Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Kerbed cairn 100m NNW of Chapel Carn Brea

A Scheduled Monument in St. Buryan, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.0957 / 50°5'44"N

Longitude: -5.6574 / 5°39'26"W

OS Eastings: 138527.468938

OS Northings: 28142.007487

OS Grid: SW385281

Mapcode National: GBR DXDF.KFC

Mapcode Global: VH05F.WVJH

Entry Name: Kerbed cairn 100m NNW of Chapel Carn Brea

Scheduled Date: 1 February 1961

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004389

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 588

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Buryan

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Just-in-Penwith

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a kerbed cairn, situated on the upper northern slopes of the prominent hill called Carn Brea, with views across to Whitesand Bay. The cairn survives as a circular stony mound measuring up to 12m in diameter and 1.7m high. The cairn is surrounded by a partial kerb of contiguous stone blocks with an inner diameter of 6.3m which stands up to 0.9m high. In the centre is an early excavation hollow containing a slab of stone which Henderson, the first to describe the cairn in around 1914, suggested was the dislodged cover stone of a cist composed from drystone walling.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-420646

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Kerbed cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds defined by an outer kerb of upright stones or walling covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Often occupying prominent locations, kerbed cairns are a major visual element in the modern landscape. They are a relatively common feature of the uplands and are the stone equivalent of the earthen round barrows of the lowlands. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period. Despite partial early excavation the kerbed cairn 100m NNW of Chapel Carn Brea survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity, territorial significance, social organisation, funerary and ritual practices and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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