Ancient Monuments

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Burial chamber on St Breock Downs

A Scheduled Monument in St. Breock, Cornwall

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Coordinates

Latitude: 50.4786 / 50°28'42"N

Longitude: -4.8656 / 4°51'56"W

OS Eastings: 196783.92197

OS Northings: 68232.789641

OS Grid: SW967682

Mapcode National: GBR ZS.1WS4

Mapcode Global: FRA 07PS.Q7W

Entry Name: Burial chamber on St Breock Downs

Scheduled Date: 23 April 1958

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004475

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 336

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Breock

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Wenn

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Summary

Portal dolmen at St Breock Beacon.

Source: Historic England

Details

This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 December 2015. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.

This monument includes a portal dolmen situated at the summit of a very prominent ridge known as St Breock Downs. The portal dolmen survives as a chamber formed by two large partially earthfast stones one measuring 2.3m long by 0.7m high which supports a second measuring 2.2m long by 1.3m wide thought to be a capstone, with some traces of drystone walling in the hollow between them.

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 considerable scrub growth, the portal dolmen at St Breock Beacon survives comparatively well and will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, longevity, social organisation, territorial significance, funerary and ritual practices and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
PastScape Monument No:-430341

Source: Historic England

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