Trethevy Quoit

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1017579

Date first listed: 10-Aug-1923

Date of most recent amendment: 24-Feb-1992

Map

Ordnance survey map of Trethevy Quoit
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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Location

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

District: Cornwall (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Cleer

National Grid Reference: SX 25936 68813

Summary

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

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 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 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 the north-west Oxfordshire Cotswolds, with a scatter between these. As one of the few surviving field monument types of the Neolithic period, and due to their rarity, considerable age and longevity of construction and use, all portal dolmens are considered to be nationally important. Trethevy Quoit is a particularly well-preserved and complete portal dolmen, with its largely intact chamber, capstone and clear surrounding cairn. Its good range of visible features has led to this monument often being quoted in national descriptions of the monument class, and its prominence as a field monument is evident from its mention in antiquarian records dating back to 1584.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a burial chamber of the Portal Dolmen class, dating to the Neolithic period, and its surrounding cairn. It comprises a chamber of large stone slabs, with a massive capstone, set in a low mound. The sub- rectangular chamber has two overlapped side-stones to each side, a back- stone, and a frontal slab set across the centre of the foremost side-stones leaving an antechamber at the front. A single free-standing stone flanks the south side of the frontal slab. The large rectangular capstone rests on the side-stones and has a small rectangular hole cut behind its E corner. All of the chamber slabs are in their original position and upright except the backstone which fell inwards before 1850. The chamber is surrounded by clear remains of a low sub-circular cairn on all sides except the area immediately in front of the frontal slab. The cairn extends to a maximum visible distance of 2.5m from the chamber and has an overall diameter of c.6.5m. The monument stands near the corner of a pasture field on a gentle SE facing slope, near the summit of a low hill overlooking the upper tributaries of the River Seaton. The monument lies in the much-dissected landscape bordering the S edge of the Bodmin Moor granite. This monument has been described in antiquarian and archaeological literature since 1584 and is one of the most frequently mentioned archaeological monuments of Cornwall. The modern information sign and its concrete plinth are excluded from the scheduling, though the land beneath them 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 15003

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Barnatt, J, Prehistoric Cornwall: The Ceremonial Monuments, (1982)
Lukis, W C, Borlase, W C, Prehistoric Stone Monuments of Cornwall, (1885)
Norden, J, Description of Cornwall, (1610)
Other
SMR entry for Trethevy Quoit, PRN 17337,

End of official listing