Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Portal dolmen called Sperris Quoit

A Scheduled Monument in Zennor, Cornwall

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street or Overhead View
Contributor Photos »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.

Coordinates

Latitude: 50.1902 / 50°11'24"N

Longitude: -5.5445 / 5°32'40"W

OS Eastings: 147099.832002

OS Northings: 38253.482623

OS Grid: SW470382

Mapcode National: GBR DXP5.P3Y

Mapcode Global: VH053.VH72

Entry Name: Portal dolmen called Sperris Quoit

Scheduled Date: 23 March 1970

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004306

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 718

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Zennor

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Zennor

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a portal dolmen, situated on the north east side of the rocky hill of Zennor Carn. The portal dolmen survives as one earthfast upright stone standing approximately 1m high, three recumbent stones and a partially buried stone stump with traces of a surrounding stony mound measuring up to 12m in diameter.
First recorded by Borlase, when its capstone was still in place, it was later noted by Henderson in the 1920's. Partial excavations by Thomas and Wailes in 1954 found the centre had been badly disturbed, although they were able to record that the chamber had been formed by five orthostats, two standing, two fallen and one reduced to a stump which were arranged like a 'house of cards stacked together' all set into a circular cairn. A small cremation pit was found just outside the chamber, in a probable antechamber. This was interpreted as a dedication deposit which predated the erection of the main chamber. Finds included flints and Early and Middle Bronze Age pottery.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-423208

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. Despite partial excavation, the portal dolmen called Sperris Quoit survives comparatively well. The limited scale of these excavations mean further archaeological and environmental evidence will be retained relating to its construction, re-use, funerary and ritual practices, territorial significance, social organisation and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

Other nearby scheduled monuments

AncientMonuments.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact AncientMonuments.uk for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself.

AncientMonuments.uk is a Good Stuff website.