Ancient Monuments

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Round cairn 137m east of Helvear Farm, St Mary's

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

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Latitude: 49.9316 / 49°55'53"N

Longitude: -6.29 / 6°17'23"W

OS Eastings: 92248.137085

OS Northings: 12314.984196

OS Grid: SV922123

Mapcode National: GBR BXVV.X9D

Mapcode Global: VGYBY.XZL9

Entry Name: Round cairn 137m east of Helvear Farm, St Mary's

Scheduled Date: 9 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010167

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15376

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


The monument includes a prehistoric round cairn situated near the south east
crest of Helvear Hill on north eastern St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly.
The round cairn is visible as a turf-covered subcircular mound of heaped
rubble, up to 12.5m in diameter and rising 1m high. The mound survives to an
east-west width of 9m, its western edge truncated and levelled beyond the line
of a modern drystone field wall, 0.75m wide, which crosses the western side of
the mound.
This monument is located near the south western end of the crest of Helvear
Hill, 80m south west of a broadly contemporary kerbed and chambered platform
cairn. Other chambered cairns and a broadly contemporary field system are
located from 330m to the NNW on the flanks of Innisidgen Hill.

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.
Round cairns are funerary monuments of Bronze Age date (c.2000-700 BC). They
were constructed as mounds of earth and stone rubble, up to 40m in external
diameter, though usually considerably smaller, covering single or multiple
burials. A kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edge of the mound.
Burials were placed in small pits, or on occasion within a box-like structure
of stone slabs called a cist, set into the old ground surface or dug into the
body of the cairn. Round cairns can occur as isolated monuments, in small
groups or in larger cemeteries.
Round cairns form a high proportion of the 387 surviving cairns recorded on
the Isles of Scilly. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a
monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs,
burial practices and social organisation in the Bronze Age and a substantial
proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

This round cairn on Helvear Hill has survived substantially intact, despite
the levelling of its western edge, and it has not been archaeologically
excavated. The proximity of this cairn to the kerbed and chambered cairn on
Helvear Hill and the disposition of these and the other cairns and field
system surviving on the successive hills along the coast are factors combining
to illustrate well the diversity of funerary practices and the organisation of
land use during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1994, Parkes, C., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7458, (1988)
consulted 1994, Parkes, C., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7470, (1988)
consulted 1994, Parkes, C., AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7453; 7471, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map, SV 8715
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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