Platform cairn 195m north east of Salakee Farm, St Mary's


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011938

Date first listed: 10-May-1995


Ordnance survey map of Platform cairn 195m north east of Salakee Farm, St Mary's
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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 92258 10732


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 platform cairn on Salakee Farm has survived reasonably well and despite the robbing of its southern sector by relatively recent agricultural activity, the remaining body of this large cairn shows no evidence for previous disturbance and it has not been excavated. The incorporation of a natural outcrop into the mound is a distinctive feature found in certain other cairns on the Isles of Scilly but unusual and rare nationally. The valley floor location of this cairn is also unusual. The proximity of this cairn to the dispersed groups containing various classes of cairn on Salakee Down shows the diversity of funerary practices during the Bronze Age.


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


The monument includes a large prehistoric platform cairn incorporating a natural outcrop and situated at the south western side of the broad shallow valley occupied by the Higher Moors, on south eastern St Mary's in the Isles of Scilly. The platform cairn survives with a D-shaped mound of heaped rubble which underlies and extends north from a modern field wall. The mound measures 18m WNW-ESE by 10.3m NNE-SSW and rises 1.5m high to a flattened platform measuring 7m WNW-ESE by 4.5m NNE-SSW. The mound is built against a natural linear granite outcrop, 1.5m high, which runs NE-SW and whose steep jointed scarp face defines the entire north western side of the mound and its platform. At the centre of the platform is a large edge-set slab orientated north-south and measuring 1.6m long, 0.75m wide and 0.6m high. This slab, together with a line of smaller, turf-fast slabs adjoining it over the 0.8m south to the modern wall, is considered to derive from the cairn's former funerary structure. The original southern extent of the cairn, in the field south of the modern wall overlying the cairn, has been robbed as a visible feature by relatively recent activity, partly by the construction of the wall and partly by stone clearance. Beyond this monument, over a dozen surviving broadly contemporary cairns of various types are arranged as dispersed groups on the higher land of Salakee Down, from 100m to the south east.

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: 15357

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Ashbee, P, The chambered Tombs on St Mary's, Isles of Scilly, (1963), 9-18
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1994, Waters, A., AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7531.02, (1988)
consulted 1994, Waters, A., AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7531; 7534; 7537; 7539; 7540, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 9210 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing