Review by Jacqueline A Nowakowski
A late Neolithic decorated slate disc adorns the front cover of this substantial and well-illustrated publication. Down the Bright Stream presents full technical reports on excavations (2009-2015) in Tregurra Valley by Cornwall Archaeological Unit. Key discoveries include a Neolithic buried soil, an Early Bronze Age enclosure at Woodcock Corner, and caches of Peterborough ware in pits (a rarity for Cornwall). But the star find – one of national importance – is the disc, which sealed a pit containing flint tools and Grooved Ware. Extensive fieldwork revealed episodic activity in three broad phases: Mesolithic hunter-gatherers, mobile Neolithic and Early Bronze Age pit-diggers, and early tin-processing events. Eight hundred years later, the valley becomes domesticated with fields, iron-smelting furnaces, and charcoal manufacture in the 1st millennium BC. Taskscapes beyond the realm of settlement characterise this hidden valley. With excellent landscape reconstructions by Jane Read, the results gained by this commercially funded project highlight the importance of looking beyond monumental landscapes in prehistory.
Down the Bright Stream: the prehistory of Woodcock Corner and the Tregurra Valley, Cornwall
Sean R Taylor
Archaeopress and Cornwall Council, £58