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Two platform cairns north east of Vane Hill summit, Tresco

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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Two platform cairns north east of Vane Hill summit, Tresco

List entry Number: 1013799


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


District: Isles of Scilly

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Tresco

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 07-Oct-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jan-1996

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 15429

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.

These platform cairns on Vane Hill have survived substantially intact despite some evidence for stone robbing and the slight impingement of the later structures on the southern cairn's south west edge. The prominence of the hill chosen for this monument's location, and for the other members of this discrete cairn group around the hill's summit, demonstrates the influence of topography on the physical organisation of funerary and ritual activities among prehistoric communities.


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


The monument includes two prehistoric funerary platform cairns situated close to the north east of the summit of Vane Hill, a prominent rounded hill south east of New Grimsby on central Tresco in the Isles of Scilly. These cairns form the north east part of a dispersed group of four cairns spaced around the hill's summit. The southern cairn in this monument contains the largely dismantled remains of a post-medieval coastguard lookout. The two platform cairns in this monument are spaced 12m apart on a north-south axis. The northern cairn survives as a circular mound of heaped rubble and earth, 14.5m in diameter, with fairly steep sides rising 1.2m high to a flattened upper platform 8m in diameter. The platform surface contains some irregularities, many due to rabbit burrowing, but the eastern side contains a larger hollow, 5.5m long, north-south, by 2.5m wide and up to 0.4m deep, considered to be the result of relatively recent stone robbing. The southern cairn in the monument also survives with a circular mound of heaped rubble and earth, 13m in diameter and up to 1.7m high, rising to a small flattened platform, 5m in diameter. The northern and south eastern sides of the mound contain several hollows resulting from relatively recent stone robbing. One hollow, up to 0.7m deep, in the south west edge of the cairn corresponds with the northern corner of a post-medieval coastguard lookout whose dismantled walls are visible as slight grassy banks, generally 0.9m wide and 0.3m high, delineating an internal area 3m square, its sides facing north west-south east and north east-south west. The south east side appears to have been left open. Some irregular stone slabs from the walls' facing are visible in the vicinity. Also visible immediately north west of the lookout's remains is the debris of a much more recent and mostly demolished structure; one corner of this structure's north and east walls, built of mortared concrete blocks, survives in situ on the lower south west slope of the cairn. Beyond this monument, the other two cairns near the summit of Vane Hill form an east-west pair from 30m to the south west.

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
Ashbee, P, Ancient Scilly, (1974)
Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7373, (1988)
Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7373.01, (1988)
Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7373.02, (1988)
Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7377, (1988)
Rees, S E, AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 1010, 1975, cairn 'a'
Rees, S E, AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 1010, 1975, cairn 'b'
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map, SV 8715 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 8915 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 6": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map: SV 81 NE Source Date: 1963 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Title: 6": 1 mile Ordnance Survey Map; SV 81 NE Source Date: 1963 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SV 89097 15210


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This copy shows the entry on 20-Sep-2018 at 01:35:36.

End of official listing