Kerbed platform cairn with cist 90m north west of Carn Kimbra, Gugh


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014790

Date first listed: 07-Oct-1976

Date of most recent amendment: 01-Aug-1996


Ordnance survey map of Kerbed platform cairn with cist 90m north west of Carn Kimbra, Gugh
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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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. Agnes

National Grid Reference: SV 89162 08411


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 and cist on Gugh has survived well, with only limited disturbance evident from the displacement of the cist capstone. Its location relative to other prehistoric funerary, ritual and settlement monuments on the northern part of the island shows well the organisation of prehistoric activities and land use, which unusually is given some depth by the rare evidence for the slightly later date of the field system's construction.


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


The monument includes a prehistoric kerbed platform cairn with a central cist situated on the south eastern spur of Kittern Hill, overlooking the east coast of Gugh, an island linked at low tide to St Agnes in the south west of the Isles of Scilly. The cairn survives with a subcircular mound of heaped rubble and earth, up to 4.7m in diameter, rising 0.6m to a shallow-domed platform. The platform is defined by a kerb of at least seven spaced edge-set slabs, up to 1m long, located around the mound's edge and projecting a little above the platform surface. Slightly north of the platform centre is embedded a thin slab, 1.3m long, north east-south west, by 0.8m wide and 0.2m thick, tilted down to the south west. This slab is considered to be a displaced covering slab from a funerary cist which is now masked by vegetation, but traces of its slab-built walls have been recorded by earlier visitors. This platform cairn forms the south eastern part of a large cemetery of at least 20 prehistoric funerary cairns of differing forms dispersed over the island's northern hill, Kittern Hill, and its south east spur. Many of the cemetery's cairns are linked by walling of a prehistoric field system which can be shown to slightly post-date the cemetery and which extends across the main summit dome of Kittern Hill from 180m north west of this monument. The hill's south east spur also contains a prehistoric ritual monument, a standing stone known as `The Old Man of Gugh', located 130m north west of this monument.

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: 15443

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Russell, V, Isles of Scilly Survey, (1980)
Rees, S E, AM7 scheduling documentation and maplet for SI 1015, 1975,
Title: 1:10000 Ordnance Survey Map, SV 80 NE Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:
Waters, A/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7026, (1988)
Waters, A/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7053, (1988)
Waters, A/CAU, AM 107 for Scilly SMR entry PRN 7054, (1988)
Waters, A/CAU, AM 107s for Scilly SMR entries PRN 7030-7032, (1988)

End of official listing