Unenclosed hut circle settlement 655m south west of White Gate


Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020253

Date first listed: 10-Oct-2001


Ordnance survey map of Unenclosed hut circle settlement 655m south west of White Gate
© Crown Copyright and database right 2018. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2018. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1020253 .pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 17-Nov-2018 at 10:35:52.


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

District: Northumberland (Unitary Authority)

Parish: Alnham


National Grid Reference: NT 97377 12133


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

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 landscape. 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. Despite having been partially excavated the unenclosed settlement 655m south west of White Gate is reasonably well-preserved. The excavation in 1963-4 was limited in scale, and sufficient of the floor area and wall structure remain to provide important information about the manner of its construction and the nature and length of its occupation. The settlement is of particular importance as it is thought to be associated with the High Knowes palisaded settlements which contain houses of similar form. Taken together with these and further remains of prehistoric settlements and cairns in the vicinity, it will improve our understanding of the nature of settlement at this time.


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


The monument includes the upstanding and buried remains of an unenclosed hut circle settlement consisting of a single hut circle of Bronze Age date situated on gentle south east facing slopes at the foot of High Knowes. It is located on the edge of a bog where it commands extensive views to the south and south east. The hut circle is visible as a slight circular enclosure with a diameter of 7m, within a surrounding ditch 2.5m wide and a maximum of 0.4m deep. A slight gap through the south eastern side is interpreted as an entrance. This hut circle is thought to be contemporary with the two palisaded settlements situated further upslope, some 450m to the north west. The hut circle was partially excavated in 1963-4 when two small pits were discovered within the interior containing burnt wood and bone. Several worked flints were recovered from the excavation in addition to a fragment of prehistoric pottery and two pieces of pottery of later prehistoric or Romano-British date.

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: 32774

Legacy System: RSM


Books and journals
Jobey, G, Tait, J, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Excavations On Palisaded Settlements And Cairnfields At Alnham, , Vol. ser 4 44, (1966)
NT91SE 175,

End of official listing