Multivallate hillfort, 550m north of Callaly Castle


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011094

Date first listed: 22-Mar-1949

Date of most recent amendment: 25-May-1994


Ordnance survey map of Multivallate hillfort, 550m north of Callaly Castle
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Callaly

National Grid Reference: NU 05233 10443


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

Reasons for Designation

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.

The hillfort north of Callaly Castle survives reasonably well and is unusual in occupying such a low-lying location. It will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the range and nature of later prehistoric settlement in the area.


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


The monument includes an enclosure of Iron Age date, situated on a near level site adjacent to the Callaly Burn; the ground falls away to the burn on the south side. The enclosure has an oval central platform measuring 60m by 40m surrounded by scarped banks 1.2m high and 5m wide. A gap in the east is an original entrance 10m wide. There are also slight traces of an inner bank on the east. Concentric to the platform and at a distance of 25m to the south, there is an outer work. This is formed by a ditch 10m wide and 2m deep. In front of the ditch there is a counter-scarp bank 5m wide and 0.1m high, which merges with the natural slopes of the ground. Outside of the ditch there is an external bank, 5m wide and 0.5m high.

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: 20991

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Maclaughlan, H, Memoir S E B W S, (1864), 54
NU 01 SE 13,

End of official listing