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Our Projects

Please note: all sites are referred to by their NCH project code in the interest of protecting the landowners and archaeology


NCH01 is our longest-standing and primary site. Excavations started in 2003 on the site of the settlement of Melorne, the location and name of which were identified on a map of the area dating to 1296. The settlement is comprised of a square earthwork enclosure, a well preserved long house, a large structure interpreted as a barn, a structure interpreted as an open faced barn and a potential second long house. All of the buildings are of a dry stone slate construction and date to the 13th Century. There is also evidence of an earlier wooden phase of construction at Melorne.

Along with the settlement of Melorne, we have identified several other features in the surrounding landscape. One is a long curvilinear embankment running roughly east from Melorne towards the River Camel. Despite excavating two slots through it, the embankment is still of unknown date and function. Another feature is a track-way running north-east – south-west across the landscape adjacent to the village. The track-way crosses the River Camel, where we believe an ancient ford exists.


NCH02 was first excavated by North Cornwall Heritage during our 2011 season. The site was identified through geophysical survey, prompted by a scheduled area of known Iron Age provenance in an adjacent field. The survey revealed several curvilinear features, including a large enclosure, two parallel ditches running through the survey area and a number of smaller anomalies. We intend to continue our exploration of what we believe to be a very promising site in future years.


North Cornwall Heritage commenced excavations at NCH03 in 2011 after the landowner requested that we explore a series of ‘lumps and bumps’ in one of their fields. Initial excavations found a number of Medieval pottery sherds, although nothing currently indicates the function of this site. A geophysical survey was subsequently commissioned to help establish a better understanding of the immediate landscape around our first trenches. A linear anomaly was observed and targeted, and during excavation was revealed to be three separate ditches running parallel to one another. Whilst the function of these ditches is not yet understood, a coin was discovered in the middle linear during our 2012 season. In 2013, we discovered a Cornish Hedgerow running parallel to one of the ditches, which we believe to be Medieval in date and show a change in field structure at this time.


Excavations at NCH04 took place in 2011 as part of our academic outreach programme. A student from the University of Winchester approached North Cornwall Heritage with a proposal to excavate a site within our remit and requested our assistance in doing so. The site, a scheduled area of known Iron Age provenance, is comprised of three interlocking ditch and bank enclosures. Prior to the 2011 season, a geophysical survey identified several previously unknown aspects of the site outside of the scheduled area. These included a series of small ‘earlobe’ enclosures and a number of anomalies indicative of pits and/or post holes. The most predominate of the enclosure ditches, containing several sherds of Iron Age ceramic, a second, smaller enclosure ditch and a number of pit features were targeted. Further work is planned for NCH04 in the future to better understand the site’s form, function and date.


NCH05 was first observed as a crop mark and subsequently through a geophysical survey of the area. The results clearly show a large pentagonal, double ditched enclosure and a track way or road of unknown date and function. Our initial excavations focused on a trial trench opened over a section of the interior ditch. Although the ditch was only partially excavated due to its depth and limited diagnostic material was uncovered, the profile of the ditch appears to be military in style. NCH05 is of great interest to North Cornwall Heritage and we hope to return to this exceptional and potentially critical site in future seasons.


NCH06 is another project that started as part of our academic outreach work, as part of a University of Winchester students dissertation/final year project. This site is an unscheduled Round, which has been truncated by later activity running across the site. Round is a Cornish word describing what would usually be termed as a hillfort, typically Iron Age in date in the rest of the country. However, things are not as clear as Rounds were occupied much later in Cornwall than hillforts were in Britain, well into the Romano-British period. Investigations so far have been inconclusive in terms of dating the site, and work will continue in the future to try and ascertain a date for the enclosure.


NCH07 is in the first steps in a proposed much wider settlement study looking at the establishment, development and continued use of a moorland village within the mid-medieval period. It is associated with a medieval settlement and is situated on Bodmin Moor, which has historical evidence linking it to the Knights Templar in the 12th Century. Previous excavations has uncovered evidence of occupation and activity from the pre-historic period through to the 15th century. Future work will include excavation, geophysics as well as both landscape and standing building survey.