West Penwith or Belerion is the 'toe' at the far end of Cornwall, UK.
It is dense with ancient sites, and this website is all about them.
Here you will find plenty of new insights into Penwith's
rich prehistory going back 6,000 years, and the
achievements of Britain's megalithic civilisation.
For a one-page site summary, click here.
Map of the Ancient Sites of West Penwith: click here
Ancient West Penwith
West Penwith is roughly 10 x 8 miles or 16 x 12 km in size, bounded by sea-cliffs on three sides. It has over 700 ancient sites, big and small.
Carn Galva from Lanyon Quoit
These include neolithic tor enclosures, cliff castles and quoits around 5,700 years old; stone circles, menhirs, cairns and mounds around 4,000 years old; and carns, fogous, rounds, holy wells, and crosses and churches half that age.
In the bronze age Penwith was well known as a source of tin, gold and copper. 4,000 years ago it sat at the hub of a maritime Atlantic culture stretching from Portugal to Scandinavia.
There was a system to the way Penwith's ancient sites were located and built. They were built to form a network that knitted into an integral system across the peninsula. This suggests something more than just an array of ancient sites and ceremonial centres. There's something about the civilisations of the neolithic and the bronze age that was highly sophisticated.
What did the ancients know that we don't? Here you will find maps, discoveries and thoughts about the possible significance of the ancient sites of West Penwith.
Welcome to Belerion - 'the shining land' - a name given to Penwith by the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus in 60 BCE. It's still pertinent today.
About this site
It's about the ancient landscape and the where and why of megalithic sites in West Penwith.
It offers a new approach to the area's prehistory, adding to the interpretations provided by archaeologists, while presenting new evidence and perhaps a new optic by which to see it all.
It suggests why ancient sites were built and shaped as they were, proposing that Penwith's sites formed a kind of large-scale geo-engineering project.
As is the case in archaeology, this is a work-in-progress. Time will tell if these ideas fly, yet you'll find lots of stimulating ideas on the way.
Penwith's prehistory has long been researched by antiquarians, geomancers, dowsers and archaeologists. This site draws on their work and adds to it.