Cornish village abandoned over 1,000 years ago that you can still visit today

Entrance to underground fogou tunnel, Carn Euny prehistoric village, Cornwall, England, UK.
-Credit: (Image: Geography Photos/Getty Images)

In the 1840s, tin miners in Cornwall stumbled upon something unexpected. Instead of the precious metal they were seeking, they unearthed a stone fogou, or underground passageway, a feature unique to the far west of Cornwall.

Fast forward two decades and antiquarian and Liberal politician WC Borlase began excavations on the site, focusing solely on the fogou discovered by the miners. It wasn't until a century later, in the 1960s, that archaeologists expanded their exploration to the wider settlement.

This led to the discovery of the remnants of stone houses, circular drainage gullies, and potholes, all part of early Iron Age timber roundhouses that had since been destroyed. The village was subsequently named Carn Euny.

READ MORE: Remote island off Cornwall is home to the 'world's best' potato

READ MORE: UK's newest 'foodie hotspot' is far-flung fishing town in Cornwall

The exact timeline of habitation at Carn Euny remains a mystery. However, the houses and other artefacts unearthed suggest that the village was occupied during the Iron Age and continued to be inhabited following the Roman invasion of England.

The variety in housing indicates that the village was continuously occupied throughout this period. Timber roundhouses, believed to have been constructed between 500 and 400 BC, were eventually replaced with stone houses sometime in the first century BC, reports the Mirror.

⚠️ Want the latest Cornwall breaking news and top stories first? Click here to join CornwallLive on WhatsApp and we'll send breaking news and top stories directly to your phone. We also treat our community members to special offers, promotions, and adverts from us and our partners. If you don’t like our community, you can check out any time you like. If you’re curious, you can read our Privacy Notice.

Entrance to underground fogou tunnel, Carn Euny prehistoric village, Cornwall, England, UK.
There is still lots of mystery around them

Then, between the second and fourth centuries AD, these stone roundhouses gave way to larger 'courtyard houses', also made from stone. Today, it's the ruins of these houses that form much of what is left of Carn Euny.

Evidence indicates that the settlement was a hub for farming and possibly tin trading, with field boundaries suggesting that villagers cultivated oats and barley and reared animals such as sheep and goats.

Aeriel view of Carn Euny
The ruins of Carn Euny can now be visited in Cornwall -Credit:English Heritage/Heritage Images/Getty Images

The reason behind Carn Euny's abandonment remains a mystery, but it appears that development within the village halted towards the end of the Roman occupation.

Several other ancient villages have been unearthed in the surrounding areas, including Chysauster Ancient Village, which was first inhabited nearly 2,000 years ago. Similar to Carn Euny, the reasons for Chysauster's abandonment remain unknown.

Get the best stories and latest news delivered to your inbox every day. Choose what you want here.