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Prehistoric field system and settlement north of Appletree Point, Tresco

A Scheduled Monument in Tresco, Isles of Scilly

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Latitude: 49.9493 / 49°56'57"N

Longitude: -6.3391 / 6°20'20"W

OS Eastings: 88842.655047

OS Northings: 14480.253362

OS Grid: SV888144

Mapcode National: GBR BXQT.K6M

Mapcode Global: VGYBY.2JNR

Entry Name: Prehistoric field system and settlement north of Appletree Point, Tresco

Scheduled Date: 25 September 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1016182

English Heritage Legacy ID: 15505

County: Isles of Scilly

Civil Parish: Tresco

Traditional County: Cornwall

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Cornwall

Church of England Parish: Isles of Scilly

Church of England Diocese: Truro


The monument includes prehistoric field boundaries and a hut circle settlement
on the middle shore north of Appletree Point on the west coast of Tresco in
the Isles of Scilly.
The prehistoric boundaries are visible as rows of closely-spaced or continuous
slabs and small boulders, frequently set on edge with their long axis usually
along the wall line. The slabs are generally 0.3m-0.5m long and 0.3m-0.5m high
but include edge-set slabs over 1m long and 0.75m high.
The visible boundaries include a slightly wavering north east-south west wall
extending for at least 65m across the middle shore; its north east end fades
as a visible feature between the hut circles of the settlement, described
below, but from 10m beyond them a second wall appears, built largely of small
boulders and extending for 14m east-west. Further east, another short exposure
of walling runs north-south. Adjacent to the west of the hut circles, two
near-parallel walls, 2m-3m apart, run NNW-SSE for at least 15m, converging on
the north east part of the long wall and considered to define a short length
of trackway. The settlement closely associated with these boundaries includes
at least two hut circles, 10m apart on an ESE-WNW axis and flanking each side
of the long north east-south west wall at its north east end. Each has a sub-
circular wall of closely-spaced boulders and edge-set slabs, generally 0.5m
wide and 0.4m high, defining a rounded interior in which is a low spread of
rubble washed in since the settlement's submergence. The WNW hut circle is 6m
in internal diameter and located adjacent to the eastern wall of the trackway.
The ESE hut circle is 4m in internal diameter; in its north eastern wall line
are two large slabs, each over 1m long but fallen flat, considered to have
originally flanked an entrance gap approximately 1.2m wide; a small rounded
annexe, 3m wide and defined by similar walling, adjoins its ESE side. The ESE
hut circle is linked to the nearby boundaries by two low walls: one runs north
from 1m north of the hut circle to the west end of the east-west wall; the
other defines a small plot, 9m wide, extending approximately 15m south west
from the hut circle and against the south east side of the long north east-
south west boundary.
Beyond this scheduling, further exposures of prehistoric field system remains
occur to the south in Appletree Bay, and a broadly contemporary group of
funerary cairns is located at the top of the adjacent coastal slope to the
east, on Abbey Hill.

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.
Regular field systems are one of several methods of field layout known to have
been employed in the Isles of Scilly from the Bronze Age to the Roman period
(c.2000 BC - AD 400); closer dating within that period may be provided by the
visible relationships of the field boundaries to other classes of monument
with a shorter known time-span of use, or by their relationship with an
earlier recorded sea level.
They comprise a collection of field plots defined by boundaries laid out in a
consistent manner, along two dominant axes at approximate right angles to each
other. This results in rectilinear fields which may vary in their size and
length:width ratio both within and between individual field systems. The
fields are bounded by rubble walls or banks, often incorporating edge- or end-
set slabs called orthostats. Within its total area, a regular field system may
be subdivided into blocks differing in the orientations of their dominant
Regular field systems may be associated with broadly contemporary settlement
sites such as stone hut circles. Some regular field systems on the Isles of
Scilly contain a distinctive association, rarely encountered elsewhere,
whereby certain of their field boundaries directly incorporate or link cairns,
entrance graves and cists in some groups of prehistoric funerary monuments.
Although no precise figure is available, regular field systems form one of the
three principal forms of prehistoric field system, along with irregular field
systems and some groups of prehistoric linear boundaries, which survive in
over 70 areas of the Isles of Scilly. They provide significant insights into
the physical and social organisation of past landscapes and they provide
evidence for the wider contemporary context within which other nationally
important monuments were constructed.

The prehistoric field system and settlement north of Appletree Point survives
reasonably well. The field boundaries and the hut circles clearly display
their manner of construction and show well their pattern of integration with
each other. Unusual features include the length of trackway and the hut circle
annexe. Despite minor displacements by wave action the extensive survival of
the field system and settlement well into the inter-tidal zone confirms their
overall long term stability against a considerable period of submergence. The
wider land use context contemporary with their use is well illustrated by the
other prehistoric field system survivals nearby and the cairn group on Abbey

Source: Historic England


Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7309.01, (1988)
Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7309.02, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 8814
Source Date: 1980

Source: Historic England

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