Carn Euny Iron Age Village

Although there is some little evidence of late-Neolithic and Bronze-Age settlement here, the majority of finds have been dated to the late Iron Age. Original timber buildings were replaced in stone sometime before the 1st century BC, and occupation of the site seems to have ended around the end of he first century AD.

The village is remarkably preserved, and one can quite easily imagine what life was like during it’s hey-day. There are several courtyard houses, reminiscent of the nearby Romano-British village of Chysauster, each having several rooms accessed from a central courtyard with floors of compacted clay and broken rock, containing hearths and clay-lined storage pits. In the courtyards and between the houses there were water-drainage channels and collection tanks, including stone-lined, covered drains.

The occupants of the village were evidently stock-breeders and hill-farmers, whose meagre income was possibly supplemented by trade in tin at the nearby ancient port on Ictis.

The Central Fogou

At the centre of the village is a fogou or souterrain. This unusually sited structure of uncertain function, comprises a twenty metre long underground passage and circular side chamber, one end of which seemingly connected to one of the round houses, the other evidently terminated in a narrow doorway passage.

The building was constructed by lining a wide trench with huge, flat slabs, then capping the resultant stone corridor with a massive corbelled roof. The entire structure was then buried beneath a flat mound of earth. The fogou may have been a cattle byre, cold-store or some other type of storage chamber, but, judging by the amount of labour expended in its construction, it may possibly have served some ritual purpose.

Carn Euny Chronological Chart

  • Phase: I
    • Date: About 500BC to 300 BC
    • Buildings: Fogou: round chamber and (later) long passage. ?Timber and turf houses.
    • Artefacts: Stamp-decorated pottery, nearly all of local granitic clay.
  • Phase: II
    • Date: About 300BC to 50BC
    • Buildings: Timber and turf houses of House A1 type.
    • Artefacts: Roulette-decorated pottery, jars with tooled curvilinear decoration and early cordoned pots (South-western Decorated Ware). Granitic clay still in use, but some pots of gabbroic clay imported from the Lizard peninsula. Querns. Spindlewhorls of stone and pot.
  • Phase: III
    • Date: About 50BC to 100AD
    • Buildings: Stone and earlier timber houses in use.
    • Artefacts: Cordoned Ware jars and bowls. Undecorated pots of gabbroic clay. Spindlewhorls (some re-used potsherds). Querns, iron brooch and pruning hook.
  • Phase: IV
    • Date: Second to fourth centuries AD
    • Buildings: Courtyard houses built; also oval stone houses of House A type. ?Fogu opened at east end.
    • Artefacts: Romano-British pottery and fragments of Samian Ware. Roman glass beads. Spindlewhorls and rotary querns.
  • Sometime before 400AD the site became abandoned.
  • Mid-eighteenth century AD: cottage built on west side.

Map References for Carn Euny – Sancreed, Cornwall

NGRef: SW403288 OSMap: LR203

Map References for Carn Euny

NGRef: SW403288 OSMap: LR203, Explorer7.

Roman Roads near Carn Euny

Possible trackway: NE (6) to Chysavster (Cornwall) Probable Native Trackway: E (8) to Ictis

Sites near Carn Euny