Palisaded settlement on Trows Law


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1008842

Date first listed: 14-Nov-1984

Date of most recent amendment: 25-Aug-1994


Ordnance survey map of Palisaded settlement on Trows Law
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2018 at 18:28:23.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Alwinton


National Grid Reference: NT 85616 13501


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

Reasons for Designation

A palisaded hilltop enclosure is a small defended site of domestic function dating to the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age (c.550-440 BC). Their distribution is largely restricted to north-eastern England, the Borders and southern Scotland. They are generally located on spurs, promontories or hilltops covering areas of less then 0.4ha. The boundaries of these sites are marked by single or double rock-cut trenches which originally formed the settings for substantial palisades. Remains of circular buildings are found within the palisaded areas, along with evidence for fenced stock enclosures. Palisaded sites are the earliest type of defended settlements recorded in the area and are thought to be a product of increasingly unsettled social conditions in the later prehistoric period. They imply an extensive use of timber, confirmation that large areas were heavily wooded at this time. Although the palisades at individual sites may have undergone several phases of replacement or refurbishment it is thought that the tradition of building this type of site spanned only around 150 years. After this the use of earthen banks and ditches to form the defensive perimeter became more common. Excavation has demonstrated that at several sites the earthen defences were preceded by timber palisades. Palisaded enclosures are a rare monument type with fewer than 200 known examples. They are an important element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern and are important for any study of the developing use of defended settlements during the later prehistoric period. All identified surviving examples are believed to be nationally important.

The palisaded settlement on Trows Law is well preserved and retains substantial and significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of palisaded settlements in the border area of England and Scotland and will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of Early Iron Age settlement and activity in the north.


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


The monument includes the remains of a palisaded enclosure of Early Iron Age date situated in a commanding position on a knoll overlooking the Trows Burn to the west. The enclosure is roughly oval in shape and measures 40m north east to south west by 30m north west to south east within the shallow groove of a palisade trench. Within the enclosed area there are the remains of at least three circular timber houses 9m-10m in diameter. The settlement is overlain by narrow cultivation ridges which have partially obscured the interior of the 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: 25009

Legacy System: RSM


plan at 1:500, Gates, T and Ainsworth, S, Field Survey in Northumberland part 1, (1979)

End of official listing