Chûn Quoit, Cornwall, England
Koordinaten: 50° 8′ 55″ N, 5° 38′ 16″ W
Der Chûn Quoit ist ein etwa 5500 Jahre alter Dolmen aus der Jungsteinzeit und der besterhaltene Quoit in der Grafschaft Cornwall. Chûn leitet sich aus dem kornischen Chy-an-Woone ab, was Haus über den Niederungen bedeutet. Die in Cornwall und Wales Quoit genannten Megalithanlagen sind Portal tombs
Der Chûn Quoit befindet sich westlich von Penzance zwischen Pendeen und Great Bosullow und kann über einen Weg erreicht werden, der auf halber Strecke auf der Straße von Morvah nach Bojewyan links nach Südosten abzweigt. Man kann auch über die Landstraße Bocaswell Downs zu ihm gelangen, wenn man von Pendeen aus kommend nach 1,5 km den Weg nach links in Richtung Nordosten eingeschlägt. Der Quoit befindet sich auf einem Hügelkamm mit Blick über die umliegenden sanften Anhöhen auf das offene Meer. Es ist anzunehmen, dass durch die Lage ein bestimmtes Gebiet beansprucht werden sollte und die Gemeinschaft durch hier vorgenommene Kulthandlungen enger aneinander und an diese Gegend gebunden wurde.
Der Chûn Quoit war wahrscheinlich wie andere Quoits auch ein Portalgrab und von einem Erdhügel bedeckt, von dessen steinerner Randbefestigung noch Reste vorhanden sind. Die pilzförmig gewölbte, leicht elliptisch geformte Deckplatte, die von vier 1,5 m hohen Pfeilern getragen wird, besitzt Halbachsen von 3,3 m und 3,0 m Länge und weist an der dicksten Stelle einen Durchmesser von 80 cm auf. Im Südosten scheint sich ein Zugang befunden zu haben, der zur Kammer im Innern führte. Vermutlich war der Erdhügel an dieser Seite frei gelegt und verfügte über einen Eingangsbereich.
1769 wird die Megalithanlage in einer Publikation des Altertumsforschers William Borlase erstmals erwähnt und mit einer Zeichnung illustriert. Borlase erklärte in seiner kurzen Schilderung zudem, dass die kornischen Dolmen aufgrund des diskusförmigen Decksteins, der an einen Wurfring (engl. Quoit) erinnert, Quoits genannt werden. 1864 fertigte John Thomas Blight in seinem Werk Churches of West Cornwall auch eine Radierung des Chûn Quoit an. 1872 lieferte William Copeland Borlase, ein Urenkel von William Borlase, eine detailliertere Beschreibung. Er berichtete von einer kreisförmigen Böschung aus Stein- und Erdmaterial mit 12 m Durchmesser, die zum Dolmen hin anstieg und von Randsteinen begrenzt war, und fertigte dazu nebenstehende Zeichnung an. Es wurden Ausgrabungen vorgenommen, die keine signifikanten Funde hervorbrachten. Trotz der Ausgrabungsfunde geht die moderne Forschung davon aus, dass Megalithanlagen über eine lange Zeit als Gemeinschaftsgräber genutzt wurden. Noch in der Bronzezeit sollen Feuerbestattungen vor oder auf diesen Anlagen stattgefunden haben.
In der Umgebung befinden sich noch weitere Megalithanlagen: Boscawen-ûn Lanyon Quoit Mên-an-Tol Merry Maidens Mulfra Quoit Boskednan Tregeseal Entrance Grave von Tregiffian Zennor Quoit
Eine eisenzeitliche Siedlung ist das 200 m entfernt gelegene Chûn Castle.
Coordinates: 50.1486°N 5.6377° W
Chûn Quoit is located in open moorland near Pendeen and Morvah. It is perhaps the most visually satisfying of all the quoits. Standing on a windy ridge, near the much later constructed Chûn Castle hillfort, it surveys heather moorland and the open sea.
As with the other quoits, the quoit was probably covered by a round barrow (35 ft in diameter), of which much evidence abounds. It was a closed chamber and its mushroom-domed capstone measures 3.3 m (11 ft) by 3 m (10 ft), with a maximum thickness of 0.8 m (2 ft 7 in). There is a cup mark on top of the capstone. It is supported about 2 m (7 ft) from the ground by four substantial slabs. There is evidence of an entrance passage to the south-east within the mound area. The site was examined in 1871 but no significant finds were made.
In the same vicinity of Chûn Quoit there are many other megalithic and archaeological sites as Lanyon Quoit, Mulfra Quoit, Mên-an-Tol and Mên Scryfa. The rocky outline of Carn Kenidjack marks the position of midwinter sunset away to the south-west.
