Prehistoric Cornwall

Settlement in Cornwall dates back thousands of years, and there is plenty of evidence for this dotting our landscape.

The Historic Environment Record documents notable archaeological sites and monuments, find spots, settlements and landscape features. This collection tracks the course of human activity in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly from Mesolithic flint-based technologies (over 5000 years ago), through Bronze and Iron Age sites and field systems. The records, generated from surveys, assessments and excavations, are linked to a large collection of documents. These include published articles, unpublished archaeological reports, and relevant websites as well as a vast array of photographs. The records have mostly been generated by Cornwall Archaeological Society and the Cornwall Archaeological Unit as well as volunteers and community groups.

Kresen Kernow is also home to the records of particular antiquarians, which include sketches and maps showing archaeological and environmental features. We also hold a range of published reports, journals and books into the many cairns, barrows, monuments, forts and settlements that can be seen across Cornwall.

Please note: Kresen Kernow does not hold archaeological finds.

You can find out more about the Historic Environment Record here.

Key search terms: monument, barrow, standing stone, hillfort, archaeology, antiquary, antiquarian, individual site names

Key collections: search the Historic Environment Record

Key publications: Cornish Archaeology; Royal Institution of Cornwall Journal, Old Cornwall journals; The Archaeology of Cornwall, Caradoc Peters, 2005; Cornwall’s Archaeological Heritage, Cornwall Archaeological Unit, 1990; The Survey of Cornwall, Richard Carew, 1602; Observations on the Antiquities Historical and Monumental of the County of Cornwall, William Borlase, 1754