Unenclosed hut circle settlement 950m south west of Linhope
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1020251
Date first listed: 10-Oct-2001
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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)
National Park: NORTHUMBERLAND
National Grid Reference: NT 95713 15510
Reasons for Designation
In a densely settled and highly developed country such as England, the
landscapes of all but the most bleak mountain summits are, to varying degrees,
the product of centuries and millennia of human development. Except in areas
today considered to be marginal, most traces of the earliest stages in this
process have been erased or modified by later development and only survive in
a fragmentary manner. The prehistoric settlement remains that survive beyond
the margins of more recent cultivation in upland areas such as the Cheviots
provide a rare opportunity to recognise the prehistoric shape of the
The Breamish Valley is one of the main valleys draining the Cheviot Massif.
Because of comprehensive field survey during the 1980s, it is also one of the
best recorded upland areas in England. The field evidence for human activity
within the valley is diverse and spans at least five millennia from the
Neolithic to the post-medieval period. Of particular importance are the well-
preserved and extensive upland prehistoric remains, including settlements,
field systems and cairnfields. On the enclosed land within the valley,
archaeological remains are more fragmentary, but they survive sufficiently
well to show that human activity extended below what is now open fell land.
Due to excellent state of survival, their archaeological integrity, and their
rarity in a national context, most recorded prehistoric and later monuments
within the Breamish Valley will be identified as nationally important.
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. The unenclosed hut circle settlement 950m south west of Linhope is well- preserved. The form and method of construction of the houses will add to our knowledge of the nature of this type of prehistoric settlement and of the social organisation of its inhabitants. The survival of intact floor levels and associated features such as hearths and pottery vessels will help inform our understanding of the nature of its occupation. The site will contain deposits suitable for radiocarbon dating which will help to establish a chronology for sites in the area. Taken together with other prehistoric settlements in the vicinity, it will add greatly to our knowledge and understanding of prehistoric settlement.
The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of an unenclosed hut
circle settlement of prehistoric date, situated on a south east facing slope
above the Rowhope Burn. The remains of further settlements and cairns in the
vicinity are the subjects of separate schedulings.
The settlement is visible as the foundations of up to four circular stone-
founded houses. The first and most prominent house is situated immediately
south of the metalled road, where it is visible as a low circular platform
measuring 8.2m east to west by 6.6m. It stands to a maximum height of 0.2m.
The platform is surrounded by a ditch 1m wide and 0.1m deep and there is an
outer bank of stone and earth, 0.4m high and 2.4m wide, which is most
prominent on the north west side. Slight traces of an outer ditch up to 1m
wide and 0.1m deep are also visible on the north west side. Some 20m south
west of this house there are the remains of a second house of similar form;
this house is visible as a central platform 8m east to west by 6.4m standing
to 0.4m high. A surrounding ditch measures 1m wide and is 0.2m deep. An outer
bank visible as a scarp 0.9m high and 1.5m wide is visible beyond the ditch. A
break in the south east side of the house is thought to be the site of an
original entrance. Attached to the south east side of this house the low
foundations of a stone built wall, 0.7m wide and 0.2m high, are visible
running eastwards for about 9m before it becomes a buried feature of uncertain
length. The visible part of this wall including its 2m margin of protection
are included in the scheduling. The third round house lies 18m east of the
first. It is visible as a level, circular platform 3m in diameter within a
surrounding bank of stone and earth 1.5m high and 0.4m wide; there is an
entrance in the south eastern side. Situated between the first and second hut
circle there are the remains of a fourth feature interpreted as a hut circle
or an annex. This feature is visible as a circular levelled area about 12m in
diameter and defined by slight scarps around its perimeter.
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: 32772
Legacy System: RSM
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