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Platform cairn 100m NNW of Water Rocks, Normandy Down, St Mary's

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

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Latitude: 49.9214 / 49°55'17"N

Longitude: -6.2799 / 6°16'47"W

OS Eastings: 92906.964178

OS Northings: 11143.266

OS Grid: SV929111

Mapcode National: GBR BXWW.N98

Mapcode Global: VGYC5.37FK

Entry Name: Platform cairn 100m NNW of Water Rocks, Normandy Down, St Mary's

Scheduled Date: 17 May 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011951

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15368

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 platform cairn incorporating a large
natural boulder used to define part of a funerary chamber. The cairn is
situated on the south western edge of Normandy Down, on eastern St Mary's in
the Isles of Scilly.
The platform cairn survives with a circular mound of heaped rubble, 10m in
diameter, across a slight natural scarp on the edge of the Down such that it
rises gently to 0.4m high from the ground surface to the north, but has a
steep slope to 1.2m high from the south. The mound rises to a shallow-domed
platform, 4.5m in diameter, incorporating a large natural boulder along its
southern side. The boulder measures 3.6m ENE-WSW by up to 1.8m wide, rising
0.75m above the edge of the mound to the south but only 0.1m above the
platform surface to the north.
The boulder forms the southern edge of a broad funerary chamber centred
south west of the platform centre. The northern side of the chamber is defined
by a large edge-set slab, measuring 2.4m east-west by 0.2m wide and 0.6m high.
The resulting chamber, whose east and west ends lack visible definition,
tapers from 2.5m wide at the east to 2m wide at the west.
This monument is located at the western end of a linear cairn cemetery
containing three other cairns dispersed across the plateau of Normandy Down.
The other cairns in this cemetery vary in form, including two others with
large funerary chambers and one entrance grave. A broadly contemporary field
system extends south from Water Rocks Down, from 50m south of this monument,
while other prehistoric cairn cemeteries are located to the south on the
successive coastal downs of Porth Hellick Down and Salakee 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.

This platform cairn on Normandy Down has survived well, retaining a clear and
unusually large funerary chamber. The incorporation of natural boulders and
outcrops into the mound, occasionally forming part of the funerary chamber, is
a feature found amongst certain other cairns on the Isles of Scilly but which
is unusual and rare nationally. The presence of this monument within a
cemetery containing various cairn types, its proximity to a prehistoric
field system on Water Rocks Down, and the disposition of this and the other
cairn cemeteries on successive downs along the coast are all 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 7236, (1988)
consulted 1994, Parkes, C., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7236.05, (1988)
consulted 1994, Waters, A., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7527, (1988)
Rees, S., AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 1018, 1975, consulted 1994
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map, SV 9211 & 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map, SV 91 SW
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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