Defended settlement and Roman signal station 410m south of West Crindledikes
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
- Bardon Mill
- National Grid Reference:
- NY 78293 66814
Reasons for Designation
During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of
different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied
in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts
built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites,
sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended
settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops,
others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of
earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate),
others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen
ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber
fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built
round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept
in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed
yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single
family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction
and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through
to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD).
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are
important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during
this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national
Roman signal stations were rectangular towers of stone or wood situated within ditched, embanked, palisaded or walled enclosures. They were built by the Roman army for military observation and signalling by means of fire or smoke. They normally formed an element of a wider system of defence and signalling between military sites such as forts and camps and towns, generally as part of a chain of stations to cover long distances. In Northern England stations were used in particular to augment the main frontier formed by Hadrian's Wall. Signal stations were constructed and used in Britain mainly during three distinct periods. The earliest examples were built between AD 50 and AD 117 for use during the earliest military campaigns during the conquest period. Signal stations at this period took the form of a wooden tower surrounded by a ditch and bank and possibly a slight timber palisade. Signal stations survive as low earthworks, or their below ground remains may be identified on aerial photographs. Fewer than 50 examples have been identified in England. As one of a small group of Roman military monuments, which are important in representing army strategy, government policy and pattern of military control, signal stations are of importance to our understanding of the period. All Roman signal stations with surviving archaeological remains are considered to be nationally important. The defended settlement on Barcombe Hill is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a number of prehistoric monuments in the Hadrian's Wall corridor which, taken together, will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement and activity at this time. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the survival of a well preserved early Roman signal station within it.
The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date and a signal
station of Roman date, situated in a prominent location on the northern edge
of Barcombe Hill. The defended settlement is visible as a roughly oval
enclosure, 95m north east to south west by 42m north west to south east,
within an inner and outer bank and a ditch. The stone and earth inner bank is
up to 2m wide and is best preserved on the south and eastern sides.
The surrounding ditch is on average 6m wide and 1m deep. Outside of the ditch
there is a second bank on average 3m wide and standing to a maximum of 0.6m
high where it is best preserved on the south side. The northern side of the
enclosure has been disturbed by a series of quarry holes thought to be Roman
in date and associated with the construction of Hadrian's Wall.
Within the north west corner of the enclosure there are the well preserved
remains of a turf-built Roman signal station, visible as a roughly rectangular
enclosure with rounded corners, 17m east to west by 13m north to south and
standing to a maximum height of 0.8m. It is surrounded by a broad ditch on
average 3m wide. Within the enclosure is a raised central platform, and the
remains of at least one causeway giving access across the ditch is visible.
The signal station was the subject of limited excavation in 1939 and again in
the early 1950s; both excavations uncovered a limestone flagged base to the
turf rampart measuring 4.2m wide which was cut into the rampart of the earlier
defended settlement. The later excavation also recorded the discovery of a
small oven with a stoke hole to the north east, a large amount of charcoal and
Roman pottery of first century date. It is thought that the signal station
pre-dated the construction of Hadrian's Wall and was only in use for a short
time during the later first century AD.
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:
- Legacy System:
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