Excavations at Copt Howe day 8: Flat slabs in Trench 3

Another glorious sunny day in Great Langdale.


Above: Once again, Copt Howe basks in unbroken sunshine (Photo: Aaron Watson, 2018)


Above: The motifs above Trench 3 are difficult to see, but they are especially vivid in morning sunlight (Photo: Aaron Watson, 2018)


Above: The two remaining trenches under excavation (Photo: Aaron Watson, 2018)


We have been given permission by the National Trust to remove the ladder stile over the wall. With the stile removed, it is possible to reveal the full extent of the unknown motif in Trench 1. It has several concentric circles.


Above: Pete examines the newly revealed motif (Photo: Aaron Watson, 2018)


Above: The two newly recognised motifs, arcs and concentric circles, set within the context of the wider panel (Photo: Aaron Watson, 2018)


Meanwhile, an enormous amount of effort has gone into digging Trench 3, working in sticky and smelly conditions through the large deposits of cobbles which had been used, in recent times, to consolidate the boggy ground. There also seemed to be a lot of material naturally introduced by slope processes, and this was confusing the archaeology. All the effort is now finally paying off and we begin to see Neolithic features. Similar to Trench 1, a large flat slab was placed beneath a layer of cobbles.


Above: The flat slab placed at the base of the rock in Trench 3 (Photo: Aaron Watson, 2018)


Where might these slabs have originated? Like many of the fractured stones in Trenches 1 and 3, we suspect they have been detached from the Boulders themselves. These rocks display many scars.


Above: The other side of Rock 1, away from Trench 1, has a completely different character. There are gigantic flake scars. Some of these originate from the geological history of these Boulders, but some smaller features may well have Neolithic origins.


The excavations at Copt Howe were directed by Richard Bradley and Aaron Watson. Many thanks to Yvonne Luke, Diane O'Leary, Nick Russell, Ronnie Scott, Kate Sharpe, Moyra Simon, Peter Style, Sally Taylor and Emma Watson for helping us with the fieldwork.

Thanks also to Historic England for granting permission for us to work at this scheduled monument, and to the National Trust for their support throughout. The excavations were funded by the Prehistoric Society and the Royal Archaeological Institute.

I will update my website with further information as the analysis and interpretation of the excavation continues.