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Chysauster Iron Age Village

OS grid ref:- SW 472 350

Chysauster Iron Age VillageInhabited from around 100B.C to the third century A.D., Chysauster Iron Age Village, at Gulval about 5 km to the north of Penzance, was probably built by members of the ancient Celtic Dumnonii tribe, who then inhabited the area.

The village is set on a hillside, with stunning views over the countryside and out to the sea. The site is now in the care of English Heritage, has nine courtyard houses, with a further house lying just beyond.

All similar in layout, a passage leads from the house entrances to an inner courtyard. Each dwelling has a main chamber with further chambers progressing from it. The roofs were probably composed of thatch and there is some evidence that they once possessed drains. Outside the main grouping of houses is another stone house, and there are the remains of several outlying buildings in the surrounding fields.

The purpose of the collapsed fogou, (Cornish for cave) or underground tunnel at Chysauster, is unknown. The fogou at was originally recorded as measuring over 16 metres in length but was blocked up in the late twentieth century for safety reasons.

Traces of the ancient field enclosures of the village's Iron Age inhabitants can still be seen in the surrounding area. Chysauster's inhabitants were farmers and archaeological investigations have revealed that cereal crops were grown in the fields surrounding the village. It is also likely that pigs and goats were kept by the villagers.

Chysauster Iron Age village has been excavated a number of times the antiquarian William Copeland Borlase carried out a dig on the site in 1873.

The site is open from March/April to early November.


Chysauster Ancient Village is located 2 1/2 miles NW of Gulval, off the B3311. There are approximately 15 unmarked spaces in the free site car park, which is located 1/4 mile downhill from the shop entrance and roughly 1/2 mile from the main site.

Prehistoric Sites in Cornwall

Carn Euny