Iron Age enclosure on Whittle Hill
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1006431
Date first listed: 06-Oct-1978
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This copy shows the entry on 26-Mar-2019 at 05:55:41.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: NZ 12111 85773
Whittle Hill defended settlement.
Reasons for Designation
During the earlier Iron Age (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD). Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period.
The defended settlement 235m east of Holly Cottage is preserved as a cropmark and analysis of AP’s indicate that the monument will contain archaeological and environmental deposits within its ditches and any other below ground features that will provide insight into its construction, use and abandonment as well as the use of the surrounding landscape. The indications of hut circles which may post date the use of the defences contributes to the significance of the monument which provides insight into the character of settlement and subsistence during the Iron Age.
This record was the subject of a minor enhancement on 2 June 2016. This record has been generated from an "old county number" (OCN) scheduling record. These are monuments that were not reviewed under the Monuments Protection Programme and are some of our oldest designation records.
The monument includes the remains of a defended settlement of Iron Age date, situated on the summit of Whittle Hill and partly extending down to Whittle Burn to the east. The sub-circular enclosure has a diameter of approximately 100m, enclosing an area of 0.4ha., and is surrounded by a double ditch, which is preserved as a cropmark. Aerial photographs show additional features in the area including what is interpreted as a droveway and a group of hut circles possibly postdating the abandonment of the defences.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: ND 609
Legacy System: RSM - OCN
PastScape Monument No:- 23289
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing