Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement, cairn fields and a rectangular enclosure 1km south-west of Debdon Whitefield


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1011633

Date first listed: 23-Aug-1935

Date of most recent amendment: 17-Sep-1993


Ordnance survey map of Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement, cairn fields and a rectangular enclosure 1km south-west of Debdon Whitefield
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Cartington

National Grid Reference: NU 07759 03728


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

Reasons for Designation

Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. Most date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone- based round-houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of the turf, thatch or heather roofs are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth or stone. Frequently traces of their associated field systems may be found immediately around them. These may be indicated by areas of clearance cairns and/or the remains of field walls and other enclosures. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

The hut circles on this site are well preserved and the settlement is surrounded by an extensive and well preserved cairnfield. Evidence relating to the nature of Bronze Age agriculture is preserved within and beneath the clearance cairns and important environmental evidence will also be preserved on the old land surface beneath and in between the cairns.


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


The monument includes the remains of an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement and cairnfields of Bronze Age date, containing at least sixty cairns, situated on Whitefield Moor around the headwaters of the Black Burn. The unenclosed settlement is visible as ten enclosures; one discrete group consists of four conjoined hut circles with attached annexes measuring 35m across in total. There are also a pair of hut circles and several single examples; they are all very well preserved and consists of a circular wall 1m to 2m high and some 5m in diameter, surviving on average to a height of 0.5m. The interior of one of the huts was excavated by Lord Armstrong in 1907 and fragments of deer antler, charcoal and animal bone were found. To the south-east of the area there are the remains of a rectangular structure with rounded corners; it has internal measurements of 10m east to west by 3m wide and the surrounding walls survive to a height of 0.2m high. These remains represent the foundations of a medieval house. Behind the hut circle settlement there are the remains of extensive cairnfields; very many stone cairns are visible extending over a wide area of moorland between the Black Burn and the Rothbury to Alnwick road. They focus on three main areas, one of which is also associated with slight traces of low banks. The vast majority are field clearance cairns representing a period of clearance for relatively large-scale agriculture; however, several cairns immediately to the north-west of the hut circle settlement are apparently sepulchral in nature. One of these cairns was excavated in 1969 and shown to contain charcoal, part of a jet ring and three flint tools.

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: 20902

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Dixon, D D, Upper Coquetdale, (1903)
Newbiggin, E R, Debdon Whitefield. Mound opened on 15th Sept 1934, (1934)
Brewis, P, Dixon, D, 'Proc. Soc. Antiq. Newcastle 3 ser 7' in Proc. Soc. Antiq. Newcastle 3 ser 7, (1915)
Grant, E N M, 'Counc. Brit. Archaeol. Group 3 12 1971' in Counc. Brit. Archaeol. Group 3 12 1971, (1971)
No. 828,
No. 829,

End of official listing