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Prehistoric entrance grave, the middle one of three on Cruther's Hill, St Martin'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: Prehistoric entrance grave, the middle one of three on Cruther's Hill, St Martin's

List entry Number: 1013804


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


District: Isles of Scilly

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: St. Martin's

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: 15417

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. Entrance graves are funerary and ritual monuments whose construction and use dates to the later Neolithic, Early and Middle Bronze Age (c.2500-1000 BC). They were constructed with a roughly circular mound of heaped rubble and earth, up to 25m in diameter, whose perimeter may be defined by a kerb of edge-set slabs or, occasionally, coursed stone. The mound contains a rectangular chamber built of edge-set slabs or coursed rubble walling, or a combination of both. The chamber was roofed by further slabs, called capstones, set across the chamber. The chamber was accessible via a gap in the mound's kerb or outer edge and often extends back beyond the centre of the mound. The cairn's mound and chamber may incorporate natural boulders and outcrops. Excavations in entrance graves have revealed cremated human bone and funerary urns, usually within the chambers but on occasion within the mound. Unburnt human bone has also been recovered but is only rarely preserved. Some chambers have also produced ritual deposits of domestic midden debris, including dark earth typical of the surface soil found within settlements, animal bone and artefact fragments. Entrance graves may occur as single monuments or in small or large groups, often being associated with other cairn types in cemeteries. They may also occur in close proximity to broadly contemporary field boundaries. The national distribution of entrance graves is heavily weighted towards the Isles of Scilly which contain 79 of the 93 surviving examples recorded nationally, the remaining 14 being located in western Cornwall.

This entrance grave on Cruthers Hill has survived well, forming a very good example of the monument class, with only limited disturbance evident from the removal of the funerary chamber's covering slabs. The prominent siting of this monument demonstrates the important role played by landscape features in the beliefs and perception of prehistoric communities, a point reinforced by the monument's proximity to other prehistoric funerary monuments along the summit ridge of Cruther's Hill. The wider organisation of prehistoric land use and the later profound changes in landscape context are illustrated by the monument's relationship with the prehistoric cists and settlement sites in the inter-tidal zone to the east and west of Cruther's Hill.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric entrance grave situated near the centre of the summit ridge of Cruther's Hill, on the south coast of St Martin's in the Isles of Scilly.

The entrance grave survives with a circular mound of heaped earth and rubble, 14.5m in diameter and up to 2m high, on a natural knoll near the centre of the hill's narrow summit ridge. The mound rises gently over its peripheral 2m-2.5m, then adopts a much steeper gradient, rising to a shallow-domed upper platform defined by a slab-built kerb 7.5m-8m in external diameter. The kerb includes near contiguous large slabs, up to 1.5m long and 1.4m high, mostly edge-set and extending down part of the mound's upper slope. The kerb also incorporates occasional bedrock outcrops from the underlying knoll.

Within the mound is a large, slab-built, rectangular funerary chamber orientated WSW-ENE. The chamber measures 4.5m long, up to 1.1m wide and up to 1.1m deep, with its entrance at the ENE side accompanied by a break in the kerb line. Its walls combine both edge-set and coursed slabs, with individual slabs up to 1.9m long and 1.1m high. A small outcrop of bedrock is visible in the south west edge of the floor. The chamber is unroofed, its former covering slabs having been robbed for other purposes.

This entrance grave is one of a linear group of four broadly contemporary funerary monuments dispersed along 130m of the summit ridge of Cruther's Hill. This is a highly prominent cairn group which is visible over considerable distances to the east and west. Beyond the group, a further funerary cairn is located 170m NNW of this monument, in the saddle between Cruther's Hill and Higher Town. Small prehistoric box-like funerary chambers, called cists, are known from now submerged locations overlooked by Cruther's Hill to both east and west, while those cists to the east are also accompanied by broadly contemporary settlement sites on the sloping beach of Higher Town Bay.

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
Arlott, J, Island Camera, (1983)
Borlase, W, Observations on Ancient and Present State of the Isles of Scilly, (1756)
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
consulted 1994, Thorpe, C/CAU, AM107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7170, (1988)
consulted 1994, Thorpe, C/CAU, AM107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7172, (1988)
consulted 1994, Thorpe, C/CAU, AM107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7172.02, (1988)
consulted 1994, Thorpe, C/CAU, AM107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7147, 7302-3, (1988)
consulted 1994, Thorpe, C/CAU, AM107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7148 & 7178, (1988)
Rees, S, AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 992, 1975,
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 9215 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

National Grid Reference: SV 92913 15178


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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 - 1013804 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 22-Jan-2018 at 06:14:46.

End of official listing