Defended settlement, 700m south east of Glen Aln


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014063

Date first listed: 01-Nov-1967

Date of most recent amendment: 18-Jun-1996


Ordnance survey map of Defended settlement, 700m south east of Glen Aln
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Edlingham

National Grid Reference: NU 13493 11865


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

Reasons for Designation

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD). Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national importance.

The defended settlement near Glen Aln is reasonably well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It will add greatly to any study of the wider prehistoric settlement pattern at this time.


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


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date situated on a gentle north facing slope below higher ground to the south. The enclosure, oval in shape, measures a maximum of 78m north west to south east by 62m north east to south west within two ramparts of earth and stone separated by a ditch. The inner rampart, where best preserved at the southern and north eastern sides, is a maximum of 5m wide and 0.5m high, elsewhere it survives as a scarp 0.3m high. The surrounding ditch is on average 8m wide and survives to a maximum depth of 1.2m at the southern end. The outer rampart survives as the face of a scarp beneath the modern field walls on the north and eastern sides and as a low bank 4m wide on the southern side. Outside the outer rampart at the south side there is a second ditch on average 8m wide and 1m deep. On all other sides this ditch has become infilled but it survives as a buried feature. A small bronze axe discovered at the monument during the 1880s is now at the Black Gate Museum, Newcastle. All stone field walls and the stone building at the south end of the monument are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath these features 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: 25195

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
MacLaughlan, H, Memoir to Survey of Eastern Branch of the Watling Street, (1864), 56
Cowan, J D, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 10' in Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 10, (1947), 204
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 64

End of official listing