most dramatic manifestation of the megalithic culture of the late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age. Very few are perfectly circular and their function, as expressed in their layout and design and their landscape context, has sparked controversy and debate in recent years. They are often found in association with other megalithic monuments in 'sacred landscapes' on windswept uplands which may broadly be interpreted as places set aside for the performance of ceremonial and ritual.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Bronze Age


The introduction of metalworking marks the beginning of the Bronze Age. At first gold and then copper objects are made, but increasingly bronze, made by alloying tin and copper, comes to dominate. Initially used to create items for personal adornment, metalworking is rapidly devoted to the production of tools and weapons.

The large scale clearance of woodland intensifies, and field systems extend over large areas of the best soil types.

Lowland Cornwall was densely settled but today we get our best glimpses of life from the upland areas of Bodmin Moor, the Lizard, and West Penwith. Hundreds of stone round houses and many hundreds of acres of fields, defined by low stone banks, lie scattered across these upland plateaux and valley sides. Many were permanently occupied but others were used only seasonally.

Ceremonial and burial monuments, the stone circles, stone rows, standing stones and barrows or cairns characterise this period as religion and ceremony are inseparably woven into the fabric of everyday life. Bodies are cremated and buried in funerary urns.

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supported by HLF and compiled by the Historic Environment Service of Cornwall County Council  
last updated: 05/09/2007