Ancient Monuments

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Platform cairn on Carn Morval Down, 275m NNW 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: 49.9279 / 49°55'40"N

Longitude: -6.3106 / 6°18'37"W

OS Eastings: 90749.523851

OS Northings: 11991.32391

OS Grid: SV907119

Mapcode National: GBR BXTW.08H

Mapcode Global: VGYC4.K2QL

Entry Name: Platform cairn on Carn Morval Down, 275m NNW of Isles of Scilly Golf Course club house, St Mary's

Scheduled Date: 28 May 1980

Last Amended: 13 January 1995

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1013454

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15381

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 situated on the north west
crest of Carn Morval Down, overlooking the steep coastal slope on western St
Mary's in the Isles of Scilly.
The platform cairn survives with a circular, steep-sided mound of heaped
rubble, 12m in diameter, rising up to 1m high to a flattened upper surface,
6.5m in diameter. The upper surface bears a shallow central hollow, 2.5m in
diameter and 0.3m deep, resulting from an unrecorded antiquarian excavation.
On the western edge of the hollow is a large exposed edge-set slab measuring
1.9m long, NNW-SSE, by 0.45m wide and rising 0.7m above the surface of the
The slab leans out to the south west and is considered to derive from
a funerary structure at the cairn, displaced by the antiquarian excavation. A
curving earthen bank extending from the south eastern edge of the mound is a
recent addition defining a bunker on the adjacent golf course. Other, broadly
contemporary, funerary monuments are dispersed near the west and north west
coastal slope of St Mary's, including a small platform cairn 90m to the ESE
and two large chambered cairns, called entrance graves, 400m to the north east
and 460m 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 100m north east 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 and the
antiquarian excavation has indicated the presence of a funerary structure
within the mound. Despite the limited disturbance caused by that antiquarian
activity, the mound has remained substantially intact. 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
Ashbee, P, Ancient Scilly, (1974)
Ashbee, P, The chambered Tombs on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, (1963), 9-18
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1994, Parkes, C., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7507.01, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Maps; SV 9011-9012
Source Date: 1980

Young, C.J., AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 1081, 1979, consulted 1994

Source: Historic England

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