Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Round cairn on Carn Polpry

A Scheduled Monument in St. Just, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.1097 / 50°6'34"N

Longitude: -5.6966 / 5°41'47"W

OS Eastings: 135799.332601

OS Northings: 29832.0044

OS Grid: SW357298

Mapcode National: GBR DX9D.CFN

Mapcode Global: VH05F.6HSS

Entry Name: Round cairn on Carn Polpry

Scheduled Date: 5 June 1961

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1004624

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 587

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Just

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 round cairn, situated on the far western coast of Cornwall on the rocky cliffs of Carn Polpry, overlooking Polpry Cove. The cairn survives as a circular stony mound measuring up to 8.5m in diameter, with a rim bank of small stones measuring 3m wide and up to 0.9m high. There are two protruding kerb stones visible to the north west, and a central excavation hollow. The cairn was partially excavated by Borlase in the late-19th century, along with two others and together they produced pottery from at least seven urns, burnt human bone, a flint and a perforated beach pebble. This particular cairn was also found to contain an inner stone wall.
Further archaeological remains survive in the vicinity some are the subject of separate schedulings.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-420567

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as stone mounds 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, 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 round cairn on Carn Polpry will contain further 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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