Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Small stone circle at Duloe, 150m south east of Stonetown Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Duloe, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3981 / 50°23'53"N

Longitude: -4.4836 / 4°29'0"W

OS Eastings: 223585.851001

OS Northings: 58309.043808

OS Grid: SX235583

Mapcode National: GBR NF.S64Y

Mapcode Global: FRA 17HZ.WN7

Entry Name: Small stone circle at Duloe, 150m south east of Stonetown Farm

Scheduled Date: 26 November 1928

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006714

English Heritage Legacy ID: CO 94

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Duloe

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Duloe

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a small stone circle situated on the upper slopes of an upland ridge forming the watershed between the West Looe and East Looe Rivers. The stone circle survives as an oval ring of eight stones measuring 11.7m long by 10.2m wide. Seven of the stones are earthfast uprights and one is recumbent and broken. All the stones are of quartz and are very large, varying in height from 1m to 2.4m. The circle was originally bisected by a hedge which was removed in 1858 and in 1863 three stones were re-erected and a Bronze Age ribbon-handled urn, containing cremated human bones, was found at the base of the NNE stone during a vain attempt to raise the broken stone. Later smaller stones have been added although it is unclear when these date to.

Sources: HER:-
PastScape Monument No:-434814

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Single upright stones may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating out from the circle occur at some sites. Burial cairns may also be found close to and on occasion within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south-west and the Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north-west. This distribution may be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern. Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). It is clear that they were carefully designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the heights of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead. Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles throughout the landscape has led to a suggestion that each one provided some form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. A small stone circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16 stones with a diameter of between 4 and 20 metres. Of the 250 or so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into prehistoric ritual activity. Despite early partial excavation and the re-erection of some of the stones, the small stone circle at Duloe, 150m south east of Stonetown Farm survives comparatively well and is the smallest in Cornwall, although made of the largest stones. It will contain archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, function, longevity, social, ritual and funerary significance and overall landscape context. The placement of further smaller stones at a later date reflects the continuing fascination such sites have.

Source: Historic England

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