This is the only dolmen in West Penwith to retain its capstone 'in situ' – others have been re-settled. It is believed to have been built around 2400 BC, two millennia before the neighbouring Chûn Castle.
‘Quoit’ is the Cornish name for a type of megalithic structure comprising a number of large stones set upright to support a massive horizontal capstone forming a small chamber. Also knows as cromlechs, the stone chambers thus formed were used for communal burials in the Neolithic period. Chûn Quoit is one of a small group of similar monuments restricted in distribution largely to Penwith, though there are two or three further east in Cornwall and they are also common in Wales, Ireland and Brittany. Archaeologists call such sites chambered tombs or portal dolmens, and date them to the 3rd or 4th millennia BC. The quoit is surrounded by traces of a large low stony mound, but this may never have been very high and the capstone at least was probably always visible. The mound is ringed with a low kerb of relatively small boulders and other stones visible in the top of the mound have been interpreted as the remains of burial boxes or cists. There may have been a ‘forecourt’ in front of the entrance to the chamber which would have provided the setting for funerary rites and rituals.
No artefacts or human remains have been found at Chûn Quoit, and finds generally from these kinds of monuments are almost unknown in Cornwall due to the acidity of the moorland soils. Comparison with similar monuments elsewhere suggest that they functioned as repositories for safeguarding ancestral remains. There is some evidence - from Neolithic tombs in Wessex for example - that bones were periodically removed and returned or re-arranged. The bones may have featured in ceremonies associated with an ancestor cult; communities at this time were becoming increasingly settled and stable and such rites are thought to represent the attempt to establish hereditary ‘ownership’ of a territory and to develop a communal or tribal identity.
It has been noted that many of the quoits are situated in locations with panoramic views often incorporating high hills, rivers or coastal features. This again is taken to reflect the desire to define or control a specific territory and to bring the community into a closer relationship with it by signposting landscape features which figured in communal histories or which enjoyed particular mythical associations. Chûn Quoit is (perhaps significantly) situated between Chûn Downs to the east and Carn Kenidjack to the west and the ocean is visible from the site to the north-west and south-west.
The continuing significance of the early ceremonial monuments over long periods of time is exemplified in the construction of the nearby Iron Age hillfort of Chûn Castle, whose main entrance faces west and was directly aligned on the quoit. It is remarkable to recall that around four thousand years separates the builders of these two monuments – twice as long as the period by which we ourselves are separated in time from the people who constructed the hillfort.
The monument stands in open ground and can be accessed via public footpath leading from the main road past Chûn Farm.
Positioned high on the exposed north coast of Cornwall, Chun Quoit is remarkable for being the only dolmen in the area to have retained its capstone in its original setting around 5000 years after its inauguration, the four supporting stones (1.5m in height) still forming a box-like chamber. Furthermore, unlike other Penwith quoits, the Chun capstone (2-3m diameter) is somewhat circular and domed, giving it a mushroom-like shape.
The name Chun is a corruption of the Cornish ‘Chy-an-Woone’ meaning House on the Downs. Similar to other dolmens, it was not built on the crest of the hill but just below, the top being utilised in the Iron Age for the hill fort, Chun Castle. To the South West of the quoit lies Carn Kenidjack, a hill which marks the position of the setting midwinter sun.
Erected in the Neolithic period (3500-2500BC), this chambered barrow still retains some evidence of the mound which once surrounded it. The antiquarian Borlase wrote of tall kerb stones which would have enclosed the cairn measuring some thirty odd feet in diameter. Nowadays a mere couple of these outer ring stones remain, others reputedly having been used to build parts of Penzance.
In terms of its use, various excavations have uncovered no solid evidence of funeral or burial activity, and it is thus assumed that Chun Quoit would have been used for tribal rituals and religious ceremonies. However, the acidity of Cornish soil has often been blamed for the lack of human remains finds at such sites, thereby warping the evidence.
Site Name: Chun Quoit Alternative Name: Chûn Quoit Country: England County: Cornwall Type: Burial Chamber (Dolmen) Nearest Town: Penzance Nearest Village: Madron Map Ref: SW4022333961 Landranger Map Number: 203 Latitude: 50.148669N Longitude: 5.637674W Condition:4 Ambience:4 Access:4 Accuracy:5
This is one of the most well-preserved of the quoits in Cornwall. A round capstone with a cupmark lies on top of the closed chamber.
Access: Uphill via the permissive footpath from the large lay-by on the B3318 road (at the junction with the road to Trewellard). Watch out for the llamas in the field near the lay-by!
Chun Quoit Neolithic Chambered Tomb / Dolmen Morvah, Cornwall OS Map Ref SW40233396 OS Maps - Landranger 203 (Land's End & Isles of Scilly), Explorer 102 (Land’s End)
A very pretty chambered tomb, Chun Quoit stands on a bleak and very atmospheric northwest facing slope of a natural rise just over a mile from the sea and a few miles away from both Lanyon Quoit and the Men-an-Tol in an area rich in cairns, standing stones and barrow. It consists of four upright stones about a metre and a half in height, three of which support a fairly circular 2-3 metre wide capstone. Early antiquarians in the 18th century reported the remains of a circular cairn of about 10-12 metres diameter around the chamber with an outer kerb of upright stones. This remnants of this mound can be seen as cobbles poking out from the grass with an occasional kerbstone (foreground left of picture) still in situ. Chun Quoit can be reached by following a track from the nearby farm, which also takes you past the nearby Chun Castle, a small 3rd/2nd century BC Iron Age hillfort. When visited in early September, the fort was completely overgrown with bracken and it was almost impossible to make out any of the circular and rectangular huts that still exist despite much of the stone being removed for paving the streets of Penzance. The name 'Chun' comes from the Cornish 'Chy-an-Woone' meaning 'the House on the Downs'.
Arguably the most visually attractive of the Cornish Quoits, from some angles the Chun Quoit bears a strong resemblance to a giant stone mushroom. The name of the Quoit is derived from the Cornish "Chy-an-Woone" which means " the house on the downs". One of the first publications to include the Chun Quoit was by the Cornish antiquarian William Borlase (1), in1769. This book included the drawing of the Quoit below, but the description of the monument was very brief. Borlase does, however, explain why the term "Quoit" is used for Cornish dolmens, "From the oblate and spreading form of the upper Stone (resembling a Discus) this Monument is in Cornwall called by the name of Quoit."
103 years later William's grandson W.C.Borlase (2) published a more detailed account of the Chun or "Chywoone" Quoit and the illustration below. He mentions that "the barrow or cairn, which in some places nearly reaches the top of the side stones on the exterior, is thirty-two feet in diameter, and was hedged round by a ring of upright stones." Both of the Borlase's commented on, and illustrated the survival of the cairn here, and at the Mulfra Quoit. It would appear that even as far back as 200 years ago, it was unusual for any of a dolmen's covering mound to remain.
Although much reduced since the time of the Borlase's, the remains of the original covering mound are still readily visible today in the form of small boulders projecting through the earth in a circle around the Quoit. The mound is estimated to have originally been about 10.5m in diameter, unfortunately it seems that, with the possible exception of a large stone to the SSE, none of the kerb mentioned by Borlase (2) above has survived. The base of the Quoit is comprised of four slabs leaning in on each other in the usual portal dolmen fashion, these stones support the large capstone which has a markedly domed profile. All of the stones that make up the Chun Quoit are of the ubiquitous grey granite that nearly all Cornish megaliths utilise. Borlase (1) used the extremely domed top of the Chun capstone to dispute a theory that his Cornish Druids used these stones as sacrificial altars, "the Table Stone of the Cromleh at Chun, in Morvah, Cornwall, is so very gibbous, that no Priest could stand on it, either to tend the Fire, or oversee the consumption of the Victim."
The interior of the Quoit can be accessed via a hole in the lower right side of the SSE base slab. The level of the chamber floor is somewhat lower than the exterior, although the internal height today is nowhere near the 7 feet reported by Borlase (2). The floor is covered with cobble sized stones, these are probably recent additions as Borlase (2) described how the gaps between the side slabs had been covered with smaller slabs "to make it impossible for any of the rubbish of the mound to find its way into the kist." He also described finding a small pit sunk into the centre of the interior, this was not evident during our visit.
The Iron Age hillfort of Chun Castle lies nearby, only 200m away up the hill.
The south-westerly tip of Britain, known as West Penwith, houses several quoits (also called dolmens or cromlechs). The best preserved of all is Chûn Quoit, up on the open moorland. The uphill walk is well worth while because this is perhaps the most visually satisfying of all the quoits. Standing on a windy ridge, above the much later constructed Chûn Castle hillfort, it surveys heather moorland and the open sea. As with the other quoits, the Chûn was probably covered by an earth mound, of which much evidence abounds. It was a closed chamber and its mushroom-domed capstone measures 3.3m (11ft) by 3m (10ft), with a maximum thickness of 0.8m (2ft 7in). It is supported about 2m (7ft) from the ground by four substantial slabs. There is evidence of an entrance passage to the south-east within the mound area. The site was examined in 1871 but no significant finds were made. In the same vicinity of Chûn Quoit there are many other megalithic and archaeological sites as Lanyon Quoit, Mên-an-Tol and Mên Scryfa. The weird rocky outline of Carn Kenidjack marks the position of midwinter sunset away to the south-west.
Standing on a ridge, this quoit surveys heather moorland and the Atlantic Ocean.