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


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011791

Date first listed: 26-Jul-1973

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Sep-1991


Ordnance survey map of Later Prehistoric to Roman round 500m NE of West Carne Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Altarnun

National Grid Reference: SX 20495 82507, SX 20632 82540, SX 20645 82448


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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 class.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


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.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


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

Legacy System number: 15038

Legacy System: RSM


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 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing