Ancient Monuments

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Kerbed platform cairn with cist 90m north west of Carn Kimbra, Gugh

A Scheduled Monument in St. Agnes, Isles of Scilly

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Latitude: 49.895 / 49°53'41"N

Longitude: -6.3297 / 6°19'47"W

OS Eastings: 89161.700368

OS Northings: 8410.700804

OS Grid: SV891084

Mapcode National: GBR BXRY.X1M

Mapcode Global: VGYC4.7WLW

Entry Name: Kerbed platform cairn with cist 90m north west of Carn Kimbra, Gugh

Scheduled Date: 7 October 1976

Last Amended: 1 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014790

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15443

County: Isles of Scilly

Civil Parish: St. Agnes

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 kerbed platform cairn with a central cist
situated on the south eastern spur of Kittern Hill, overlooking the east coast
of Gugh, an island linked at low tide to St Agnes in the south west of the
Isles of Scilly.
The cairn survives with a subcircular mound of heaped rubble and earth, up to
4.7m in diameter, rising 0.6m to a shallow-domed platform. The platform is
defined by a kerb of at least seven spaced edge-set slabs, up to 1m long,
located around the mound's edge and projecting a little above the platform
surface. Slightly north of the platform centre is embedded a thin slab, 1.3m
long, north east-south west, by 0.8m wide and 0.2m thick, tilted down to the
south west. This slab is considered to be a displaced covering slab from a
funerary cist which is now masked by vegetation, but traces of its slab-built
walls have been recorded by earlier visitors.
This platform cairn forms the south eastern part of a large cemetery of at
least 20 prehistoric funerary cairns of differing forms dispersed over the
island's northern hill, Kittern Hill, and its south east spur. Many of the
cemetery's cairns are linked by walling of a prehistoric field system which
can be shown to slightly post-date the cemetery and which extends across the
main summit dome of Kittern Hill from 180m north west of this monument. The
hill's south east spur also contains a prehistoric ritual monument, a standing
stone known as `The Old Man of Gugh', located 130m north west of this

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 and cist on Gugh has survived well, with only limited
disturbance evident from the displacement of the cist capstone. Its location
relative to other prehistoric funerary, ritual and settlement monuments on the
northern part of the island shows well the organisation of prehistoric
activities and land use, which unusually is given some depth by the rare
evidence for the slightly later date of the field system's construction.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
Rees, S E, AM7 scheduling documentation and maplet for SI 1015, 1975,
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map, SV 80 NE
Source Date: 1980

Waters, A/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7026, (1988)
Waters, A/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7053, (1988)
Waters, A/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7054, (1988)
Waters, A/CAU, AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7030-7032, (1988)

Source: Historic England

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