Platform cairn on Cruther's Neck, St Martin's


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013806

Date first listed: 30-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Platform cairn on Cruther's Neck, St Martin'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. Martin's

National Grid Reference: SV 92850 15340


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 Cruther's Neck has survived substantially intact, despite minor disturbance from the unrecorded antiquarian excavation trench and some small-scale stone robbing from the upper surface. The prominence of this monument's original context demonstrates the important role played by landscape features in the beliefs and perception of prehistoric communities, a point reinforced by the monument's relationship to the other conspicuous 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 platform cairn situated on the saddle called Cruther's Neck, between the rise to Higher Town and Cruther's Hill, on the south coast of St Martin's in the Isles of Scilly. The platform cairn survives as a circular mound of heaped earth and rubble, 11m in diameter, on a south westerly slope and rising to an ill-defined flattened platform, 7.5m in diameter, 0.8m high from the south west and 0.5m from the north east. The platform surface contains irregular hollows from stone robbing, and extending from the west side to the centre of the mound are traces of an east-west trench 5m long, up to 2.5m wide and 0.4m deep, considered to derive from an unrecorded antiquarian excavation. This monument is situated on the spine of the saddle. Prior to the building of the relatively recent field and lane boundaries, the cairn would have formed a skyline feature when viewed from east or west. In this respect it is a northward continuation of a linear group of four broadly contemporary funerary monuments dispersed along 130m of the summit ridge of Cruther's Hill, a highly prominent cairn group visible for considerable distances to the east and west. In addition small prehistoric box-like funerary structures called cists are known from now submerged locations 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.


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

Legacy System number: 15419

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
Thorpe, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7170, (1988)
Thorpe, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7172, (1988)
Thorpe, C/CAU, AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7147, 7302-3, (1988)
Thorpe, C/CAU, AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7148, 7178, (1988)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 9215 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing