Prehistoric round cairn 255m south west of Blockhouse Cottages, Tresco


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016187

Date first listed: 25-Sep-1997


Ordnance survey map of Prehistoric round cairn 255m south west of Blockhouse Cottages, 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 - 1016187 .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 14-Dec-2018 at 19:03:39.


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 89433 15248


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 255m south west of Blockhouse Cottages has survived well, with no evident or recorded excavation. Its situation close to an outcrop and on the plateau edge shows well the importance of natural landforms in the physical organisation of prehistoric funerary and ritual activity. From that situation its inter-visible relationship with the other broadly contemporary settlement and funerary sites that survive in this part of the island demonstrates its setting in the wider prehistoric organisation of the landscape.


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


The scheduling includes a prehistoric funerary round cairn situated 255m south west of Blockhouse Cottages on central Tresco in the Isles of Scilly. The cairn is visible as a circular mound 14m in diameter with a shallow-domed surface rising 0.75m high. On the south east and SSE of the mound, and 2.5m within its perimeter, are two large slabs up to 0.7m long and 0.25m high, considered to derive from a peripheral kerb. The cairn is close to the east of a small natural outcrop on the northern crest of the Middle Down plateau, a location which appears on the skyline from the broadly contemporary settlement and field system at Dial Rocks to the north west and which, in its contemporary landscape, would have been inter-visible with prehistoric cairn groups on Vane Hill to the west and Castle Down to the north west. The modern aerial, its wiring, guys and their anchoring posts are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.

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: 15511

Legacy System: RSM


Parkes, C & Herring, P, Scilly SMR entry PRN 7671, (1990)
Title: 1:2500 Ordnance Survey Map; SV 8915 Source Date: 1980 Author: Publisher: Surveyor:

End of official listing