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Trundale Gill prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, regular aggregate field system, enclosures, hut circle, round cairn, and three shielings

List Entry Summary

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 Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Trundale Gill prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, regular aggregate field system, enclosures, hut circle, round cairn, and three shielings

List entry Number: 1018828

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Cumbria

District: Eden

District Type: District Authority

Parish: Murton

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 29-Oct-1999

Date of most recent amendment: Not applicable to this List entry.

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 27838

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

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

Reasons for Designation

Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. Most date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone- based round-houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area; the remains of the turf, thatch or heather roofs are not preserved. The huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or be enclosed by a bank of earth or stone. Frequently traces of their associated field systems may be found immediately around them. These may be indicated by areas of clearance cairns and/or the remains of field walls and other enclosures. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection.

Regular aggregate field systems date from the Bronze Age to the end of the fifth century AD and comprise a discrete block of fields orientated in roughly the same direction, with the field boundaries laid out along two axes set out and right angles to each other. The settlements or farmsteads from which people utilised the fields are usually situated close to or within the field system. The majority of regular aggregate field systems are thought to have been used mainly for crop production although rotation may also have been practiced in a mixed farming economy. They represent a coherent economic unit often utilised for long periods and can thus provide important information about developments in agricultural practices and broader patterns of social, cultural and environmental change over several centuries. Within the upland landscape of Cumbria there are many discrete plots of land, or enclosures, enclosed by stone walls or banks of stone and earth, most of which date to the Bronze Age. They were constructed as stock pens or as protected areas for crop growing. Their size and form may therefore vary depending upon their function. Their variation in form, longevity and relation to other monument classes provide important information on the diversity of social organisations and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities. Round cairns are prehistoric funerary monuments dating to the Bronze Age. They were constructed as stone mounds covering single or multiple burials. These burials may be placed within the mound in stone-lined compartments called cists. In some cases the cairn was surrounded by a ditch. Their considerable variation in form and longevity as a monument type provide important information on the diversity of beliefs and social organisation amongst early prehistoric communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of protection. Shielings are small seasonally occupied huts which were built to provide shelter for herdsmen who tended animals grazing summer pasture on upland or marshland. These huts reflect a system called transhumance, whereby stock was moved in spring from lowland pasture around the permanently occupied farms to communal upland grazing during the warmer summer months. The construction of herdsman's huts in a form distinctive from the normal dwelling houses of farms only appears from the early medieval period onwards (about AD 450), and their construction appears to cease at the end of the 16th century. Shielings have a simple sub-rectangular or ovoid plan normally defined by drystone walling. Most have a single undivided interior but two-roomed examples are known. They are reasonably common in the uplands but frequently represent the only evidence for medieval settlement and farming practice here. Those examples which survive well and help illustrate medieval land use in an area are considered to be nationally important. Trundale Gill prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, its associated regular aggregate field system, enclosures and round cairn, survive well and represent a complex and diverse group of prehistoric monument classes. Together these monuments represent evidence of long term management and exploitation of the landscape and indicate the importance of this area in prehistoric times and the diversity of monument classes to be found here. Additionally the three medieval shielings survive well and will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of settlement patterns and the economy during the medieval period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the earthworks and buried remains of Trundale Gill prehistoric stone hut circle settlement, an associated regular aggregate field system, two enclosures, one of which has an attached stone hut circle, a round cairn, and three medieval shielings. It is located on a wide gently-sloping hillside terrace on the north east slopes of Murton Pike above a steep declivity to Trundale Gill. The prehistoric stone hut circle settlement includes a sub-oval stone-walled enclosure measuring approximately 75m by 65m internally within which are the remains of four hut circles and a small enclosure. Most of these features are situated against the internal wall on the enclosure's northern side; these comprise, from west to east, faint traces of a stone hut circle 3.5m in diameter, a stone hut circle mutilated by conversion into a shooting butt, a `D'-shaped small enclosure measuring 7m by 5m, and a stone hut circle 4m in diameter. Nearby, towards the centre of the settlement, there is a circular hut platform 8m in diameter terraced into the hillslope. A hollow way approximately 30m long leads down the hillslope to an entrance on the settlement's eastern side, while an entrance on the western side gives access from an associated regular aggregate field system. Immediately to the north west of the settlement enclosure there is an irregularly-shaped area defined by a ribbon of natural scree on one side, the steep slope down to Trundale Gill on another side, and a curvilinear stone wall linking the settlement with a curvilinear enclosure and associated hut circle on the third side. This area has been largely cleared of stone, which has been thrown over the edge of the slope, and is considered to be a prehistoric field. This field system extends to the south west where there are a further four sub-rectangular fields, the largest measuring approximately 50m by 40m. The curvilinear prehistoric enclosure and associated hut circle is situated close to the edge of the slope above Trundale Gill. The enclosure has a substantial stone wall up to 4m wide and 1m high; internally there is a considerable amount of surface stone, suggesting that at some stage it formed a dumping ground for stone clearance from the field immediately to its south east. Outside the south west corner of the enclosure, and attached to the enclosure's wall, is a stone hut circle 8m in diameter. A second curvilinear enclosure is located south of the prehistoric settlement enclosure. It consists of a semi-circular stone wall approximately 60m long with an entrance on the east side and traces of a small rectangular structure some 4m by 2m built against the internal wall. On a local high point between this enclosure and the field system, and overlooking the entire monument, there is a round cairn 5m in diameter by 0.3m high surrounded by a shallow ditch. That this area was used again in medieval times is attested by the presence of three shielings, two of which have been built against the prehistoric stone hut circle settlement wall, while the third lies close to the hut circle attached to the prehistoric enclosure. This latter shieling has two rooms and measures 11m by 4.5m. The two shielings within the earlier hut circle settlement are situated close to the settlement's entrances; the one adjacent to the west entrance has two rooms and measures 8.5m by 5m while the one close to the east entrance has a single room and measures approximately 9m by 5m.

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.

Selected Sources

Other
Cambridge University, Murton, Trundale Gill,
Cambridge University, Murton, Trundale Gill,
Cambridge University, Murton, Trundale Gill,
SMR No. 13248, Cumbria County Council, Murton, Trundale Gill, (1989)
SMR No. 13248, Cumbria County Council, Murton, Trundale Gill, (1989)

National Grid Reference: NY 73885 23753

Map

Map
© Crown Copyright and database right 2017. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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This copy shows the entry on 19-Nov-2017 at 08:12:22.

End of official listing