Ancient Monuments

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Two kerbed platform cairns on Salakee Down, 40m north west of Church Porth, St Mary's

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

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Latitude: 49.9116 / 49°54'41"N

Longitude: -6.2879 / 6°17'16"W

OS Eastings: 92270.619968

OS Northings: 10081.442636

OS Grid: SV922100

Mapcode National: GBR BXVX.JN7

Mapcode Global: VGYC4.YHP4

Entry Name: Two kerbed platform cairns on Salakee Down, 40m north west of Church Porth, St Mary's

Scheduled Date: 4 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011931

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15350

County: Isles of Scilly

Civil Parish: St. Mary's

Built-Up Area: St Mary's Airport

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Isles of Scilly

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes two prehistoric kerbed platform cairns situated near the
base of a natural trough leading down towards Church Porth on southern Salakee
Down, near the south coast of St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly. The platform
cairns are situated 1.5m apart on a WSW-ENE axis.
The ENE cairn survives with a circular mound of heaped rubble, 6m in diameter,
rising up to 0.7m high on the east side and 0.3m high on the west. The mound
rises to a sub-circular shallow-domed platform 3.5m-4m in diameter, centred
slightly north west of the mound's centre. Two kerb stones are visible on the
periphery of the platform, 1m within the edge of the mound: one on the WNW
side is 0.7m long, 0.3m thick and is edge-set, standing 0.35m high; the other,
on the ENE side, is 0.8m long, 0.25m thick and leans markedly to the west,
reaching a height of 0.4m.
The WSW cairn survives with an ovoid mound of heaped rubble measuring 7m NE-SW
by 4.75m NW-SE and rising up to 0.6m high to a similarly ovoid flattened
platform, measuring 5m NE-SW by 4m NW-SE. The platform's central area contains
a rounded hollow, 1.75m in diameter and 0.2m deep, resulting from an
unrecorded antiquarian excavation. A kerb of at least three irregularly spaced
slabs is visible on the edges of the platform; the largest slab, on the south
eastern edge, is edge-set, 0.4m high, 0.75m long and 0.25m thick; the others,
0.75m long on the southern edge and 0.3m long on the north west edge, lie
exposed in the turf covering the mound's rubble.
Beyond this monument, over a dozen surviving broadly contemporary cairns of
various types are arranged as dispersed groups on Salakee Down from 40m to the
WNW. A group of broadly contemporary house platforms is located 430m to the
west on the coastal margin below the southern slope of the Down.

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.

These kerbed platform cairns on Salakee Down have survived well despite the
minor hollow in the WSW cairn from the unrecorded antiquarian excavation.
The proximity of these cairns to the other broadly contemporary and differing
cairns on Salakee Down and to the house platforms on the coastal slope of the
Down demonstrate the organisation of land use, the relationship between burial
activity and settlement, and the diversity of funerary monument during the
Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ratcliffe, J, Sharpe, A, St Mary's Airport Runway Extension, (1991)
Ratcliffe, J, Sharpe, A, St Mary's Airport Runway Extension, (1991)
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1994, CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7557, (1988)
consulted 1994, CAU, AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7531; 7534; 7537; 7539; 7540, (1988)
consulted 1994, Waters, A., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7540.01, (1988)
consulted 1994, Waters, A., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7540.02, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 9210
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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