Romano-British hut circle and enclosing bank and ditch immediately east of High Force Quarry


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019863

Date first listed: 09-May-2001


Ordnance survey map of Romano-British hut circle and enclosing bank and ditch immediately east of High Force Quarry
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: County Durham (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Forest and Frith

National Grid Reference: NY 88003 29034


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

Reasons for Designation

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non- defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common. Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known. These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common, although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography. All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be identified as nationally important.

The Romano-British hut circle and enclosing bank and ditch immediately east of High Force Quarry is very similar in type to contemporary sites found further north in Cumbria and Northumberland. This part of the settlement survives well, despite past quarrying activities. It is one of several Roman period native settlements in Upper Teesdale and forms part of a wider prehistoric landscape in the area which includes Bronze Age settlement, cairns, and burnt mounds, and Roman period native settlement and field systems. It will retain important information on Romano-British settlement and land use in the North Pennines.


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


The monument includes a Romano-British hut circle with a surrounding semi-circular ditch and bank, at the east end of High Force Quarry, just outside the quarry fence. The hut circle is 7m in diameter, with an entrance facing south east. The walls of the hut are formed by an earth and stone bank 2m wide and 0.3m high. The hut circle is partly enclosed by a semi-circular bank and ditch about 23m in diameter. The bank is composed of earth and stone and is 2m wide and 0.2m high. The ditch is on the outside of the bank and is 2m wide and 0.3m deep. These remains are overlain by the fragmentary remains of a robbed-out modern drystone wall. The hut circle and its surrounding bank form part of a larger settlement, most of which has been destroyed by the quarrying activities in the 1930s. A pair of quernstones from the site were given to the Bowes Museum by Lord Barnard in 1937.

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: 34363

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Coggins, D, 'Upper Teesdale the archaeology of a North Pennine Valley' in Upper Teesdale The Archaeology Of A North Pennine Valley, , Vol. 150, (1986), 101

End of official listing