Hillfort on Warden Hill, 1km north-west of High Warden
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1011421
Date first listed: 26-Nov-1932
Date of most recent amendment: 04-Feb-1994
The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1011421 .pdf
The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.
This copy shows the entry on 22-Feb-2019 at 18:49:38.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference: NY 90423 67863
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 potential are believed to be of
Despite some damage from surface quarrying, the hillfort on Warden Hill survives reasonably well. Its strategic position commanding the confluence of the North and South Tyne suggests that it was a stronghold of some importance and, together with the other prehistoric sites in the region, it will increase our knowledge of later prehistoric settlement and activity along the river valley.
The monument includes a hillfort of Iron Age date situated on the summit of
Warden Hill. The site has extensive views in all directions and is located
near the junction of the rivers North and South Tyne. The enclosure is roughly
circular in shape and measures 85m east to west by 63m north to south within
three ramparts and a ditch. The ramparts have become spread and give the
impression of being terraced into the hillside; the two outer ramparts, which
are 0.4m and 1.5m high, are only 1.5m apart and were originally separated by
a ditch which has become obscured by the spreading ramparts. The more
substantial inner rampart measures 6m across and has a maximum height of 2m.
Where the matrix of the rampart is clear of turf, it is composed of large
facing stones infilled with smaller stones and earth. An original, slightly
inturned, entrance can clearly be seen in the western side of the fort. There
are no visible traces of circular houses within the hillfort but some will
survive beneath ground level; others have been damaged and obscured by surface
quarrying. Examination of aerial photographs has revealed the possible
existence of a small Romano-British settlement overlying the north-western
corner of the hillfort. This lies in an area of surface quarrying and its
outline is difficult to determine with certainty. The stone field wall which
crosses the southern edge of the protected area and the re-erected trig point
which lies on the southern perimeter of the protected area are excluded from
the scheduling but the ground beneath them is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 20926
Legacy System: RSM
AP A/130038/1, McCord, N, Aerial Photography: Experiences of an Historian, Between And Beyond The Walls,
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