Top Ancient Sites in Cornwall

Cornwall is a county in Southwest England and it's known for its beautiful landscape and also for the huge amount of ancient sites. Cornwall is a delight for explorers and people interested in learning more about life in ancient times. Here we list 9 ancient sites that are totally worth a visit.


Men-an-Tol consists of four granite stones: a holed stone with two upright stones to each side arranged in a line and a fallen stone at the foot of one of the upright stones. It's believed that this monument dates to either the late Neolithic or the early Bronze Age period. The real purpose of this arrangement is unknown. It's believed that this site was used for ritual and ceremonial purposes. Legend has it that the holed stone can cure children suffering from rickets if they are passed through the hole nine times. The stone was also believed to increase women's fertility.


Trethevy Quoit is an impressive portal dolmen (cromlech) consisting of five standing stones capped by a large stone. There is also a rear stone which once collapsed and now lies inside the chamber. It's believed that the whole structure was originally covered by a mound. The monument is almost 2.7 meters high and dates to the early Neolithic period, around 3500-2500 BC. At the upper end of the capstone is a porthole which may have been used for astronomical observation. However, some people suggest that the hole was drilled there for decoration purposes.


Carn Euny is an ancient site with evidence of activity as early as the Neolithic period. But there is also evidence of both Iron Age and post Iron Age settlements. The first timber huts were built around 200 BC, but by the first century BC, these had been replaced by stone huts. The remains of these huts are still visible today. The most impressive structure of the site is the fogou (a man-made underground passage) with a side passage that leads to a round stone chamber. The purpose of this structure is unknown.


Boscawen-Un is an elliptical stone circle consisting of nineteen upright stones with a central leaning stone. Eighteen of the stones forming the circle are made of grey granite and one is made of white quartz. The position of the quartz stone indicates the likely direction of the sun as it moves south after Samhain. The stone circle dates from the late Neolithic and early Bronze Age periods. It's believed that the site was a place for rituals and ceremonies.


Tregiffian Burial Chamber is a late Neolithic or early Bonze Age chambered tomb. It has an entrance passage lined with stone slabs which leads into a central chamber. This type of tomb is a rare form of passage grave known as entrance grave. Most of the tomb was covered with soil with only the entrance exposed. The tomb is located near the Merry Maidens Stone Circle and it's believed that these ancient sites, along with others in the area, formed a sacred place.


The Merry Maidens Stone Circle is a late Neolithic stone circle consisting of nineteen granite stones. According to legend, nineteen maidens were turned into stones as punishment for dancing on a Sunday. The stone circle was partly restored in the 19th century. Some of the stones were moved and a new stone was added, giving the appearance that the circle has today. It's believed that the stone circle consisted originally of eighteen stones.


Duloe Stone Circle is the smallest stone circle in Cornwall. The stone circle consists of seven upright stones and one recumbent stone. The stones are made of white quartz and are set in a pattern of alternating large and small stones. The stone circle was built in the Bronze Age period.


Rillaton Barrow is a reasonably well preserved cairn with a cist exposed in its east side. The cist has never been archaeologically excavated. However, stone robbers discovered the cist in 1837 and excavated it. Within the cist were the remains of a skeleton and grave goods, including the Rillaton Gold Cup and a bronze dagger. The gold cup is a very rare and important find. It's one of only seven other Northern European examples. It resembles a late Neolithic ceramic beaker with a corded style.


The Hurlers Stone Circles are a group of three adjacent stone circles that date back to the Neolithic and Bronze Age periods. It's believed that the stone circles may have been part of an important processional route. Excavations revealed a quartz crystal floor within the central circle. The stone circles run in a NNE to SSW line and are aligned with other ancient sites such as the Rillaton Barrow.

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