The Tale of Boden Fogou

It was in 1991 that I received a telephone call from Tony Williams of Higher Boden. "Come and see what I have found" he said.

There had been a tale for many years that 25 feet away from the apple tree in the hedge there was a tunnel. Mr Williams and Chris Hosken, both local farmers, had decided to verify this story by probing the soil at the 25-foot measurement. Their probing revealed a line of rocks at just the right spot. This was duly reported to the Cornwall Archeological Unit (CAU) and a geophysical survey report was produced which showed numerous anomalies in the soil, one of which was a long feature, thought to be a tunnel or fogou.

Margaret Hunt This started a dream for me that, one day, I would be able to help excavate the site.

It was not until twelve years later, on October 14th 2003, when I walked onto the site, my trowel at the ready, that my dream came true.

Sadly Mr Williams did not live to see the day, but Chris Hosken inspired us all over the next four weeks.

Boden proved to be more than was expected, for not only was the Romano British fogou revealed with all the ditches, banks and pottery that one would expect to find on a site of that period, but also evidence of the Bronze Age in the form of pottery within a round house.
Boden Fogou boden-pot
Two quadrants of this were partially excavated and in one of these were found large pieces of thickly decorated Trevisker style pottery with rims, which when reconstructed may turn out to be one of the largest ever found in Cornwall with a diameter of about 34 cm at the rim.

The fogou tunnel, when excavated, revealed a magnificent structure with walling up to 1.5 m high and a scatter of huge lintel stones lying haphazardly just above the floor level. A possible human tooth was found lying near the floor surface next to pieces of black burnished ware pottery.

Evidence of burning and numerous pieces of pottery were found in all seven trenches excavated and to crown the whole dig three Roman coins (provisionally dated to the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD), three spindle whorls made from clay (at first thought to be big beads as the middle hole is rather small), a possible copper alloy brooch, and one small blue complete glass bead.
We look forward with great expectations to the report and hope it will be possible for more excavations to be funded in the near future.

Margaret Hunt