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Unenclosed hut circle settlement and part of a field system, 880m north of Heddon Hill

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: Unenclosed hut circle settlement and part of a field system, 880m north of Heddon Hill

List entry Number: 1019931

Location

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

County:

District: Northumberland

District Type: Unitary Authority

Parish: Ilderton

National Park: NORTHUMBERLAND

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 08-Jun-1972

Date of most recent amendment: 07-Aug-2001

Legacy System Information

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

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 34231

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

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or indicated by groups of clearance cairns. Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

A regular aggregate field system is a group of regularly defined fields of prehistoric or Roman date, laid out in a block or blocks which lie approximately at right angles to each other, usually with a settlement as a focal point. Fields are generally square or rectangular and the blocks give an ordered, if irregular, shape to the field system as a whole. They are characteristically extensive monuments; the number of individual fields varies from two to 50 but this is, at least in part, a reflection of bias in the archaeological record rather than the true extent of such land divisions during their period of use. The fields were the primary unit of production in a mixed farming economy incorporating pastoral, arable and horticultural elements. As a rare monument type which provide an insight into land division and agricultural practice during their period of use, all well-preserved examples will normally be identified as nationally important. The unenclosed hut circle settlement and part of a field system, 880m north of Heddon Hill are well-preserved and will provide evidence for the nature of prehistoric settlement and agriculture in the area. The interior of the hut platforms, which are protected by a layer of peaty soil, will provide evidence of domestic activity at this time and can be expected to preserve organic and environmental evidence for their construction and use. The settlement and field system are part of a wider group of well-preserved archaeological sites on Heddon Hill which are the subject of separate schedulings and will contribute to any study of settlement and land use during this period.

History

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

Details

The monument includes the remains of a settlement and part of a field system of prehistoric date situated on the north east slopes of Heddon Hill with wide views to the north and east. Additional archaeological sites to the north west and south are the subject of separate schedulings. The settlement comprises five circular house platforms each cut into the natural slope of the hill on the west side and formed by a raised earthwork platform on the east side. The westernmost house platform is visible as a circular enclosure 14.5m in diameter overall enclosed by a bank which stands to a maximum height of 0.1m with an entrance on the east side. The interior of the enclosure is scooped into the natural slope of the hill to a depth of 1.6m, and there is a raised platform 0.4m high on the opposite side facing away from the slope. On the north side of the enclosure is an annexe visible as a sub-rectangular plot, 29m north to south and open to the east, with a spread bank 0.3m high on the west side and a lynchet along the north side. To the east, down the slope of the hill, lie four further house platforms all visible as levelled platforms cut into the natural slope of the hill. Of the two northernmost house platforms, the western one measures 9m in diameter and is scooped to a depth of 1m with a platform 0.3m high on the downhill side. The eastern one is oriented east to west and measures 11m by 9m with a scoop 1m deep and a shallow platform on the downhill side above a natural scarp. Between these two house platforms lies a small enclosure of roughly triangular shape, 7m across within a bank 1.5m wide and 0.1m high. There is an entrance through the east side which is marked by two large boulders. Within the enclosure is a circular scoop 3m across and 0.4m deep. Of the two southernmost house platforms, the western one measures 9m in diameter within a bank 2m wide around the north and south sides. The interior is scooped to a depth of 1.5m. About 18m to the east lies the fifth house platform, oriented north to south, which is visible as an oval enclosure 11m by 7m. The interior is scooped to a maximum depth of 1.3m with a sharply defined platform 1m high on the downslope side with boulders visible in its outer edge. Within the enclosure is an `L- shaped' feature 0.4m wide and 0.1m high which is thought to be a hearth. Outside the enclosure, above the scooped edge, is a mound 3.5m by 1m which stands 0.2m high and is thought to be spoil from the interior. About 11m south west of the westernmost hut platform lies a square platform 5m across and 0.5m high partially terraced into the hillside. Three large boulders lie against the downhill edge, and two large boulders are positioned on the top of the platform. The exact function of the platform is uncertain although it is thought to be related to the settlement and is therefore included in the scheduling. A field system located on the higher level ground to the south and west is associated with the settlement. This is visible as low banks of earth and stone 2m wide and a maximum of 0.1m high, and lynchets 0.2m high. The banks are a maximum 100m long. At least four roughly rectangular fields have been created by other shorter banks which meet these long linear banks at right angles. A number of smaller features are also visible within the fields, these include a D-shaped enclosure, oriented east to west, which measures 15m by 16m within a bank 1m wide. Although visible as slight earthworks on the ground the field system is most clearly visible on aerial photographs. The field system and associated features are included in the scheduling.

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
Museum of Antiquities, Gates, T, NU/0021/A-B, (1985)
NU 02 SW 15,

National Grid Reference: NU 00574 21154

Map

Map
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This copy shows the entry on 21-Nov-2017 at 11:20:51.

End of official listing