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Innisidgen Entrance Graves

Introduction

Three to four Entrance Graves are recorded at Innisidgen Hill, two of which, the Lower and Upper Entrance Graves are detailed below. In the Bronze Age the hill would have overlooked a valley rather than the sea, the present sea level being the result of hundreds of years of sea level rise.

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On the northern slope of Innisidgen Hill, a prehistoric field system survives as earth and rubble banks which adjoin the Upper and Lower entrance graves. The association of Entrance Graves with the farming landscape is a distinctive feature of the Isles of Scilly.

Innisidgen lies on the north side of the island of St Mary's and can be accessed via the public footpath that follows the entire coastline of the island.

The site is free to visit, and is open any reasonable time in daylight hours.

There are refreshment facilities available across the island. It is recommended that this is researched before the trip.

There are no public transport links directly/close to the area of the site.

View our interactive Access to Monuments map to find this and other nearby sites.

Upper Innisidgen Entrance Grave

The Upper Innisidgen Entrance Grave, otherwise known as Innisidgen Carn, is one a group of three or four Entrance Graves in the area. It is one of the best preserved examples of Bronze Age Entrance Graves on the Isles of Scilly.

The mound is 9.0m x 8.0m and 1.8m high and it’s longer axis is north-south.. It is composed of earth and stone. A kerb consisting of twenty five stones at ground level, with smaller stones set above these in up to three courses around the north side, has a total height of 0.7m. The kerb stones average 0.9m long, 0.5m wide and 0.5m high.

The chamber itself is 1.5m x 4.6m and is orientated east-west. It was orientated east - west with the entrance at the east end; constructed of very large slabs, with some coursed stones above them, particularly on the north side. There were five capstones, averaging 1.6m long by 0.6m wide and 0.5m thick. The chamber was situated in the centre of the mound.

Lower Innisidgen Entrance Grave

Lower Innisidgen Entrance Grave, otherwise known as Innisidgen North, is another of the group of three to four Entrance Graves in the area. This example is less well preserved retaining only two of its capstones.

It has a cairn 8.5m diameter and 1.7m high. Situated near the bottom of a steep slope north east to the coast, it is composed of earth and stone, and incorporates a natural rock. A kerb set 0.5m inside the perimeter surrounds the north, north east and east sides, consisting of six stones averaging 0.7m long, 0.2m wide and 0.3m high, incorporating the natural rock on the north side.

The chamber is 5.4m by 1.3m and 1.0m high and orientated north – south. It was dug without permission in 1950 and no records of the finds are available. The Ministry Of Works later cleared the chamber and exposed the kerb. 

The entrance to the chamber was probably on the south side, though this has been broken down. It was constructed with coursed walling using a natural rock on the east side, with capstones of which two (near the centre) remain, averaging 2.0m long, 1.0m wide and 0.5m thick. The remaining capstones had apparently been robbed, and the mound clearly disturbed.