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Later Prehistoric to Roman round 500m north east of West Carne Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Altarnun, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.6148 / 50°36'53"N

Longitude: -4.5369 / 4°32'12"W

OS Eastings: 220620.047134

OS Northings: 82530.685632

OS Grid: SX206825

Mapcode National: GBR NB.BQGF

Mapcode Global: FRA 17DF.SDG

Entry Name: Later Prehistoric to Roman round 500m NE of West Carne Farm

Scheduled Date: 26 July 1973

Last Amended: 4 September 1991

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011791

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15038

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Altarnun

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Altarnon with Bolventor

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument comprises an oval defended enclosure, a round, with an inner bank
and well-spaced outer ditch, on a natural spur in the floor of the Penpont
Water valley. It is divided into three separate constraint areas.
The round consists of an oval interior area, 100m NE-SW by 80m NW-SE, defended
by a single earthen rampart surviving 5m wide and 0.5m high around the S half,
rising to 1.5m high at the NE edge where it is accentuated by a natural scarp
down to the river's flood plain. Within this rampart, the interior contains
another slight rampart, 0.5-0.75m high and up to 3m wide, delimiting the NE
edge of the more level SW sector from the slope down towards the valley floor
in the NE sector; this slight rampart is incomplete as a visible feature,
disappearing into the more gentle contour at its NW end. The oval inner
enclosure has the natural outer defences of the Penpont Water flood plain,
still an area of marsh, to the NW, N and NE; its S side was defended by a
well-spaced outer ditch, surviving portions of which are visible to the WSW
and S sides. To the WSW, this ditch is 6m wide and 1.5m deep, centred 80m W of
the inner enclosure's W edge; the ditch runs N-S for 52m, curving to the E
slightly at both ends and truncated at its N end by the river's flood terrace
scarp; a recent hedge bank has been constructed along its W side. The other
visible portion of ditch survives as a 33m length, 9m wide and 0.5m deep,
centred 44m S of the inner enclosure rampart; early maps show that this
section of the ditch was formerly more extensive, especially to the W where it
projected towards the other surviving remnant, but no visible traces are now
present there.

This monument has not been subject to excavation, though its surface features
are typical of those of rounds, agricultural settlements mostly constructed in
the period 2nd century BC to the 4th century AD. There is no evidence to
support either a Roman military origin, as suggested by early maps, or a local
tradition of a Roman religious site here. It is situated on a low spur in the
floor of a broad, marshy valley, 0.7km from the steeply rising NE edge of
Bodmin Moor at Carne Down.

All modern walls and hedges are excluded from the scheduling but the land
beneath them, including hedge-banks, is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Rounds are small embanked enclosures with an external ditch, usually circular
or oval, forming one of a range of known settlement types dating to the later
Iron Age and Roman periods. They usually have a single earth-and-rubble bank
and outer ditch, broken by one entrance gap. Excavated examples have produced
dry-stone supporting walls within the bank, paved or cobbled entrance ways and
post-built gate structures. Excavated features within rounds have included
foundations of timber, turf or stone built houses, of oval or rectangular
plan, often set around the inner edge of the enclosing bank. Other features
include hearths, drains, gullies, pits and rubbish middens. Evidence for
industrial activities has been recovered from some sites, including
small-scale metal-working, and among the domestic debris occur items traded
from distant sources. Some rounds are associated with secondary enclosues,
often circular or rectangular, and either butted against the round as an
annexe or forming an additional enclosure up to 100m away.
Rounds are viewed primarily as agricultural settlements, the equivalents of
farming hamlets, replaced by unenclosed settlement types by the 7th century
AD. Over 750 rounds are recorded nationally, occurring throughout the areas
bordering the Irish Sea, and confined in England to Cornwall and SW Devon.
They are most densely concentrated in west Cornwall and are usually sited on
hill-slopes and spurs. They are particularly important as one of the major
sources of information on settlement and social organisation in the Iron Age
and Roman periods in south-west England. Consequently sites displaying an
extensively complete ground plan representative of the range of known types,
topographical locations and geographical spread will normally be considered to
be of national importance.

The round near West Carne is reasonably well preserved and is of particular
importance because of its unusual valley-floor position and its isolated
situation well away from the main areas of concentration of this monument

Source: Historic England


consulted 2/1991, Cornwall SMR entry for SX 28 SW 14,
Mercer, R J, AM7 Scheduling Document relating to CO 860, 1972,
Title: Ordnance Survey 25": 1 mile Map, Cornwall XVII
Source Date: 1905

Source: Historic England

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