Positioned high on the exposed north coast of Cornwall, Chun Quoit is remarkable for being the only dolmen in the area to have retained its capstone in its original setting around 5000 years after its inauguration, the four supporting stones (1.5m in height) still forming a box-like chamber. Furthermore, unlike other Penwith quoits, the Chun capstone (2-3m diameter) is somewhat circular and domed, giving it a mushroom-like shape.
The name Chun is a corruption of the Cornish ‘Chy-an-Woone’ meaning House on the Downs. Similar to other dolmens, it was not built on the crest of the hill but just below, the top being utilised in the Iron Age for the hill fort, Chun Castle. To the South West of the quoit lies Carn Kenidjack, a hill which marks the position of the setting midwinter sun.
Erected in the Neolithic period (3500-2500BC), this chambered barrow still retains some evidence of the mound which once surrounded it. The antiquarian Borlase wrote of tall kerb stones which would have enclosed the cairn measuring some thirty odd feet in diameter. Nowadays a mere couple of these outer ring stones remain, others reputedly having been used to build parts of Penzance.
In terms of its use, various excavations have uncovered no solid evidence of funeral or burial activity, and it is thus assumed that Chun Quoit would have been used for tribal rituals and religious ceremonies. However, the acidity of Cornish soil has often been blamed for the lack of human remains finds at such sites, thereby warping the evidence.