Ancient Monuments

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Large multivallate hillfort with two bowl barrows known as Castle-an-Dinas, 335m north of Tresaddern Bungalow

A Scheduled Monument in St. Columb Major, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.4251 / 50°25'30"N

Longitude: -4.8939 / 4°53'37"W

OS Eastings: 194546.264727

OS Northings: 62365.41956

OS Grid: SW945623

Mapcode National: GBR ZQ.V7ST

Mapcode Global: FRA 07MX.Z42

Entry Name: Large multivallate hillfort with two bowl barrows known as Castle-an-Dinas, 335m north of Tresaddern Bungalow

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006713

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 93

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: St. Columb Major

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: St Columb Major

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a large multivallate hillfort which contains two bowl barrows, situated at the summit of a prominent and distinctive hill known as Castle Downs. The hillfort survives as a roughly-circular enclosure covering an area of approximately 7 hectares defined by four concentric ramparts and ditches.

The hillfort was first described by Hals (1655 - 1737), and historical research by Henderson in the 1930's suggested post-Roman occupation. The hillfort was partially excavated by Wailes between 1962 and 1964 when earthwork and magnetometer surveys and phosphate analysis were also completed. The work showed that all four ramparts (numbered 1 - 4 inner to outer) were of dump construction. Rampart 3 was much slighter, had up to six entrances and was stratigraphically earlier than the rest, but had never been deliberately back filled. Rampart 2 had a relatively slight outer ditch so was probably a counterscarp bank to rampart 1which had two phases of construction. The entrance to the fort was in the south west and in rampart 1 the entrance was cobbled, stone faced and slightly inturned. Little evidence of occupation was found within the interior, although only a small area was examined. This located some post holes, the remains of a possible hut, implying short-term occupation. The spring pond on the north side of the interior was investigated for organic remains and, although proven to be artificial, no specific dating or construction evidence could be determined.

Within the interior of the hillfort are two bowl barrows. The north western barrow survives as a slight uneven circular mound with some protruding stones. The south eastern barrow survives as a circular mound measuring 17m in diameter and 0.9m high with a central excavation hollow. It was investigated by Borlase in 1871 and produced two pits but no finds.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-430680 and 430713

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Large multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of between 5ha and 85ha in area, located on hills and defined by two or more lines of concentric earthworks set at intervals of up to 15m. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are generally regarded as centres of permanent occupation, defended in response to increasing warfare, a reflection of the power struggle between competing elites. Earthworks usually consist of a rampart and ditch, although some only have ramparts. Entrances may comprise a single gap in the rampart, inturned or offset ramparts, oblique approaches, guardrooms or outworks. Internal features generally include evidence for intensive occupation, often in the form of oval or circular houses which display variations in size and are often clustered, for example, along streets. Four- and six-post structures, interpreted as raised granaries, also occur widely while a few sites appear to contain evidence for temples. Other features associated with settlement include platforms, paved areas, pits, gullies, fences, hearths and ovens. Additional evidence, in the form of artefacts, suggests that industrial activity such as bronze- and iron-working as well as pottery manufacture occurred on many sites. Large multivallate hillforts are rare with around 50 examples recorded nationally. They are important for understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period.

Bowl barrows are funerary monuments dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age, with most examples belonging to the period 2400-1500 BC. They were constructed as earthen or rubble mounds, sometimes ditched, which covered single or multiple burials.

Despite partial excavation, the large multivallate hillfort with two bowl barrows known as Castle-an-Dinas, 335m north of Tresaddern Bungalow will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to their construction, longevity, use, strategic and ritual significance, development, domestic arrangements, agricultural practices and overall landscape context.

Source: Historic England

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