Ancient Monuments

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Kerbed platform cairn on Helvear Hill, 210m ENE of Helvear Farm, St Mary's

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

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Latitude: 49.9322 / 49°55'55"N

Longitude: -6.2892 / 6°17'21"W

OS Eastings: 92305.470578

OS Northings: 12373.006838

OS Grid: SV923123

Mapcode National: GBR BXVV.XQ1

Mapcode Global: VGYBY.XYZW

Entry Name: Kerbed platform cairn on Helvear Hill, 210m ENE of Helvear Farm, St Mary's

Scheduled Date: 9 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010168

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15377

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 kerbed platform cairn situated near the
north eastern crest of Helvear Hill on the north east edge of St Mary's in the
Isles of Scilly.
The platform cairn survives with a circular mound of heaped rubble, up to 8m
in diameter and 0.4m high. Four slabs, averaging 1m long, 0.4m wide and 0.3m
high, form part of a perimeter kerb along the north western edge of the mound.
Traces of a funerary chamber survive on the mound's upper surface, south east
of its centre. These are visible as a hollow, 1.5m long, north east-south
west, by 1m wide and 0.5m deep, with parts of its slab-built walling visible
on the north west and south west sides. A large slab, 2.1m long by 1.8m wide
and 0.5m thick, lies on the south west periphery of the mound beyond the end
of the chamber hollow and is considered to be a displaced covering slab from
the chamber. The evident disturbance to the chamber and the kerb at this cairn
have been identified with a stone robbing incident recorded here in 1903, when
the nearby pasture on the hill was created.
This monument is located near the north eastern end of the broad ridge forming
Helvear Hill, close to its steep scarp down to the coast. The monument is
situated 80m north east of a broadly contemporary round cairn further along
the spine of the ridge. Other chambered cairns and a broadly contemporary
field system are located from 295m to the NNW on the flanks of Innisidgen

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 and chambered platform cairn on Helvear Hill has survived
reasonably well and has not been archaeologically excavated. Despite the
attentions of stone robbers, it has a largely intact mound and retains a good
range of original features, including its chamber and parts of its kerb. The
proximity of this cairn to the round cairn on Helvear Hill and the disposition
of these and the other cairns and field systems 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)
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1994, Parkes, C., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7458, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 9212
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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