Kerbed platform cairn on Salakee Down, 85m north west of Church Porth, St Mary's


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011932

Date first listed: 04-May-1995


Ordnance survey map of Kerbed platform cairn on Salakee Down, 85m north west of Church Porth, St Mary's
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1011932 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 10-Dec-2018 at 20:30:44.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Isles of Scilly (Unitary Authority)

Parish: St. Mary's

National Grid Reference: SV 92228 10098


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 well. The 1990 excavation did not penetrate the fabric of the cairn and provided confirmation of the nature of this monument. The proximity of this monument 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 rituals during the Bronze Age.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric kerbed platform cairn situated towards the southern edge of Salakee Down, on a slight north east facing slope of a ridge behind Church Point on the southern coast of St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly. The platform cairn survives with a turf-covered circular mound of heaped rubble measuring 7.5m in diameter and rising up to 0.7m high on the north east side but merging with the natural slope to the west. The mound rises asymmetrically to a flattened platform measuring 4m NW-SE by 3.5m NE-SW, centred west of the mound's centre and extending out from the former natural slope on the south west edge of the mound. A small edge-set kerb stone, 0.4m long, 0.15m wide and 0.25m high, is visible on the north east perimeter of the platform. In 1990, a limited excavation was undertaken at this cairn in advance of the extension of the nearby airport runway. The excavation removed only the turf and topsoil along a strip 1m wide and 4m long across the north east slope, the kerb-stone and the platform edge, confirming the artificial nature of the cairn's rubble make-up and the deliberate setting of the kerb-stone on the platform edge. This excavation has resulted in a slight turf-covered hollow, 1m wide and 0.05m deep, across the mound's north east slope. Beyond this monument, over a dozen surviving broadly contemporary cairns of various types are arranged as dispersed groups on Salakee Down from 48m to the ESE. A group of broadly contemporary house platforms is located 400m 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.


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

Legacy System number: 15351

Legacy System: RSM


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 7540.04, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 9210 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing