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Platform cairn 195m north east of Salakee Farm, St Mary's

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

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Latitude: 49.9174 / 49°55'2"N

Longitude: -6.2886 / 6°17'18"W

OS Eastings: 92258.644307

OS Northings: 10731.167485

OS Grid: SV922107

Mapcode National: GBR BXVW.Y2K

Mapcode Global: VGYC4.YBBN

Entry Name: Platform cairn 195m north east of Salakee Farm, St Mary's

Scheduled Date: 10 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011938

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15357

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 large prehistoric platform cairn incorporating a
natural outcrop and situated at the south western side of the broad shallow
valley occupied by the Higher Moors, on south eastern St Mary's in the Isles
of Scilly.
The platform cairn survives with a D-shaped mound of heaped rubble which
underlies and extends north from a modern field wall. The mound measures 18m
WNW-ESE by 10.3m NNE-SSW and rises 1.5m high to a flattened platform measuring
7m WNW-ESE by 4.5m NNE-SSW. The mound is built against a natural linear
granite outcrop, 1.5m high, which runs NE-SW and whose steep jointed scarp
face defines the entire north western side of the mound and its platform. At
the centre of the platform is a large edge-set slab orientated north-south and
measuring 1.6m long, 0.75m wide and 0.6m high. This slab, together with a line
of smaller, turf-fast slabs adjoining it over the 0.8m south to the modern
wall, is considered to derive from the cairn's former funerary structure.
The original southern extent of the cairn, in the field south of the modern
wall overlying the cairn, has been robbed as a visible feature by relatively
recent activity, partly by the construction of the wall and partly by stone
Beyond this monument, over a dozen surviving broadly contemporary cairns of
various types are arranged as dispersed groups on the higher land of Salakee
Down, from 100m to the south east.

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 Salakee Farm has survived reasonably well and despite
the robbing of its southern sector by relatively recent agricultural activity,
the remaining body of this large cairn shows no evidence for previous
disturbance and it has not been excavated. The incorporation of a natural
outcrop into the mound is a distinctive feature found in certain other cairns
on the Isles of Scilly but unusual and rare nationally. The valley floor
location of this cairn is also unusual. The proximity of this cairn to the
dispersed groups containing various classes of cairn on Salakee Down shows the
diversity of funerary practices during the Bronze Age.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ashbee, P, The chambered Tombs on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, (1963), 9-18
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1994, Waters, A., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7531.02, (1988)
consulted 1994, Waters, A., AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7531; 7534; 7537; 7539; 7540, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 9210
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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