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The Excavation of an Iron Age Souterrain and Settlement at Carn Euny, Sancreed, Cornwall

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 May 2014

Patricia M. L. Christie
Bays Cottage, Henham, Bishop's Stortford, Herts


The ancient village of Carn Euny, formerly known as Chapel Euny, lies on a south-west slope just above the 500 foot contour in the parish of Sancreed in West Cornwall (fig. 1). The granite uplands of the region are rich in antiquities, as a glance at a recent survey shows (Russell 1971), not least those of the prehistoric period. The hill on which the site is situated is crowned by the circular Iron Age Fort of Caer Brane (pl. 27). Across the dry valley to the north-west rises the mass of Bartinny Down, with its barrows, while in the valley below the site near the hamlet of Brane is a small, well preserved entrance grave and other evidence of prehistoric activity. To the south-east about one mile away is the recently excavated village of Goldherring dating from the first few centuries of our era (Guthrie 1969). From later times, the holy well of St Uny and the former chapel which gave its name to the site, lie nearby to the west. The village contains a fine souterrain, locally known as a fogou, after a Cornish word meaning a cave (Thomas 1966, 79).

Nothing appears to have been known of the settlement or Fogou before the first half of the 19th century when the existence of an unexplored fogou at Chapel Uny is first mentioned by the Reverend John Buller (1842), shortly followed by Edmonds (1849) who described to the Penzance Natural History and Antiquarian Society an ‘Ancient Cave’ which had been discovered by miners prospecting for tin.

Research Article
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 1978

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