Ancient Monuments

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Platform cairn on Goonzion Downs

A Scheduled Monument in St. Neot, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4783 / 50°28'41"N

Longitude: -4.5699 / 4°34'11"W

OS Eastings: 217761.551348

OS Northings: 67430.930656

OS Grid: SX177674

Mapcode National: GBR N9.M7YT

Mapcode Global: FRA 179S.RGL

Entry Name: Platform cairn on Goonzion Downs

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1970

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004360

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 672

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Neot

Built-Up Area: St Neot

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Neot

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a platform cairn, situated on the south eastern upper slopes of Goonzion Downs. The cairn survives as a circular platform of up to 21m in diameter with a slight peripheral bank; a 2m wide and 0.6m high berm; a central mound of approximately 13m in diameter and 1.2m high; and a surrounding quarry ditch, from which material to construct the mound was derived, which survives as a buried feature. The top of the mound has been cut by three trenches and a square hollow to the east, west and across the centre from north to south disturbing the original profile. These are probably the result of early excavation, although no further details are known.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-432365

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Bodmin Moor, the largest of the Cornish granite uplands, has long been recognised to have exceptional preservation of archaeological remains. The Moor has been the subject of detailed archaeological survey and is one of the best recorded upland landscapes in England. The extensive relict landscapes of prehistoric, medieval and post-medieval date provide direct evidence for human exploitation of the Moor from the earliest prehistoric period onwards. The well-preserved and often visible relationship between settlement sites, field systems, ceremonial and funerary monuments as well as later industrial remains provides significant insights into successive changes in the pattern of land use through time. Platform cairns are funerary monuments covering single or multiple burials and dating to the Early Bronze Age (c.2000-1600 BC). They were constructed as low flat-topped mounds of stone rubble up to 40m in external diameter. Some examples have other features, including peripheral banks and internal mounds, constructed on this platform. A kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edges of the platform, bank or mound, or all three. Platform cairns occur as isolated monuments, in small groups, or in cairn cemeteries. In the latter instances they are normally found alongside cairns of other types. Although no precise figure is available, current evidence indicates that there are less than 250 known examples of this monument class nationally. They are a rare monument type exhibiting considerable variation in form, and are important for understanding the variations in social organisation and burial practices of the period. Despite early partial excavation, the platform cairn on Goonzion Downs survives comparatively well and is subtly different from others on Bodmin Moor because the underlying geology in this area is not granite but the softer, more friable shillet, which is more likely to have been quarried on site, thus incorporating more earth into the cairn itself than material gathered from surface deposits of available loose stone. The cairn will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, territorial significance, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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