Late Iron Age and Roman settlement on Roxby Low Moor, 225m south of Moor House Farm


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016573

Date first listed: 06-Mar-1975

Date of most recent amendment: 13-Dec-2011

Location Description: Roxby Low Moor, c.225m south of Moor House Farm and c.1km south of Roxby village.


Ordnance survey map of Late Iron Age and Roman settlement on Roxby Low Moor, 225m south of Moor House Farm
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Location Description: Roxby Low Moor, c.225m south of Moor House Farm and c.1km south of Roxby village.

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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Roxby


National Grid Reference: NZ7612014112


The monument includes four discrete groups of Late Iron Age hut circles, three of which are associated with enclosures, and one Romano-British hut circle, occupied into the post-Roman period. The hut circles survive as earthworks and buried remains.

Reasons for Designation

The Late Iron Age and Roman settlement on Roxby Low Moor is of national importance for the following principal reasons:

Survival: Both buried archaeological deposits and earthworks survive well. Potential: Both excavated and unexplored areas contain the potential to provide further evidence to increase understanding of the extent, continuity and nature of settlement here, and of Iron Age communities in general. Group Value: The monument has group value with other important scheduled prehistoric sites on Roxby Low Moor and Newton Mulgrave Moor. Archaeological Documentation: The monument is well documented by aerial photography, excavation and survey.


The hut circles and enclosures lie close to the centre of Roxby parish, just beyond the limits of the township's medieval ridge and furrow, and were discovered through fieldwork, excavation and aerial photography. Apart from an apparent episode of light C19 ploughing the latest evidence of cultivation in this area was of prehistoric cross ploughing found in the course of excavations undertaken between 1973 and 1981. In 1973 the enclosure to the south of the monument was partially excavated between ploughing and reseeding for grassland improvement. The four hut circles to the north-west side of the monument were fully excavated in the following years and the enclosure and two hut circles to the east of the road, visible as earthworks, were identified and recorded at this time. All these features and a third enclosure are also visible on aerial photographs taken between 1976 and 2001.

The settlement seems to have been established in the late Iron Age, its occupants engaged in and sustained by a mixed farming economy. Although the northernmost hut appears to have been occupied throughout the Roman period, the excavators suggest that this may have been used only seasonally, indicating a shift to seasonal grazing of the upland, a pattern that seems to have continued into the middle ages and beyond. The limits of medieval cultivation are visible in the ridge and furrow to the north of the monument, while the cart tracks that run across it from north to south illustrate the use of moorland as essential commons for the villagers, providing grazing and fuel for domestic hearths. The later enclosure roads signify the formalisation of the landscape and ownership.


The enclosures and hut circles occupy an area of rough grazing and improved grassland at the north edge of Roxby Moor. The monument is bisected by the Roxby road from north to south, and a straight track, running west from this road, divides the south enclosure and huts from those to the north. An old stream bed also runs from immediately to the north of the east enclosure south-west across the monument.

The partially excavated south sub-rectangular enclosure measures about 65m from west to east and 60m from north to south with an opening to the north-east corner. Within the enclosure, the most prominent hut circle had an entrance to the west, a roof supported by internal posts, wattle and daub walls and a paved floor; it produced pottery of Late Iron Age date. The ditches of a second house were identified both on the ground and from the air, and two others may be indicated by poughsoil pottery scatters towards the north and east of the enclosure. To the north, beyond this enclosure and the track that runs from west to east is a second sub-rectangular enclosure containing at least one hut circle. Both enclosure and hut circle are visible on aerial photographs, but are less distinct than the enclosure to the south. Further to the north, beyond the area of improved grassland and north of the old stream bed, is a line of three closely spaced hut circles aligned south-north, with a further hut circle slightly to the east of this alignment and about 175m to the north. Full excavation of the individual huts revealed that of the group of three, the largest is that to the north, with an internal diameter of about 12m. All three had surrounding drainage ditches; two had stake-built walls, while the wall of the third was constructed of stone. All were occupied in the Late Iron Age, and produced evidence for a mixed farming economy as well as metalworking. The fourth hut to the north was occupied later than the previous three. This was also fully excavated, and produced evidence of occupation throughout the Roman and into the post-Roman period. The hut was built of stone, its external ditch cutting through marks of prehistoric cross ploughing. Because of the more limited range of domestic finds within this hut the excavators suggest that it may not have been permanently occupied but that its use may have been linked to seasonal grazing. The outer ditches of all four huts are still visible on aerial photographs.

To the east of the road and immediately to the south of the old stream bed are a cluster of hut circles associated with a possible enclosure visible as two banks up to 3m wide and 0.3m high set at right angles to each other. On aerial photographs these form a triangle with the road, the apex of which is about 60m from the road. Aerial photographs suggest that the south-east bank ends about 40m to the east of the road, but there appears to be another short length close to the road with a ditch or gully to its north side, leaving a gap between the two lengths of about 20m. Immediately to the south of this shorter length aerial photographs suggest there are two hut circles, defined by their penanular ditches, although that to the west is more ephemeral. The better defined circle is linked by a ditch or gully to a hut circle about 20m to the north, within the enclosure. This is the central hut of a line of three, close to and parallel with the road. A further hut circle is indicated to the east within the enclosure. About 75m to the south of the south-east bank is a further possible hut circle, identified from aerial photographs.

To the west of the road a corduroy pattern of irregular medieval trackways is scored into the ground surface, possibly obscuring the west banks of the east enclosure described in the previous paragraph. These continue to the south, and to the east of the first enclosure, with a further stream of parallel tracks to the west of the excavated hut circles and south enclosure, as well as a single straight track or droveway running north-east to south-west across the west side of the monument.

The scheduling is intended to provide protection for the features discovered through fieldwork and excavation and visible on aerial photographs, and to preserve the relationships between each enclosure or group of huts and any potential surviving evidence within these areas. All fence and gate posts and modern track surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, but the ground around and beneath them is included.

Extent of Scheduling The monument is divided into two areas of protection separated by the road that runs north to Roxby village. The first is to the west of the road and includes the partly excavated enclosure and huts to the south of the west-east track, the enclosure to the north of that, and the three Late Iron Age and single Roman period hut circles to the north, and medieval trackways to the east. The east side of the protected area is therefore defined by the west line of the road. About 110m to the south of the track the line turns west to follow a field boundary for about 175m before turning north-north-east towards the track, where it turns to follow the track westwards for about 50m before again turning north-north-east, travelling to join the west corner of the field to the north. Here it turns north-east, following the previous line for about 290m before turning towards the road, with which it forms a right-angle.

The second area of protection lies immediately to the east of the Roxby road, forming a rectangle 70m wide and 200m long. This area includes the hut circles and enclosure banks identified from fieldwork and aerial photography, as well as the isolated hut circle to the south. The north side of the rectangle is about 25m north of the old stream bed.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System number: 32482

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Heslop, D, 'CBA Research Report 65' in The Excavation of an Iron Age Settlement at Thorpe Thewles, Cleveland, 1980-1982 , (1987)
Inman, R, Brown, D, Goddard, R, Spratt, D, 'Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society' in Roxby Iron Age Settlement and the Iron Age in North East Yorks, (1985)
ANY 127/3; ANY 127/10; ANY 127/11; ANY 127/7; ANY127/8 , April 1984,
NZ760139 (Aug 1976); NZ76141/1; NZ76141/2 ,

End of official listing