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The Long Rock prehistoric standing stone on Long Rock Down, St Mary's

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

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Latitude: 49.932 / 49°55'55"N

Longitude: -6.3023 / 6°18'8"W

OS Eastings: 91366.798372

OS Northings: 12404.487143

OS Grid: SV913124

Mapcode National: GBR BXTV.XQ4

Mapcode Global: VGYBY.QZ21

Entry Name: The Long Rock prehistoric standing stone on Long Rock Down, St Mary's

Scheduled Date: 21 May 1963

Last Amended: 23 October 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013276

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15405

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 standing stone, known as the Long Rock,
situated on a slight north west facing slope on Long Rock Down, towards the
northern end of St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly.
The standing stone is visible as an erect, granite slab standing 2.4m high and
leaning to the south east. Its base is of almost square section, 0.75m across
each side and the faces oriented NNW-SSE and ENE-WSW. The slab barely tapers
until 0.8m below the upper end; there the slab undergoes a weathered step
inwards, principally on the WSW face, reducing the upper end to a rectangular
section, tapering from 0.6m NNW-SSE by 0.5m ENE-WSW to a blunt rounded upper
end bearing a weathered facet sloping down to the south west.
The surfaces of the slab are evenly weathered, producing some lengthwise
grooving on all faces except the NNW. A prominent ovoid weathered hollow also
occurs on the north eastern edge of the slab, 0.2m below the upper end; this
hollow measures 0.3m vertically by 0.2m across and is 0.1m deep. A much more
recent feature visible on the NNW face of the slab is an inverted Ordnance
Survey benchmark at a point 0.2m above ground level.
Although no other prehistoric structures present surface remains in the
immediate vicinity of the standing stone, it forms the focus of one of the
island's concentrations of flint artefact finds, including several scrapers
and an arrowhead from close by, indicating a broader area of prehistoric
activity around this monument.
In its wider context, the standing stone is located towards the northern crest
of the highest hill on the islands, with two other standing stones located
307m to the north west and 400m to the west on Halangy Down, on the north west
slope of the hill. Broadly contemporary settlement sites and field systems
also survive on Halangy Down, from 235m to the west, and on the present
coastal slopes and margin around Bar Point, from 275m to the NNE.

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.
Standing stones are prehistoric ritual monuments dating to the later Neolithic
and Bronze Age (c.2500-700 BC). They comprise single or paired upright slabs,
ranging in height from under 1m to over 6m where still erect. They are often
conspicuously sited, though many are located in relatively sheltered settings.
Excavations have demonstrated subsurface features adjacent to standing stones,
including funerary cists, spreads of pebbles and various pits and hollows
containing human bone, cremations and domestic debris. Excavated sockets for
standing stones vary considerably in depth, reflecting variations in the
stones' heights. In addition to having a ritual function, standing stones may
also have acted as markers for routeways, territorial boundaries, graves and
meeting points. Estimates suggest that about 250 standing stones are known
nationally, of which seven examples are known to survive on the Isles of
Scilly. Standing stones are important for our understanding of ritual, land
division and land use among prehistoric communities.

This standing stone has survived well with no recorded disturbance from its
present location. The concentration of flint artefacts recorded near this
stone provides evidence for this site having formed a focus for
prehistoric activity. The relatively close grouping of standing stones known
on this part of the island is also unusual, while the wider relationship
between the monument, its topographical setting and the settlements and field
systems on the slopes of the hill demonstrates the organisation and
development of ritual and settlement activity among prehistoric communities.
The intact survival of this slab on an island where stone was widely worked
for building stone and gateposts denotes a high degree of respect from the
island's community, a recognition reflected in the formal title `Long Rock'
given to this standing stone, and the bestowal of that title on the wider area
of downland in which it stands.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Ashbee, P, Ancient Scilly, (1974)
Ashbee, P, Ancient Scilly, (1974)
Borlase, W, Observations on Ancient and Present State of the Isles of Scilly, (1756)
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
Mackenzie, P Z, 'Cornish Archaeology' in Thumb-nail scrapers in the Isles of Scilly, , Vol. 6, (1967), 109
consulted 1993, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7442, (1988)
consulted 1993, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7491, (1988)
consulted 1993, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7441 & 7490, (1988)
consulted 1993, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7476, 7477, 7480, 7483, 7484, (1988)
Saunders, A D, AM7 scheduling documentation for SI 573, 1958,
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map, SV 8715
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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