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Entrance Graves

Bronze Age 2500 to 800 BC

During the Bronze Age the dead were normally cremated and the remains placed in a pottery vessel (funerary urn) which was set into the ground beneath a circular mound.

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Entrance Graves are primarily found on the Isles of Scilly and the Penwith peninsula of Cornwall, although they can also be found on the Channel Islands and in Brittany. They comprise of a round cairn, usually with a retaining wall or kerb, and an entrance leading directly into a rectangular, stone-lined chamber. The chamber is roofed with large granite slabs.

Entrance Graves seem to have continued in use on the Isles of Scilly after individual burial had become the usual practice in Cornwall.

Examples to visit

Innisidgen Entrance Graves

Three to four Entrance Graves are recorded at Innisidgen Hill, two of which, the Lower and Upper Entrance Graves are detailed below. In the Bronze Age the hill would have overlooked a valley rather than the sea, the present sea level being the result of hundreds of years of sea level rise.

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Tregiffian Chamber Tomb

Tregiffian is an early Bronze Age chambered tomb with a walled and roofed entrance passage which leads into a central chamber

The tomb remains mostly intact despite part of the mound being level for the construction of a road. One stone at the entrance decorated with cup marks is a replica. The original is in the Royal Cornwall Museum in Truro.

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