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Defended settlement, 400m south west of South Farm, Houghton

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Defended settlement, 400m south west of South Farm, Houghton

List entry Number: 1014076

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Heddon-on-the-Wall

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 10-Mar-1932

Date of most recent amendment: 11-Mar-1996

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 25187

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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 at South Farm, Houghton, is reasonably well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. There are few Iron Age enclosures in the Tyne valley and this is a valuable example of its type. Taken with the other examples it will add greatly to any study of the wider settlement pattern at this time.

History

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

Details

The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date on gently sloping ground set a short distance back from a rocky ridge which commands extensive views across the valley of the River Tyne. The enclosure, oval in shape, measures 104m east to west by 74m north to south within a ditch varying between 7m to 8m wide and up to 1.3m deep. The ditch is infilled with silt for much of its circuit and is most prominent on the northern side. Within the ditch there are traces of an inner rampart of stone and earth which is best preserved at the western end where it is a maximum of 6m wide and 0.3m high. Outside of the ditch fragmentary remains of a counter-scarp bank are visible on all sides but the north, where it has been levelled by the construction of the road and is best preserved at the western end. There are opposing entrances through the east and the west sides of the enclosure, carried across the ditch on causeways 3.6m wide and 4.8m wide respectively.

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.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 64
Other
NZ 16 NW 30,

National Grid Reference: NZ 12242 66567

Map

Map
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© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2017. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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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 - 1014076 .pdf

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This copy shows the entry on 24-Nov-2017 at 10:07:47.

End of official listing