Promontory fort 330m south east of Middleton Dean
- Heritage Category:
- Scheduled Monument
- List Entry Number:
- Date first listed:
- Date of most recent amendment:
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This copy shows the entry on 14-Oct-2019 at 14:56:30.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
- Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
- National Park:
- National Grid Reference:
- NT 99783 21927
Reasons for Designation
Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally
defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more
earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it
from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by
steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings
defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches
formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected
along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an
entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively
for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone-
walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings
used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally
Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth
century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with
other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status,
probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest
that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display
as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded
examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of
the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally
The Iron Age promontory fort 330m south east of Middleton Dean survives in good condition and retains significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a number of archaeological sites on and around Dod Hill which, taken together, will contribute to the study of prehistoric settlement in this area.
The monument includes the remains of a promontory fort of Iron Age date
situated on the edge of a terrace above Southmiddleton Dean. There are steep
slopes on the north and east sides and artifical defences have been built
around the south and west. The fort is overlooked by Dod Hill to the south but
commands extensive views to the north. The interior of the fort contains
evidence of habitation in the form of hut circles as well as secondary use in
the form of sheep pens.
The fort measures 115m north west to south east by 50m south west to north
east. The artifical defences comprise a well preserved rampart and ditch. The
rampart is built of earth and stone and measures 5m wide and stands up to 2.5m
high. The external ditch measures 8m wide by 3m deep from the top of the
rampart. In addition, in places there is a slight outer bank 2m wide by 0.2m
high formed from ditch upcast material. At the north western end of the
defences there is a causewayed entrance 1.5m wide. Within the fort are the
remains of two hut circles and an internal dividing bank which forms a smaller
enclosure at the north western end. Built against and over the rampart are two
rectangular foundations which are interpreted as later sheep pens.
The adjacent prehistoric and medieval sites are the subject of separate
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