Unenclosed scooped settlement on the east slope of Harehope Hill, 750m south east of High Akeld Cottages


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Unenclosed scooped settlement on the east slope of Harehope Hill, 750m south east of High Akeld Cottages
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2019. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NT 96064 28754

Reasons for Designation

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or indicated by groups of clearance cairns. Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

The unenclosed settlement on the east slope of Harehope Hill survives in reasonably good condition despite the fact that the eastern part of the site has been damaged. The site is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. It will contribute to the study of the wider settlement pattern during this period.


This monument includes a scooped settlement and associated features. It is situated on a relatively level platform approximately midway down the east slope of Harehope Hill. The hillside falls away sharply to the east and the ground also falls away locally to the north providing extensive views to north and east. The monument consists of three scooped enclosures and the remains of at least two building platforms, the settlement is not enclosed but the northern boundary is defined by a low bank. The remains of a trackway run along the northern edge of the settlement up onto the top of Harehope Hill. The settlement consists of three large scooped areas. The westernmost scoop is sub-oval, it measures 12m by 16m internally and is scooped into the hillside to a depth of 2m. It is enclosed by a stone bank 3m wide and up to 0.5m high. There are the possible remains of an entrance, 2m wide, in the south side. Within the interior are the slight remains of a level platform of a prehistoric building. Immediately to the east of this scooped area are the remains of two small platforms, 8m and 12m in diameter, levelled into the hillslope. The smaller platform has the remains of a slight bank, 1m wide and 0.1m high, on the south and east edges. Downslope from these platforms are the remains of a further two large scooped areas lying adjacent to each other on the same contour. Both scoops are bisected by a modern drystone wall. To the west of the drystone wall, the southernmost scoop measures 20m north-south by 9m east-west, it is scooped into the hillslope to a depth of 0.75m and is defined by a low bank, 2m wide and 0.3m high. The eastern edge of the scoop lies to the east of the drystone wall and is no longer visible as it is covered by the remains of ridge and furrow ploughing. The northernmost scoop, to the west of the drystone wall, measures 36m north-south by 15m east-west. It is scooped into the hillside to a depth of 1m and the back edge is defined by a low bank, 2m wide. On the south side of the enclosure exterior is a small level platform, 3m by 2m, forming a small house platform. The remains of an internal banked feature, 21m north-south, are visible within the centre of the scoop. To the east of the drystone wall, slight earthwork remains are visible for a distance of c.3m surviving beneath the ridge and furrow ploughing. The remains of a hollow trackway run past the northern edge of the westernmost scooped enclosure. The track is 2m wide and up to 1m deep at its deepest point which is just to the west of the western scoop. As the track continues up the hill slope it becomes less clearly defined and is eventually lost amongst dense vegetation. The northern edge of the settlement is defined by a low, curving bank, 4m wide and up to 0.2m high, this runs WSW from the northern edge of the northern scoop and is visible for a length of 60m. The eastern part of the site is crossed by a drystone wall and a post and wire fence, which 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.

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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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