Defended settlement, 700m north of Overacres


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1007526

Date first listed: 22-Feb-1962

Date of most recent amendment: 04-Oct-1993


Ordnance survey map of Defended settlement, 700m north of Overacres
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Otterburn

National Grid Reference: NY 90716 93839


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

Reasons for Designation

During the later prehistoric period (7th - 5th centuries BC) a variety of different types of defensive settlements were 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. 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. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national importance.

The defended settlement north of Overacres is exceptionally well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric settlement and activity in the area.


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


The monument includes a multivallate defended settlement of Iron Age date situated in an elevated position on the summit of Camp Hill commanding extensive views in all directions. The settlement, roughly circular in shape, measures 83m in diameter within three substantial ramparts of earth and stone and three ditches. The inner rampart ranges from 3m to 7m wide and stands to a height of 1m. The central rampart is 4m to 8m wide and stands to a height of 1m and the outer rampart is 4m wide and is on average 2m high. The three ditches are between 4m and 6m wide and vary in depth from 0.1m to 1m. The two main ditches lie between the ramparts. The third one, which is much slighter than the other two, lies within the inner rampart and is probably just a quarry from which material used in the construction of the adjacent rampart was extracted. There are two entrances 3m wide in the north-east and south-west sides of the enclosure; that in the latter side is staggered and has been equipped with an additional stretch of defensive rampart blocking the easiest form of access from attack. Within the enclosure there are at least four circular depressions; these are thought to be the sites of round timber prehistoric houses. The stone field wall which lies immediately inside the constraint area on the south-eastern side of the monument is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath it 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: 21042

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in A New List of the Native Sites of Northumberland, (1946), 169
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 60
NY 99 SW 11,

End of official listing