Defended settlement on Dunstan Hill 400m north of Doxford Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014486

Date first listed: 01-Jul-1996


Ordnance survey map of Defended settlement on Dunstan Hill 400m north of Doxford Farm
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Newton-by-the-Sea

National Grid Reference: NU 18294 23737


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 on Dunstan Hill is reasonably well preserved despite overlying ridge and furrow and is likely to retain significant archaeological deposits. It will contribute to the study of the wider 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 the summit of a glacial mound and overlooked by higher ground to the west. It has been formed by scarping the natural slopes of the mound and adding a slight inner rampart. The roughly oval shaped enclosure measures internally 90m north east to south west by 51m north west to south east within an earth rampart up to 7.1m wide which, although slight for most of the perimeter, stands to a maximum internal height of 1.5m on the north east side while external scarping of the natural slope gives it a maximum height of 6m. On the north east side a ditch, 8m wide and up to 2m deep, isolates the enclosure from the remainder of the hill. There are two possible entrances on the east and south, 8m and 13m wide respectively. There is extensive ridge and furrow around and within the enclosure which has obscured any surface remains of internal occupation. The fence around the plantation in the centre of the enclosure is excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath 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: 24612

Legacy System: RSM


Lax, A, An Examination of the Iron Age Enclosure at Dunstan Hill, N'land, 1991, undergraduate dissertation

End of official listing