Ancient Monuments

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Promontory fort at Carn Les Boel

A Scheduled Monument in St. Levan, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.0504 / 50°3'1"N

Longitude: -5.6945 / 5°41'40"W

OS Eastings: 135625.855109

OS Northings: 23235.669439

OS Grid: SW356232

Mapcode National: GBR DXBK.0FW

Mapcode Global: VH05M.7ZXR

Entry Name: Promontory fort at Carn Les Boel

Scheduled Date: 3 August 1971

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004293

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 762

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Levan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Levan

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a promontory fort, situated on a coastal headland between Mill Bay and Pendower Cove. The fort survives as an irregularly-shaped enclosure defined by cliffs on all except the landward (eastern) side where a single rampart and outer ditch form the final line of defence. The rampart curves in towards a central pair of stones in the centre of the ridge, which may have demarcated the original entrance. One stone is upright standing up to 2.1m high and one recumbent. The rampart bank and ditch, which at most are up to 0.5m high and deep respectively, are not clearly defined to the south of the stones.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone- walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status, probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded examples. They are relatively rare and important for understanding of the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period. The promontory fort at Carn Les Boel survives reasonably well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, territorial significance, trade, agricultural practices, settlement and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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