Kerbed platform cairn 360m north of the Pest House, St Helen's


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014551

Date first listed: 21-May-1996


Ordnance survey map of Kerbed platform cairn 360m north of the Pest House, St Helen's
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 14:26:47.


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

District: Isles of Scilly (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Tresco

National Grid Reference: SV 89963 17195


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 St Helen's has survived well and has not been excavated. Its location relative to other broadly contemporary funerary and settlement monuments on this island shows well the wider organisation of prehistoric land use.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric kerbed platform cairn situated near the tip of a spur overlooking the north western coastal slope of St Helen's, an uninhabited island in the north of the Isles of Scilly. The cairn survives with a circular mound of heaped rubble, 7m in diameter, rising 0.3m to a slightly ovoid flattened platform tilted to the south west in conformity with the surrounding ground surface. The platform measures 5.2m NNE-SSW by 5m WNW-ESE, with its perimeter defined by a kerb of at least eight slabs, generally spaced 0.5m-1m apart. The kerb slabs are mostly laid flat and up to 0.9m across, but on the SSW they include one edge-set slab, 1m long and 0.25m high. Two smaller flat slabs are visible on the platform within the kerb, on the NNW and south east. A second similar platform cairn is located on the island's north west coastal slope, 35m to the WSW of this monument and only 20m south of a prehistoric habitation site, called a house platform. A further two kerbed platform cairns are located 120m to the south, near the centre of the same spur. A large round cairn containing a funerary cist is situated on the island's summit. Prehistoric field systems also occur on the island's lower western slopes and on the upper slope east of the summit. These broadly contemporary features are the subjects of separate schedulings.

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: 15432

Legacy System: RSM


consulted 1995, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7114, (1988)
consulted 1995, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7266, (1988)
consulted 1995, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7267.01, (1988)
consulted 1995, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7267.03, (1988)
consulted 1995, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7267.04, (1988)
consulted 1995, Parkes, C/CAU, AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7112-3, (1988)
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Maps: SV 81 NE & SV 91 NW Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing