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CARN EUNY

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Carn Euny is a settlement consisting of several houses and a fogou (an underground passage and chamber), built in three phases from the 5th century BC to 1st century AD. Finds from the site date from the Mesolithic period onwards. It was probably settled from the Bronze Age, though mainly in the Iron Age and Romano-British periods. The name Carn Euny is thought to relate to a nearby outcrop of rock named after an Irish Abbot who arrived on the peninsula in 5th century AD. The fogou is over 20 metres long with a round chamber with an entrance passage. It was discovered in the 1840s by miners prospecting for tin. It is constructed of rough granite blocks and roofed by granite slabs. Its earliest feature is the round chamber with a corbelled roof. The floor is below ground level and a central portion of the roof is open to the sky. Excavation was carried out at the site in 1863-7 by William Copeland Borlase, and later in 1964 and 1972. The original function of the fogou is unclear. It may have been used as a place of refuge, or perhaps for cold storage. Alternatively it may have had some kind of ritual significance. The surviving stone huts fall into two main groups, three large irregular enclosures of courtyard houses, and a group of round or oval houses. Excavations revealed traces of levelled platforms in neighbouring fields. In the fields to the north and east there were traces of ploughed down lynchets of a field system probably associated with the settlement. Traces of a road way were found at the village. The site appears to have been abandoned in the 4th century AD until the post-medieval period when the huts were considerably disturbed and largely rebuilt and the fogou blocked. Finds uncovered during excavation have included pottery, querns, spindle whorls, whet-stones, grinding stones, flint and chert artefacts, animal teeth, ashes, an iron spearhead, an iron 'crook' and a fragment of Roman Samian ware. The site is now in the care of English Heritage.

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