Roman period native settlement on east slope of Mid Hill, 520m south of Staw Hill Camp


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1014933

Date first listed: 27-Aug-1996


Ordnance survey map of Roman period native settlement on east slope of Mid Hill, 520m south of Staw Hill Camp
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Kirknewton


National Grid Reference: NT 88542 29600

Reasons for Designation

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non- defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common. Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known. These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common, although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography. All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be identified as nationally important.

The scooped enclosures on the east slope of Mid Hill form a reasonably well preserved example of a Roman period native settlement. Although some damage has been caused by the modern trackway, disturbance is confined to a relatively narrow band and the greater part of the site survives intact. The site is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. As such it will contribute to the study of the wider settlement pattern during this period.


The monument includes a native settlement dating to the Roman period. It is situated on the lower reaches of the east slope of Mid Hill and is adjacent to a small stream. The monument consists of a series of four scooped enclosures running along the contour of the hill. An extensive system of medieval ridge and furrow cultivation lies to the east of the settlement, this is not included in the scheduling. A single oval enclosure lies to the north of the stream. This enclosure measures 14m by 22m internally, the north west side is scooped into the hillside to a depth of c.1.5m, the remaining sides are enclosed by a bank of earth and stone up to 6m wide and 1m high. There is a simple entrance to the south east. Within the interior is a small scooped area, 5m in diameter, which may represent a hut platform. To the south of the stream are a further three scooped sub-oval enclosures, all immediately adjacent to one another. The northernmost of these measures 17m by 19m internally and is enclosed within a bank up to 3m wide and 0.5m high. The interior is scooped into the hillside to a depth of 1.5m. Adjacent to this are the remains of another scooped enclosure with internal measurements of 14m by 15m, the outer bank of this enclosure has been damaged by later ridge and furrow ploughing but is still visible. Immediately to the south lies the fourth scooped enclosure which has internal measurements of 12m by 15m. It is enclosed within a bank up to 2.5m wide and 0.5m high with an entrance defined by a large kerbstone in the south east corner. An unmetalled farm track bisects the enclosure to the north of the stream and runs across the back edge of the interior of the other three, the outer banks of the latter three enclosures are clearly visible as ridges within the track.

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: 29309

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing