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Kerbed platform cairn with central funerary chamber on Salakee Down, 10m west of Church Porth, St Mary's

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Kerbed platform cairn with central funerary chamber on Salakee Down, 10m west of Church Porth, St Mary's

List entry Number: 1011929


The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.


District: Isles of Scilly

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: St. Mary's

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 04-May-1995

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 15348

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Reasons for Designation

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' settlement. 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 kerbed platform cairn near Church Porth has survived reasonably well despite the effects of the unrecorded excavation. That excavation has revealed the unusual presence of a funerary chamber, substantially intact, deep within this cairn. Its proximity to the other broadly contemporary and differing cairns on Salakee Down and to the house platforms on the coastal slope of the Down demonstrate the organisation of land use, the relationship between burial activity and settlement, and the diversity of funerary monuments during the Bronze Age.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes a prehistoric kerbed platform cairn with a central chamber situated on the southern edge of Salakee Down, at the foot of a slope now forming the coastal margin beside Church Porth on the southern coast of St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly. The platform cairn survives with a turf-covered sub-circular mound of heaped rubble measuring 8m NW-SE by 7m NE-SW, rising up to 0.7m high on the east side and 0.2m high on the west. The mound rises asymmetrically to a platform 4m in diameter, centred west of the mound's centre. Three small spaced kerb stones are visible in the western sector of the platform edge, one of them level with the surface, the other two measuring 0.3m and 0.25m high respectively. The platform's central area contains a large rounded hollow resulting from an unrecorded antiquarian excavation. The hollow measures 3m SW-NE by 2.75m NW-SE and is up to 0.7m deep. From the base of the hollow, a narrow trench extends the antiquarian excavation a further 0.5m deep and measures 2.2m east-west by up to 0.5m wide. The southern side of this trench exposes the northern edges of two large flat slabs considered to form the upper slabs, called capstones, of a funerary chamber. The slabs adjoin on an east-west axis such that their northern edges are in line, but the eastern slab has sunk deeper in the mound than the western. The exposed parts of the western slab measure 1.25m east-west by 0.75m wide and 0.3m thick, its upper surface 0.5m below the platform edge, while visible parts of the eastern slab measure 0.85m east-west by 0.5m wide and 0.3m thick, its upper surface 0.7m deep. Beyond this monument, over a dozen surviving broadly contemporary cairns of various types are arranged as dispersed groups on Salakee Down from 40m to the WSW. A group of broadly contemporary house platforms is located 440m to the west on the coastal margin below the southern slope of the Down.

MAP EXTRACT 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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Ratcliffe, J, Sharpe, A, St Mary's Airport Runway Extension, (1991)
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1994, CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7557, (1988)
consulted 1994, CAU, AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7531; 7534; 7537; 7539; 7540, (1988)
consulted 1994, Waters, A., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7540.08, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 9210 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SV 92284 10024


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This copy shows the entry on 20-Feb-2018 at 06:04:59.

End of official listing