Defended settlement 900m west of Calder


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1019933

Date first listed: 07-Aug-2001


Ordnance survey map of Defended settlement 900m west of Calder
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This copy shows the entry on 13-Dec-2018 at 00:18:41.


The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Ilderton


National Grid Reference: NU 00253 19597


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

Reasons for Designation

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites, sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops, others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate), others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD). Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national importance.

Although the defended settlement 900m west of Calder is partly overlain by medieval ridge and furrow and has been ploughed, it survives in reasonably good condition with the rampart and ditch still visible. The interior of the settlement, which is protected by material spread from the bank, will provide evidence for the nature of Iron Age settlement, including the remains of circular stone founded houses.


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


The monument includes the remains of a defended settlement of Iron Age date situated on the edge of a promontory on the west bank of the Harelaw Burn. It is overlooked by Heddon Hill to the north but has a broad aspect to the east, south and west. There are steep slopes on the north side and artificial defences have been built around the south. The settlement is visible as a curvilinear enclosure 47m east to west by 45m. The artificial defences comprise a ditch up to 6m wide and 0.2m deep with an internal bank up to 9m wide and 0.2m high. Around the outer edge of the ditch are slight traces of a counterscarp bank up to 4m wide on the west side. The entrance passes through the centre of the southern defences and measures 3m wide. Set within the bank to the west of the entrance is an oval depression 3.5m by 2.5m thought to be the remains of a hut circle. Within the enclosure the ground surface is up to 0.5m higher than that of the surrounding land. To the right of the entrance are the slight foundations of a rectangular building oriented east to west which measures 4m by 2.5m and is believed to be of a later date. Medieval ridge and furrow cultivation overlies the eastern half of the settlement. The post and wire fence which crosses the settlement is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

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: 34233

Legacy System: RSM


Museum of Antiquities, Gates, T, NU/0019/D, (1985)
Museum of Antiquities, Gates, T, NU/0019/K, (1989)
NU 01 NW 6,

End of official listing