Portal dolmen known as West Lanyon Quoit, 380m south west of Lanyon Farm


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Location Description:
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Cornwall (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
SW 42311 33781

Reasons for Designation

Portal dolmens are funerary and ceremonial monuments of the Early and Middle Neolithic period, the dated examples showing construction in the period 3500- 2600 BC. As burial monuments of Britain's early farming communities, they are among the oldest visible field monuments to survive in the present landscape. Where sufficiently well-preserved, they comprise a small closed rectangular chamber built from large stone slabs, with free-standing stones flanking the frontal slab of the chamber. A capstone, often massive, covers the chamber, and some examples show traces of a low cairn or platform around the chamber. Some sites have traces of a kerb around the cairn and certain sites show a forecourt area, edged by a facade of upright stones in a few examples. Little is yet known about the form of the primary burial rites. At the few excavated sites, pits and postholes have been recorded within and in front of the chamber, containing charcoal and cremated bone; some chamber contents of soil and stones may be original blocking deposits. Many portal dolmens were re-used for urned cremations, especially during the Middle Bronze Age. Only about 20 portal dolmens are known nationally, concentrated in west Penwith, Cornwall, and in the north-west Oxfordshire Cotswolds, with a scatter between these. They represent one of the few surviving field monument types of the Neolithic period, are rare, of considerable age and longevity of construction and use. Despite the loss of most of the surrounding mound, the removal of some of the stones and partial early excavation, a great deal of information is already know about the portal dolmen known as West Lanyon Quoit 380m south west of Lanyon Farm. Archaeological and environmental evidence relating to its construction, longevity and landscape context will still survive.


The monument includes a portal dolmen situated on a low ridge, overlooking the upper Lamorna River. The portal dolmen survives as an upright stone measuring 1.6m high and 1.5m wide with a 4.1m long and 2.6m wide capstone leaning against it. It was first recorded in 1803 prior to which there had been a large 'bank of earth and stones'. The bank was being systematically removed in 1790. When the chamber was discovered, it appears to have been rectangular in plan with an open north eastern end; the capstone had already slipped off to the south. Borlase reported that a mass of ashes, a broken urn and at a lower level a jumbled human skeleton were found along with bronze and copper objects which were taken by the workmen. Two sides of the chamber were removed between 1820 and 1861 and the large stones were cut and used for building. Thomas believes that the finds related to a secondary use of the structure probably in the Early Bronze Age. Other archaeological remains in the vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.

Sources: HER:- PastScape Monument No:-424283


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number:
CO 57
Legacy System:


This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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