10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall

Cornwall has so many beautiful and fascinating locations. Not only are there the wonderful beaches, fantastic coast path, picturesque towns and villages but the ancient history of Cornwall is still very much alive in the landscape.

Whether you’re on the coast or the moors, stone circles, hill forts, cliff castles, ancient settlements and standing stones can be seen across Cornwall.

Some archaeological sites are hidden far away from roads and require a lengthy walk but we have selected sites that require only a short or moderate walk and some can be seen from the road.

There are so many historic sites to choose from that we have selected 10 that will give you a taste of Cornwall’s archaeological sites without you having to walk for miles.

All the sites listed have free admission and there is parking available nearby. All are dog friendly but please clean up after your pet.

Carn Euny, Brane, Sancreed, Penzance, Cornwall, TR20 8RB

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - Carn Euny, Brane, Sancreed, Penzance, Cornwall, TR20 8RB
Carn Euny, Brane, Sancreed, Penzance, Cornwall, TR20 8RB

Carn Euny is an Iron Age village dating from around 2,400 years ago. In addition to its round houses, it contains one of the enigmatic structures, known in Cornwall as a fogou and the underground corbelled room is an amazing structure.

A short walk along a hard track passing an ancient holy well takes you to this amazing village.

A small car park is available.

Road Directions

Lanyon Quoit, Madron, Penzance TR20 8NY

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - Lanyon Quoit, Madron, Penzance TR20 8NY
Lanyon Quoit, Madron, Penzance TR20 8NY

Lanyon Quoit is a dolmen / chambered tomb consisting of three huge support stones and a capstone weighing around 12 tonnes.

It dates from the Neolithic period some 5,500 years ago.

There is a lay-by adjacent to the quoit and you access the site via a stile. Lanyon Quoit is visible from the road. There are sometimes animals grazing near the stones so please keep your dog on a lead.

Road Directions

Merry Maidens, B3315, Penzance TR19 6BQ

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - Merry Maidens, B3315, Penzance TR19 6BQ
Merry Maidens, B3315, Penzance TR19 6BQ

The Merry Maidens is a stone circle dating from the late Neolithic period some 4500 years ago.

Local folklore states that the stones are young women who were turned to stone for dancing on the Sabbath.

There is a small car park adjacent to the entrance to the site. A bus stop is available with the Atlantic Coaster A1 coming from Penzance and the A3 from Land’s End.

Road Directions

The Rumps, Wadebridge PL27

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - The Rumps, Wadebridge PL27
The Rumps, Wadebridge PL27

SW 934 810

50° 35' 29.38" N 4° 55' 9.36" W

The Rumps is a spectacular cliff castle/Iron Age promontory fort dating from around 4000 years ago.

National Trust car park nearby. Then walk to the coast path for access.

Road Directions

Chun Quoit and Hill Fort, St Just, Penzance TR19 7TT

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - Chun Quoit and Hill Fort, St Just, Penzance TR19 7TT
Chun Quoit and Hill Fort, St Just, Penzance TR19 7TT

Chun Quoit is a dolmen / chambered tomb consisting of four huge stones supporting a capstone. It dates from the Neolithic period over 5000 years ago.

Chun Castle is an Iron Age hill fort and dates from around 2000 years ago.

This site provides a perfect example of how a location would be reused by ancient populations. In the New Stone Age the local population saw this location as an important place to bury their dead and in the Iron Age its elevation made it an excellent defensive position.

There is a parking area nearby.

Road Directions

Boscawen-un Stone Circle, Just off the A30, Penzance TR19 6EJ

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - Boscawen-un Stone Circle, Just off the A30, Penzance TR19 6EJ
Boscawen-un Stone Circle, Just off the A30, Penzance TR19 6EJ

Boscawen-un is a stone circle dating from the Bronze Age around 4200 years ago.

The circle consists of nineteen upright stones forming the circle and a leaning stone in the centre.

Parking is in a lay-by on the A30. Please take care when parking.

Road Directions

Warbstow Bury, Warbstow, Launceston PL15 8RH

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - Warbstow Bury, Warbstow, Launceston PL15 8RH
Warbstow Bury, Warbstow, Launceston PL15 8RH

Warbstow Bury is an Iron Age hillfort, dating from around 4000 years ago with panoramic views across the north Cornwall countryside.

The site is 807 feet (246 m) above sea level and is one of the largest earthworks in Cornwall at 19 acres (7.5 hectares).

At its centre is a medieval rabbit warren known as ‘The Giant’s Grave’ or ‘King Arthur’s Grave’.

There is a parking area at the entrance to the site.

Road Directions

Carne Beacon, Veryan, TR2

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - Carne Beacon, Veryan, TR2
Carne Beacon, Veryan, TR2

Carne Beacon, also known as Veryan Barrow is a Round barrow dating from the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age.

This barrow is probably around 4400 years old. It would have contained one or more burials. It is believed to be the largest burial mound in England.

Parking is available nearby

Road Directions

Trethevy Quoit, Off B3254 Road, Nr Darite, St.Cleer PL14 5JY

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - Trethevy Quoit, Off B3254 Road, Nr Darite, St.Cleer PL14 5JY
Trethevy Quoit, Off B3254 Road, Nr Darite, St.Cleer PL14 5JY

Trethevy Quoit is a Penwith chamber tomb and dates from the Neolithic period some 5500 years ago.

Six huge upright stones support a massive capstone.

Parking is limited.

Road Directions

The Hurlers Stone Circles, Minions, Liskeard PL14 5LE

10 Best Archaeological Sites in Cornwall - The Hurlers Stone Circles, Minions, Liskeard PL14 5LE
The Hurlers Stone Circles, Minions, Liskeard PL14 5LE

The Hurlers are a group of three stone circles dating from between the late Neolithic period and the early Bronze Age.

Their name, ‘Hurlers’ is believed to derive from a legend that the stones are men who were punished for playing hurling on a Sunday by being turned to stone.

A large car park is available at Minions a short walk from the stone circles.

Road Directions

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