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THE HURLERS

ALTERNATIVE NAME:  THE HURLERS STONE CIRCLES
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The Hurlers consist of three late Neolithic or early Bronze Age stone circles arranged in a line aligned north-east to south-west, a grouping unique in England. They are traditionally reputed to be the remains of men petrified for playing 'hurling' on a Sunday. The stones are of granite, many with flat inner faces and some with flattened tops. To the west is a pair of outlying upright stones standing close together, known as the Pipers. Of the northern circle 15 original stones are visible, and excavation indicated there were originally 10 more, now represented by marker stones. The regular spacing suggests there would have been five more. A strip of granite paving ran between this and the central circle. The central circle has 14 original stones and 14 markers. All the stones were hammered smooth, and the chippings were deposited nearby. The southern circle has not been excavated; it has nine original stones of which seven have fallen. Stone robbing has damaged all the circles to some extent, while the introduction of cattle has resulted in many of the stones falling over. The axis through the centres of the two northern circles aligns on Rillaton Barrow to the north-east, while the axis of the other circles aligns directly with a cairn to the south-west. Other alignments are visible with another stone circle, an embanked avenue and a stone row. The site is likely to have held great ritual significance. The circles were documented in 1584 by the cartographer John Norden and subsequently by Richard Carew in 1602. Excavation work, including the re-erection of fallen stones, was carried out on the site in 1935-6 by C A Ralegh Radford. Post-medieval activity including tin-mining, is evident from a series of small pits. The numerous alignments of monuments apparent in this area suggest that the Hurlers may have been part of an important Bronze Age processional route. The site is managed by The Cornwall Hertiage Trust and in the care of English Heritage.

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Further information about monuments may be obtained by contacting Archive Services, through the Historic England website.