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Kerbed platform cairn 45m NNW of Stoney Porth, White Island

A Scheduled Monument in St. Martin's, Isles of Scilly

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Latitude: 49.9793 / 49°58'45"N

Longitude: -6.291 / 6°17'27"W

OS Eastings: 92482.952841

OS Northings: 17615.590823

OS Grid: SV924176

Mapcode National: GBR BXVQ.WTG

Mapcode Global: VGYBR.XS28

Entry Name: Kerbed platform cairn 45m NNW of Stoney Porth, White Island

Scheduled Date: 8 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010154

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15389

County: Isles of Scilly

Civil Parish: St. Martin's

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Isles of Scilly

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes a prehistoric kerbed platform cairn situated on a low
promontory north west of Stoney Porth, on north eastern White Island, off St
Martin's in the Isles of Scilly. This is the easternmost cairn of a group
containing at least nine prehistoric cairns of various types dispersed over
the northern half of White Island.
The platform cairn survives with a circular mound of heaped rubble measuring
5m in diameter and up to 0.6m high, rising to a very shallow-domed upper
platform measuring 4m east-west by 3.5m north-south. The perimeter of the
platform is defined by a kerb of slabs, mostly edge-set, up to 0.75m long and
0.3m high. The southern sector of the kerb also incorporates two much larger
boulders, one leaning against the other, and measuring up to 1.5m long by 1m
wide and 0.4m high.
Although this cairn is located on what is now a fairly small uninhabited
island, linked to the much larger St Martin's island at low tide, the physical
environment in which it was originally built was a broad rocky promontory on
the northern edge of the single large island that formerly united much of the
area of the present Isles of Scilly archipelago, from St Mary's northwards.
The gradual sinking of the land since this cairn was constructed has led to
the fragmentation of that island into the present scatter of large and small
islands and rocks. Other broadly contemporary funerary cairns in this
dispersed group on northern White Island are located from 55m to the west,
while prehistoric field systems are located from 110m to the south on the
central and southern parts of the island, extending onto the upper shore of
Porth Morran to the south west as a result of the submergence.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

The Isles of Scilly, the westernmost of the granite masses of south west
England, contain a remarkable abundance and variety of archaeological remains
from over 4000 years of human activity. The remote physical setting of the
islands, over 40km beyond the mainland in the approaches to the English
Channel, has lent a distinctive character to those remains, producing many
unusual features important for our broader understanding of the social
development of early communities.
Throughout the human occupation there has been a gradual submergence of the
islands' land area, providing a stimulus to change in the environment and its
exploitation. This process has produced evidence for responses to such change
against an independent time-scale, promoting integrated studies of
archaeological, environmental and linguistic aspects of the islands'
The islands' archaeological remains demonstrate clearly the gradually
expanding size and range of contacts of their communities. By the post-
medieval period (from AD 1540), the islands occupied a nationally strategic
location, resulting in an important concentration of defensive works
reflecting the development of fortification methods and technology from the
mid 16th to the 20th centuries. An important and unusual range of post-
medieval monuments also reflects the islands' position as a formidable hazard
for the nation's shipping in the western approaches.
The exceptional preservation of the archaeological remains on the islands has
long been recognised, producing an unusually full and detailed body of
documentation, including several recent surveys.
Platform cairns are funerary monuments of Early Bronze Age date (c.2000-1600
BC). They were constructed as low flat-topped mounds of stone rubble, up to
40m in external diameter though usually considerably smaller, covering single
or multiple burials. Some examples have other features, including peripheral
banks and internal mounds constructed on the platform. A kerb of slabs or
edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edge of the platform, and a peripheral
bank or mound if present. Platform cairns can occur as isolated monuments, in
small groups or in cairn cemeteries. In cemeteries they are normally found
alongside cairns of other types.
Platform cairns form a significant proportion of the 387 surviving cairns on
the Isles of Scilly; this is unusual in comparison with the mainland. All
surviving examples on the Isles of Scilly are considered worthy of protection.

This kerbed platform cairn on White Island has survived well and has not been
excavated. The relationships between this monument, the other varied types of
funerary cairn and the prehistoric field system on White Island, and the known
submergence of the land since they were built, illustrate in a dramatic way
the major environmental changes that have affected the setting of some
surviving prehistoric monuments since their construction and show the
diversity of funerary practices and the organisation of land use among
prehistoric communities.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
Thomas, C, Exploration of a Drowned Landscape, (1985)
Thomas, C, Exploration of a Drowned Landscape, (1985)
consulted 1994, Thorpe, C., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7097.10, (1988)
consulted 1994, Thorpe, C., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7099, (1988)
consulted 1994, Thorpe, C., AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7096-7, (1988)
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 91 NW
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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