Round cairn 25m south west of Vane Hill summit, Tresco


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014777

Date first listed: 07-Oct-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Jan-1996


Ordnance survey map of Round cairn 25m south west of Vane Hill summit, Tresco
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

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 - 1014777 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Dec-2018 at 10:54:53.


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 89059 15174


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. Round cairns are funerary monuments of Bronze Age date (c.2000-700 BC). They were constructed as mounds of earth and stone rubble, up to 40m in external diameter, though usually considerably smaller, covering single or multiple burials. A kerb of edge-set stones sometimes bounds the edge of the mound. Burials were placed in small pits, or on occasion within a box-like structure of stone slabs called a cist, set into the old ground surface or dug into the body of the cairn. Round cairns can occur as isolated monuments, in small groups or in larger cemeteries. Round cairns form a high proportion of the 387 surviving cairns recorded on the Isles of Scilly. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provides important information on the diversity of beliefs, burial practices and social organisation in the Bronze Age and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of preservation.

This round cairn on Vane Hill has survived well with only limited disturbance evident from the antiquarian excavation. The incorporation of the large slab as a prominent feature of this cairn shows well the importance of such natural entities as elements in prehistoric funerary rites. 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 a prehistoric funerary round cairn situated 25m south west of the summit of Vane Hill, a prominent rounded hill south east of New Grimsby on central Tresco in the Isles of Scilly. This cairn is located west of centre in a dispersed group of four cairns spaced around the hill's summit. The round cairn survives as a shallow-domed circular mound of heaped rubble and earth, 13m in diameter and rising 1m high. The southern periphery of the mound incorporates a large exposed slab, 2.9m long, north east-south west, by 0.75m wide and 0.5m high. The upper surface of the slab has a prominent frost- weathered hollow. Near the centre of the mound is a shallow hollow, 2m long, east-west, by 0.8m wide and generally 0.2m deep, almost certainly the result of an unrecorded antiquarian excavation. On the north side of the hollow is a slab, 1.3m long, 0.5m wide and 0.5m high; a smaller slab, 0.4m long by 0.2m wide, is visible as a surface exposure on the south west of the hollow. Both of these slabs are considered to derive from a central slab-built funerary structure. Beyond this monument, the other three cairns around the summit of Vane Hill form a curved linear group extending from a small cairn 20m to the west to two larger cairns from 30m to the north 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: 15428

Legacy System: RSM


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 7373.03, (1988)
Rees, S E, AM7 scheduling documentation for CO 1010, 1975, cairn 'c'
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:

End of official listing