Iron Age defended settlement and cultivation terraces 600m north east of Brown's Law Cottage


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:


Ordnance survey map of Iron Age defended settlement and cultivation terraces 600m north east of Brown's Law Cottage
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Grid Reference:
NT 97642 27593

Reasons for Designation

In the northern uplands a number of small hillforts or fortified enclosures of varying shape have been identified. They are all located on hilltops or distinctive craggy knolls, generally have an internal area of less than 1ha, and are defined by boundaries consisting of two or more closely set earthworks, usually ditches with or without adjacent banks or ramparts. Ditches are often rock-cut and the associated ramparts, where they exist, are usually largely of stone construction. These defences entirely surround the interior except on sites located on promontories or rocky knolls, where cliffs may form one or more sides of the monument. The layout of the site is heavily dependent upon the topography of the location. The core area of the site, where the main living accommodation was provided, normally occupies the highest position on the hill or crag. Additional living or working areas are also frequently located between or within the surrounding earthworks and may take the form of rock-cut levelled areas which enhance lower natural terraces on the hill. They are mostly of Iron Age date and are contemporary with other more common hillfort types. Some, however, may have been reused or have been new constructions in post-Roman times. Hillforts of this type are rare, with fewer than 100 identified examples in England. In view of this rarity, their importance for hillfort studies, and for understanding the nature of social organisation within the Iron Age period, all examples with surviving archaeological potential are considered to be of national importance.

The Iron Age defended settlement and cultivation terraces near Brown's Law Cottage survive reasonably well and retain significant archaeological deposits. They are part of a wider group of archaeological sites whose remains are well preserved which survive in the northern Cheviots and will contribute to any study of settlement and land use during this period.


The monument includes an Iron Age defended settlement situated on a hilltop above the Humbleton Burn. There are steep natural slopes on the east and south sides. The settlement comprises an oval enclosure defined by two banks, with an additional bank on the south west side. The natural slopes have been used to enhance the defences, which are best preserved on the north side where the outer bank stands up to 0.5m high and the inner bank stands up to 1m high. Around the remaining sides the banks are visible as spread scarps up to 0.3m high. At the south west side the outer bank encloses an annexe and has an additional bank to provide defence. The entrance, 2.5m wide, lies in the north west side. Inside the settlement are two circular hut platforms which stand up to 0.1m high. Outside the settlement, on the north west side, is a series of cultivation terraces which overlie the outer bank. These are similar to other cultivation terraces in the north Cheviots which are considered to be of later prehistoric date.

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:
Legacy System:


Museum of Antiquities, Newcastle, Gates, T M, NT/9727/I, (1986)


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

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