Ancient Monuments

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Caer Dane

A Scheduled Monument in Perranzabuloe, Cornwall

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Latitude: 50.3276 / 50°19'39"N

Longitude: -5.1239 / 5°7'26"W

OS Eastings: 177750.05317

OS Northings: 52180.618831

OS Grid: SW777521

Mapcode National: GBR Z9.TF5Y

Mapcode Global: FRA 0845.KM3

Entry Name: Caer Dane

Scheduled Date: 12 September 1950

Last Amended: 6 August 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016108

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29623

County: Cornwall

Civil Parish: Perranzabuloe

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Perranzabuloe

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes Caer Dane, a later prehistoric multiple enclosure fort
located on the summit of a hill 3.5km south east of Perranporth on the north
Cornish coast. It is surrounded on three of its four sides by small streams
and sits across the valley to the south west from another site of similar type
known as Caer Kief. The interior of the fort is surrounded by three concentric
lines of defence. The inner oval area is 40m east-west by 22m north-south
and occupies the highest ground available within the hillfort. It is defended
by a rampart 3.5m high surrounded by a ditch 4.9m wide. The ditch terminates
either side of a 4m entrance gap through the western side of the rampart. The
middle line of defence, which surrounds the central core at distances of
between 22m and 26m, includes a rampart 2m high fronted by a ditch 3.9m wide
which is less visible on the southern side of the hillfort. This line also has
an entrance to the west corresponding to that of the interior rampart. A
counterscarp bank follows the line of this ditch along part of its northern
circuit; this bank is 0.5m high and nearly 2m wide. A third concentric ditch,
but near circular rather than oval, is just visible in a series of slight
scarps on the break of slope at distances of between 60m and 90m from the
inner defended area; this outwork has a diameter of 230m. A bank forming part
of a hedge on the south west side, may also represent part of these outer
All fencing, gates and gateposts, and modern walling and banking, is excluded
from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 5 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Multiple enclosure forts comprise an inner and one or more outer enclosed
areas, together measuring up to c.10ha, and defined by sub-circular or sub-
rectangular earthworks spaced at intervals which exceed 15m; the inner
enclosure is usually entirely surrounded by a bank and ditch. The forts date
mainly to the Late Iron Age (350 BC-c.AD 50) and in England usually occur in
the south west. Most are sited on hillslopes overlooked by higher ground near
a water supply, and many were apparently used for periods of up to 250 years.
The outer enclosures of the forts are usually interpreted as areas set aside
for the containment of livestock, whilst the inner enclosures are generally
thought to have been the focus of occupation.
The earthworks usually include a bank with an outer V-shaped ditch 1m-3m deep.
Entrances are generally single gaps through each line of defence, often
aligned to create a passage from the outer to the inner enclosure, although
there are a few examples where entrances through successive earthworks are not
in alignment. Occasionally the interval between the gaps is marked by inturned
ramparts or low banks and ditches, while the outer entrance may be screened by
a short length of earthwork. Excavations within the inner enclosures have
revealed a range of buildings and structures, including circular structures,
hearths, ovens and cobbled surfaces as well as occasional small pits and large
depressions which may have functioned as watering holes.
Multiple enclosure forts are relatively rare with only around 75 examples
recorded in England, mostly in Devon and Cornwall. Outside these counties
their distribution becomes increasingly scattered and the form and
construction methods more varied. They are important for the study of
settlement and stock management in the later prehistoric period, and most
well-preserved examples will be identified as being of national importance.

Caer Dane has a particularly well defined nucleus and is one of the relatively
few surviving multiple enclosure forts in Cornwall. The monument will contain
information relating to the construction and use of the site, the lives of the
inhabitants, and the landscape in which they lived.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
The Victoria History of the County, (1906), 462
Fox, A, Problems of the Iron Age in Britain, (1958), 56
Tonkin, T, Parochial History of Cornwall, (1710), 460a
Warner, R, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Parish of Perranzabuloe, , Vol. 2, (1963), 69
AFD80, Cambridge Coll, (1962)
Thomas, R, Letter to the West Briton, (1851)
Title: Ordnance Survey 2nd Edition
Source Date: 1907

Source: Historic England

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