Caer Dane


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016108

Date first listed: 12-Sep-1950

Date of most recent amendment: 06-Aug-1997


Ordnance survey map of Caer Dane
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Perranzabuloe

National Grid Reference: SW 77750 52187


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

Reasons for Designation

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.


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


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 defences. All fencing, gates and gateposts, and modern walling and banking, is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT 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.


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

Legacy System number: 29623

Legacy System: RSM


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 Author: Publisher: Surveyor: LXVIII.II

End of official listing