Ancient Monuments

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Portal dolmen called The Giant's Quoit at Carwynnen

A Scheduled Monument in Camborne, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1882 / 50°11'17"N

Longitude: -5.2933 / 5°17'35"W

OS Eastings: 165014.620392

OS Northings: 37211.119198

OS Grid: SW650372

Mapcode National: GBR FX95.XV8

Mapcode Global: VH12Q.6JHL

Entry Name: Portal dolmen called The Giant's Quoit at Carwynnen

Scheduled Date: 13 January 1955

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004458

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 396

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Camborne

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Treslothan

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a portal dolmen, known locally as 'The Giant's Quoit' or 'The Giant's Frying Pan', situated on a gentle west-facing slope between two small tributaries to the Red River. The portal dolmen survives as a collapsed chamber originally formed by a capstone and three upright stones which stood to a height of 1.5m. It collapsed in the 19th century. The chamber was rebuilt, but collapsed again in 1967. The capstone measures approximately 3.3m long by 2.5m wide and 0.3m thick. Two of the former supports, up to 2.7m long, now rest on top of it with the third lying beneath. Further stones surrounding the portal dolmen are the result of field clearance. It was first described and sketched by Borlase in the 18th century.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-425684

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, mainly concentrated in west Penwith, Cornwall. Despite having collapsed and some disturbance by cultivation, the portal dolmen called The Giant's Quoit at Carwynnen is still one of an extremely ancient and rare group of monuments. It will retain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, longevity, funerary and ritual practices, social organisation, territorial significance, collapse, reconstruction and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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