Craster defended settlement


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Craster defended settlement
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NU 25544 19546

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.

This monument in Craster is in good condition and is substantially intact. It is located on an area of coastland which has other defended sites of various periods and will contribute towards our understanding of settlement in this area from the Iron Age onwards.


The monument includes a defended settlement, typical of sites dating to the Iron Age. It is located on top of Craster Heugh where it was sited to take advantage of the natural defences of the cliff top. The settlement is surrounded by three ramparts and a ditch on the east side, but only one slight bank exists on the west side where the Heugh provides a natural defence. On the south side only one rampart survives. The ramparts are built of stone and are now covered in grass. The site measures a total of 70m east-west and 100m north-south. The entrance into the settlement is located on the south east side. The inner rampart is the best preserved and large stones are visible within the structure. It is 10.8m wide, including the ditch and 1.84m high. The second rampart is 5.8m wide and 0.87m high. No ditch is visible. The outer rampart is less well preserved having been ploughed on the south east side. It is 0.35m high and 10.8m wide. An additional bank has been added to the defences on the north east side. This sits between the second and third ramparts. It measures 6m wide and 0.6m high. Although no longer visible above ground, the remains of buildings originally located in the settlement will be preserved beneath the present ground surface. A telegraph pole, a dry stone wall and a series of fence posts are located on the site. These features are excluded from the scheduling, although 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:
Legacy System:


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 Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

End of official listing

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