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Kerbed platform cairn 80m north east of Mount Todden Farm, St Mary's

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 49.9245 / 49°55'28"N

Longitude: -6.2807 / 6°16'50"W

OS Eastings: 92870.000001

OS Northings: 11488.3486

OS Grid: SV928114

Mapcode National: GBR BXWW.FXQ

Mapcode Global: VGYC5.3506

Entry Name: Kerbed platform cairn 80m north east of Mount Todden Farm, St Mary's

Scheduled Date: 28 May 1980

Last Amended: 13 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010164

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15373

County: Isles of Scilly

Civil Parish: St. Mary's

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Isles of Scilly

Church of England Diocese: Truro

Details

The monument includes a prehistoric kerbed platform cairn incorporating a
large natural outcrop which was used to define part of a funerary chamber. The
cairn is situated close to the south western edge of Mount Todden Down, on
eastern St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly.

The platform cairn survives with a turf-covered circular mound of heaped
rubble, 15m in diameter, rising up to 1.7m high to a rounded, flattened
platform measuring 7.5m north east-south west by 5.5m north west-south east. A
hollow in the north western side of the mound is considered to result from
stone robbing for the nearby modern field wall. Two slabs, up to 1m long, 0.4m
wide and 0.4m high, form a partial kerb on the northern crest of the
platform's scarp. The cairn and its platform incorporate a large natural
outcrop which dominates the south east half of the mound. The outcrop includes
four component exposures of bedrock.

The largest is a sub-triangular weathered block, 1.8m high and measuring 5.75m
long, north east-south west, by up to 3m wide. The other three components are
large, slender, fractured slabs, up to 4m long and 0.8m wide, detached from
the main exposure, one to each side and the third extending 3.5m beyond the
north east end of the main block. The smallest of these bedrock exposures, a
slab 1.1m long, north east-south west by 0.5m wide, is located near the centre
of the cairn against the northern side of the main block's north eastern tip.
This small exposure rises 0.2m above the upper surface of the platform and
defines the south east side of the cairn's funerary chamber. The north west
side of the chamber is defined by a 1.5m long row of laid slabs, on a
north east-south west axis, parallel with the small exposure, giving the
chamber an internal width of 1.75m, with no visible end slabs.

This monument is located 190m WSW of a prehistoric linear boundary on the
eastern coastal slope of Mount Todden Down, while cemeteries of broadly
contemporary funerary cairns are located on each of the successive coastal
downs to the south, from Normandy Down to Salakee Down.

The modern post and wire fence passing west of the cairn is excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath is included.

MAP EXTRACT
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'
settlement.
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 large platform cairn on Mount Todden Down has survived well, despite the
attentions of stone robbers on its north west margin. This is one of the
largest platform cairns on the Isles of Scilly and retains a good and clear
range of original features, including its platform, kerb incorporating
outcrops, and chamber. The incorporation of natural boulders and outcrops into
the mound, occasionally forming part of the funerary chamber, is a feature
found amongst certain other cairns on the Isles of Scilly but which is unusual
and rare nationally. The proximity of this monument to the prehistoric field
boundaries on the eastern slope of the Down, and the disposition of this cairn
and the other cairn cemeteries on successive downs along the coast are factors
combining to illustrate well the nature of funerary practices and the
organisation of land use during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Books and journals
Ashbee, P, Ancient Scilly, (1974)
Ashbee, P, The chambered Tombs on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, (1963), 9-18
Ashbee, P, The chambered Tombs on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, (1963), 9-18
Ashbee, P, The chambered Tombs on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, (1963), 9-18
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
Other
consulted 1994, Parkes, C., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7234, (1988)
consulted 1994, Parkes, C., AM 107 for SCilly SMR entry PRN 7436, (1988)
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 91 SW
Source Date: 1980
Author:
Publisher:
Surveyor:

Young, C.J., AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 1082, 1979, consulted 1994

Source: Historic England

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