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Portal dolmen 400m north east of Lesquite Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Lanivet, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4329 / 50°25'58"N

Longitude: -4.7179 / 4°43'4"W

OS Eastings: 207075.629231

OS Northings: 62756.478093

OS Grid: SX070627

Mapcode National: GBR N2.Q5Y2

Mapcode Global: FRA 170X.7T9

Entry Name: Portal dolmen 400m north east of Lesquite Farm

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1932

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1003047

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 189

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Lanivet

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Lanivet

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a portal dolmen, known locally as 'Lesquite', 'Lanivet' or 'Trebyan' Quoit, situated on the lower east-facing slopes of a prominent ridge, overlooking the marshy Red Moor with views across to Helman Tor. The portal dolmen survives as two upright orthostats and a leaning capstone set into a low stony irregular-shaped mound, possibly the result of field clearance. The capstone measures 5.1m by 3.3m. It is partially buried and leans against an upright measuring 1.8m high and 1.6m wide. Immediately to the north is a second upright measuring 1.2m high and 2.7m wide. In 1973, a pipe-laying trench excavated 6m south of the orthostats revealed several stone socket holes, thought to represent part of the kerb of the original circular or oval mound, and a post-hole which might imply an earlier structure beneath the mound or a possible ritual pit. First described and illustrated by Blight in 1858 and 1870, it appears to have changed little since this time except two small stone stumps are no longer visible. Polsue in 1870 recorded the local tradition of the stones having been thrown to their present location from Helman Tor by the Devil playing quoits. The portal dolmen was re-surveyed and described by Henderson in 1923 and subsequently by Pool, the Ordnance Survey and Barnatt.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-431432

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Portal dolmens are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early and Middle Neolithic period, the dated examples showing construction in the period 3500- 2600 BC. As burial monuments of Britain's early farming communities, they are among the oldest visible field monuments to survive in the present landscape. Where sufficiently well-preserved, they comprise a small closed rectangular chamber built from large stone slabs, with free-standing stones flanking the frontal slab of the chamber. A capstone, often massive, covers the chamber, and some examples show traces of a low cairn or platform around the chamber. Some sites have traces of a kerb around the cairn and certain sites show a forecourt area, edged by a facade of upright stones in a few examples. Little is yet known about the form of the primary burial rites. At the few excavated sites, pits and postholes have been recorded within and in front of the chamber, containing charcoal and cremated bone; some chamber contents of soil and stones may be original blocking deposits. Many portal dolmens were re-used for urned cremations, especially during the Middle Bronze Age. Only about 20 portal dolmens are known nationally, concentrated in west Penwith, Cornwall, and in the north-west Oxfordshire Cotswolds, with a scatter between these. As one of the few surviving field monument types of the Neolithic period and due to their rarity, considerable age and longevity of construction and use, all portal dolmens are considered to be nationally important. Despite the effects of past cultivation and earlier stone robbing, the portal dolmen 400m north east of Lesquite Farm survives comparatively well and will still contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, longevity, ritual and funerary practices, social organisation, territorial significance and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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