Romano-British settlement and trackway at Ewanrigg


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1013509

Date first listed: 12-Mar-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 31-Aug-1995


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British settlement and trackway at Ewanrigg
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Feb-2019 at 05:10:04.


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

County: Cumbria

District: Allerdale (District Authority)

Parish: Maryport

National Grid Reference: NY 03538 35216

Reasons for Designation

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non- defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common. Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known. These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common, although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography. All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be identified as nationally important.

Romano-British trackways are unmetalled routeways, of varying length, maintained as a means of access or communication by prolonged use. They appear as either broad depressions crossing large tracts of land and following the crests of escarpments, or as short straight alignments between parallel ditches or lynchets. They survive in the form of a series of low earthworks, parallel crop/soil marks, hollow ways, modern footpaths and hedgerows. Trackways provide important information on the way in which the wider landscape was used. The Romano-British settlement and trackway at Ewanrigg survive reasonably well despite the absence of any upstanding earthworks. Limited excavation located fourth century AD pottery and evidence for the defensive arrangements at this site, and further evidence of this nature will exist. The monument is one of a number of similar sites identified by aerial photography in the Solway Plain area in recent years and it will contribute to any further study of Romano- British settlement patterns in the area.


The monument includes a Romano-British settlement and trackway located on the summit of a ridge of sand and gravel known as Ewanrigg. The site is visible as crop marks on aerial photographs which highlight features such as infilled ditches. The aerial photographs show a subcircular enclosure measuring approximately 80m by 70m which is situated within a larger oval enclosure measuring approximately 120m by 85m. There are entrances on the east and west sides of the enclosures and from the former the aerial photographs show the infilled side ditches of a trackway running in a south eastern direction for c.110m. To the north of the enclosures the aerial photographs show a linear feature interpreted as a field boundary. Limited excavations undertaken during the 1950s and 1980s found that the inner enclosure was defended by a substantial ditch measuring 4.3m wide by 1.6m deep. On the inside of the ditch were traces of a stone bank. The larger outer enclosure was defended by a ditch measuring 3m wide by 1.2m deep. Pottery found during these excavations indicated that the settlement was occupied during the fourth century AD. All modern field boundaries 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. 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: 27667

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Bewley, R H, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Excavations On Two Crop-Mark Sites In The Solway Plain 1986-8, , Vol. XCII, (1992), 23-47
Bewley, R H, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Excavation of a Bronze Age Cemetery at Ewanrigg, Maryport, , Vol. 58, (1992), 325-54
Blake, B, 'Trans Cumb and West Antiq and Arch Soc. New Ser.' in Excavation Of Native (Iron Age) Sites In Cumberland 1956-8, , Vol. LIX, (1960), 1-14
AP , Manchester University,
AP Nos CCC2019M, 29, 31, 32, Cumbria County Council,
AP Nos RB 108, 15 & 16, Bewley, RH,

End of official listing