Ancient Monuments

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Platform cairn on Carn Morval Down, 235m north of Isles of Scilly Golf Course club house, St Mary's

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

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Latitude: 49.9277 / 49°55'39"N

Longitude: -6.3092 / 6°18'33"W

OS Eastings: 90842.762178

OS Northings: 11964.803

OS Grid: SV908119

Mapcode National: GBR BXTW.0W6

Mapcode Global: VGYC4.L2FQ

Entry Name: Platform cairn on Carn Morval Down, 235m north of Isles of Scilly Golf Course club house, St Mary's

Scheduled Date: 14 February 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1010172

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15382

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 small prehistoric platform cairn situated slightly
west of the centre of Carn Morval Down on western St Mary's in the Isles of
The platform cairn survives with a low, turf-covered, circular mound of heaped
rubble, 7m in diameter, rising 0.3m to a flattened upper platform, 4m in
diameter. The upper surface bears a shallow central hollow, 2.75m in diameter
and 0.05m deep, resulting from an unrecorded antiquarian excavation. Two flat
slabs are visible in the turf cover on the perimeter of the cairn's platform;
these slabs, 0.25m long on the east side and 0.3m long on the south west side,
are considered to derive from a former kerb around the platform edge.
Other, broadly contemporary, funerary monuments are dispersed near the west
and north west coastal slope of St Mary's, including a large platform cairn
with traces of a funerary chamber 90m to the WNW and two large chambered
cairns, called entrance graves, 370m and 450m to the NNE respectively. A large
prehistoric field system with settlement sites extends along the north western
slopes of Carn Morval and Halangy Downs from 120m north west of this monument.

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 platform cairn on Carn Morval Down has survived reasonably well. Despite
the limited disturbance evident from antiquarian activity, the mound has
remained substantially intact and retains evidence for a peripheral kerb. The
proximity of this monument to the other varied types of funerary cairn
dispersed near the north western coastal slope of St Mary's and to the
prehistoric field system and settlements on that slope illustrates well 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)
consulted 1994, Parkes, C., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7507, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Maps; SV 9011 & SV 9012
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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