Two prehistoric hut circles and field enclosure 560m south west of Cowboy's Cairn


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1016941

Date first listed: 02-Jul-1999


Ordnance survey map of Two prehistoric hut circles and field enclosure 560m south west of Cowboy's Cairn
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Dec-2018 at 13:39:01.


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 98163 22477, NT 98208 22512, NT 98223 22427


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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.

Within the landscape of upland Northern England there are many discreet blocks of land enclosed by banks of stone and earth or walls of rubble and boulders, many of which date from the Bronze Age, although earlier and later examples also exist. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing and were sometimes sub-divided to accommodate animal shelters and hut circle settlements for farmers or herders. The size and form of enclosures may therefore vary considerably, depending on their particular function. Their variation in form, longevity and relationship to other monument classes provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices among prehistoric communities. They are highly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are worthy of protection. The two prehistoric hut circles and enclosure 560m south west of Cowboy's Cairn are well preserved and 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.


Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.


The monument includes the remains of an unenclosed hut circle settlement, comprising two hut circles, and an enclosure of prehistoric date situated on an east facing hillside. The enclosure is located on sloping ground and the hut circles on level ground below the slope. The monument is divided into three separate areas. The northern area includes a well preserved and substantial hut circle, 11m in diameter, defined by a bank 0.5m high with kerb stones visible around the outer rim and an east facing entrance. The interior is raised above that of the outer ground surface and there is a small central mound. The southern part of the monument includes the second hut circle, 9m in diameter, which is defined by a more fragmented bank best preserved on the west side where it stands up to 0.3m high. The interior of the hut circle is a raised platform. The third area of the monument includes an irregular enclosure situated on sloping ground and defined by a line of large stones and a bank 0.2m high. The enclosure is subdivided into two unequal parts by a very slight bank which runs to a small circular feature about 4m in diameter and which is interpreted as a shelter or animal pen. The larger half of the enclosure has a smooth appearance which has been interpreted elsewhere in the Cheviots as an area prepared for cultivation.

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: 31721

Legacy System: RSM

End of official listing