Chysauster Ancient Village

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Chysauster Ancient Village is Romano-British village of courtyard houses in Cornwall, England, United Kingdom, which is currently in the care of English Heritage.[1] To the south east is the remains of a fogou, an underground structure of uncertain function.

The village was believed to have been constructed and occupied between 100 BC and 400 AD; it was primarily agricultural and unfortified and probably occupied by members of the Dumnonii tribe.

The village included eight stone dwellings, arranged in pairs along a street, each with its own garden plot. The houses are oval shaped and around 28 metres long. Their walls survive to heights of up to 3 metres. Small chambers lead off from the main courtyards of each house which served as working and living areas. A field system in the vicinity attests to the site's farming connections. The nearby hill fort of Castle An Dinas may have been a contemporary refuge for the occupants of the village in times of strife.

It has been excavated on many occasions, and some of the reinstatement work which has been carried out over the years has been unsympathetic. Several sections of the village were incorrectly reinstated in the wake of previous excavations.


Controversy over the site

The fogou nearby was filled in by English Heritage in the 1980s in an attempt to prevent it from caving in, a move which was unpopular with the local community. In the 1990s, archaeologist Craig Weatherhill questioned the then head of English Heritage, Lord Montagu, about the agency's treatment of the fogou. Lord Montagu defended his organisation and Weatherhill was not satisfied. English Heritage was not the only modern agency to affect the Chysauster site; negligent reinstatement work in the wake of earlier excavations resulted in the incorrect placement of some stone walls.[citation needed]

In 1999 there was some further controversy regarding this site and others under the care of the English Heritage organisation. Members of a pressure group, the Revived Cornish Stannary Parliament, removed several signs bearing the English Heritage name.[2][3]

See also


Further reading

  • Cavendish, Richard: Prehistoric England (London, 1983)
  • Christie, Patricia Maeve Lascelles: Chysauster Ancient Village, Cornwall (London, English Heritage, 1987)
  • Reynolds, P. K. B., Chysauster, Cornwall, Great Britain. Ministry of Public Building and Works (London H.M.S.O., 1960)

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