Romano-British settlement, field system and cord rig cultivation 390m north east of Yatesfield Hill
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: Romano-British settlement, field system and cord rig cultivation 390m north east of Yatesfield Hill
List entry Number: 1015532
The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District Type: Unitary Authority
National Park: NORTHUMBERLAND
Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.
Date first scheduled: 07-Apr-1997
Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.
Legacy System Information
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System: RSM
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
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.
A regular field system is a group of regularly defined fields of prehistoric or Roman date, laid out in a block or blocks which lie approximately at right angles to each other, usually with a settlement as a focal point. Fields are generally square or rectangular and the blocks give an ordered, if irregular shape to the field system as a whole. They are characteristically extensive monument type; the number of individual fields varies from two to approximately 50, but this is, at least in part, a reflection of bias in the archaeological record rather than the true extent of of such land divisions during their period of use, as continued land use has often obliterated traces of the full extent of such field systems. The fields were the primary unit of production in a mixed farming economy, incorporating pastoral, arable and horticultural elements. As rare monument types which provide an insight into land division and agricultural practice during their period of use all well preserved examples will normally be identified as nationally important.
Cord rig cultivation is a series of narrow ridges and furrows no more than 1.4m across between the centres of furrows. It is frequently arranged in fields with formal boundaries but it also occurs in smaller irregular unenclosed plots varying between 30 to 60 square metres. Cord rig can be fragmentary or more extensive, often extending over considerable distances, and it is often found in association with a range of prehistoric settlement forms and with prehistoric field systems. It generally survives as a series of slight earthworks and it is frequently first discovered on aerial photographs but it has also been identified by excavation as a series of ard marks beneath several parts of Hadrian's Wall. The evidence of excavation and the study of associated monuments demonstrates that cord rig cultivation spans the period from the Bronze Age to the Roman period. Cord rig cultivation is known throughout the Border areas of England and Scotland but is a marked feature of the upland margins. The discovery of areas of cord rig cultivation is of considerable importance for the analysis of prehistoric settlement and agriculture; all well preserved examples will normally merit statutory protection.
The settlement, field system and cord rig cultivation on Yatesfield Hill are exceptionally well preserved and retain significant archaeological deposits. It represents one of the most extensive and best preserved cord rig field systems in the county, which taken with the adjacent settlement will add considerably to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and farming at this time.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes the remains of a settlement of Romano-British date and
the extensive well preserved remains of an associated field system including
cord rig cultivation, situated on the gently sloping Yatesfield Hill. The
settlement, which is levelled into the foot of the slope, consists of seven
sub-circular enclosures ranging in size from 18m across to 32m across and up
to ten round houses. The backs of all of the large enclosures are scooped into
a steep slope and some have visible traces of an enclosing wall of stone and
earth around the other sides. Five of the seven enclosures have south east
facing entrances on average 3m-4m wide. All but one of the enclosures have at
least one circular hut attached and opening into it, while the most easterly
of the group has a series of four hut circles attached to its northern and
western sides. The hut circles range in size from 3m to 11m in diameter and
while many are clearly dwelling houses some may have served a variety of other
functions such as store houses. The enclosure without an associated hut circle
is interpreted as a stock enclosure. These remains conform to a type of
Romano-British settlement known elsewhere in the area where one or more
circular houses have entrances which give direct access into a large walled
enclosure or forecourt. To the south east and north east of the settlement
there are the fragmentary remains of a denuded field system. This is visible
as several small stone clearance cairns and stretches of low banks forming
walls around small plots or fields which have been truncated by a shelter
Situated to the north and west of the settlement there are the well preserved remains of an associated field system and an area of prehistoric cultivation remains known as cord rig. The field system is visible as a series of ten rectilinear fields or enclosures of varying shapes and sizes defined by low stone and earth banks. These fields are in association with a series of narrow trackways defined by double banks. The cord rig is visible as a series of narrow earthen rigs and furrows arranged in plots which appear to respect the boundaries of the fields suggesting that they are contemporary with them. Field inspection has revealed that the rigs are on average 1.4m wide betwen the centres of furrows, the latter showing clearly as darker lines of vegetation.
The surfaces of the road known as Yatesfield Road which crosses the monument from north to south and the surfaces of the track and turning circle situated to the east of Yatesfield Road, 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.
Books and journals
Gates, T, Air Photography and the Archaeology of Otterburn Training Area, (1995)
Charlton, D B, Day, J C, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 5 ser 6' in Excavation and Field Survey in Upper Redesdale, (1978), 61-86
Gates, T, 'Rural Settlement in the Roman North CBA GP 3' in Farming on the Frontier: R-B fields in Northumberland, (1982), 40
Gates T, TMG 14739/50-60; TMG 14741/7-23, (1995)
National Grid Reference: NY 85796 97779
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 - 1015532 .pdf
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This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2017 at 11:20:49.
End of official listing