Roman period native farmstead and associated scooped enclosures and trackways on east slope of Harehope Hill, 925m south east of High Akeld Cottages


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Ordnance survey map of Roman period native farmstead and associated scooped enclosures and trackways on east slope of Harehope Hill, 925m 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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This copy shows the entry on 26-May-2019 at 04:08:13.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park:
National Grid Reference:
NT 96023 28563

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 farmstead, associated enclosures and trackway on the east slope of Harehope Hill forms a well preserved example of a Roman period native settlement and associated features. All of the enclosures are clearly defined and internal evidence of occupation is visible in two of them. The trackway forms an important component of the settlement and may provide important information on the relationship between this and other contemporary settlements and land use in the area. 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 native farmstead, associated enclosures and trackways dating to the Roman period. It is situated on a level shoulder of land on the east slope of Harehope Hill, c.100m to the north east of the steep gully of Monday Cleugh. The main enclosure comprises a sub-oval area, 42m by 24m, enclosed within a stone bank. The bank is 2m wide and up to 1m high with massive boulder kerbstones visible on both interior and exterior faces. A simple entrance, marked by large boulders, is situated approximately mid-way along the eastern side. The interior of the enclosure is divided into two compartments by a bank of large stone boulders; this bank appears to be secondary, as it overlies the edge of the outer enclosure bank. The northern compartment is scooped into the back of the hillslope to a depth of c.2m. The stone foundations of a sub-rectangular building or small enclosure are visible in the south west corner of the compartment. The southern compartment contains the circular stone foundations of a prehistoric building, 7m in diameter, situated on a raised earth platform 10m in diameter and 1m high. Outside the main enclosure, and immediately to the north, is a second enclosure. This measures 14m by 23m and is scooped into the back of the hillslope to a depth of 2.5m. The remains of an external bank, 2m wide and up to 0.2m high, survives on the east side and there are slight traces of an entrance on this side. The sub-circular stone foundations of a prehistoric building, 5m by 6m, are visible immediately north of the entrance. A third enclosure lies c.44m to the east of the main enclosure. This measures 10m by 13m internally and the back of the enclosure is scooped into the hillside to a depth of c.1m. It is enclosed within a bank of earth and stone, up to 2m wide and 0.3m high. A trackway runs immediately to the east of the main enclosure and continues for some distance to south and north. The section of track immediately outside the enclosure survives as a terraced track, 9m wide, with a stone revetment c.1m high on the downslope side. To the north of the enclosure the trackway continues as a hollow way, 4m wide and up to 1.5m deep, terraced into the hillside. The slope to the west of the track is revetted with large boulders, the eastern side is defined by a bank 2m wide and up to 0.4m high. The track continues northwards from the main enclosure for a length of c.123m until it reaches the stone wall of the modern field boundary, beyond this the land has been agriculturally improved and the line of the track is no longer visible. To the south of the main enclosure, the trackway is visible for a length of c.100m. The section of track immediately south of the enclosure is 9m wide and is defined by two parallel lines of upright boulders. Beyond this the track widens slightly to c.10m, where it is defined on the uphill side by a low stone bank of large boulders and on the downhill side by large boulders and a stone revetment. The track follows the contour of the hill for c.100m, beyond which it is obscured by the fallen scree of Monday Cleugh. A small square enclosure, 16m by 16m, defined by a low boulder bank up to 1m wide, lies immediately adjacent to the western edge of the trackway, immediately to the north east of the scooped enclosure.

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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