Unenclosed hut circle settlement and field plots east of Rackside, 450m south west of Cowboy's Cairn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016709

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Unenclosed hut circle settlement and field plots east of Rackside, 450m south west of Cowboy's Cairn
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This copy shows the entry on 22-Feb-2019 at 18:44:27.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ilderton


National Grid Reference: NT 98014 22721, NT 98089 22607

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 prehistoric unenclosed hut circle settlement and field plots near Rackside are well preserved and, despite some damage caused by a fence line, retain significant archaeological deposits. Their importance is enhanced by their location within an area of clustered sites whose archaeological remains survive well in the northern Cheviots. They form part of a wider archaeological landscape and will provide important information for any study of the land use and settlement patterns in the Cheviots at this time.


The monument includes the remains of an unenclosed hut circle settlement and associated field plots of prehistoric date. It is located on natural terracing on the east facing hillslope below a rock outcrop known as Rackside. The monument is divided into two separate areas. The northern part of the monument includes two hut circles between 9m and 10m in diameter with enclosing walls up to 0.3m high. The most northerly hut circle has kerb stones visible around its outer edge and is associated with a slight field bank up to 0.5m high. The southern hut circle has an adjoining field plot of irregular shape defined by a sinuous bank up to 0.2m high. A possible third hut circle lies 15m to the east of the southern hut circle. The southern part of the monument includes a hut circle, 9m in diameter, with a raised interior and enclosing wall up to 0.5m high. Immediately to the west is an area of ground, measuring 10m by 14m and of smooth appearance, which has been interpreted elsewhere in the Cheviots as an area prepared for cultivation; it is defined on the southern edge by a line of large boulders. At the southern end of the monument there is a `D'- shaped enclosure with a possible double hut circle adjoining it. This appears to have been remodelled at a later date to form a loosely constructed irregular oval enclosure or pen. All post and wire fences which cross the monument are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


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

Legacy System number: 31720

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing