Late Iron Age and Roman period dispersed enclosed settlement 230m south east of Quartons Gardens

Overview

Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument

List Entry Number: 1020788

Date first listed: 24-Jul-2002

Map

Ordnance survey map of Late Iron Age and Roman period dispersed enclosed settlement 230m south east of Quartons Gardens
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Location

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

County: North Yorkshire

District: Scarborough (District Authority)

Parish: Seamer

National Grid Reference: TA 02696 83568

Summary

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

Reasons for Designation

Late Iron Age and Roman period dispersed enclosed settlements are discrete areas of occupation incorporating a small cluster or even a single main dwelling surrounded by structures and activity areas associated primarily with crop processing, animal husbandry and craft production. The main focus of occupation lay within an enclosure defined by a circuit of ditches, banks and/or walls. Though size varies the majority fall between 0.2ha and 1.6ha in extent with the smaller examples particularly prevalent in the north and upland or marginal land use areas. This form of settlement had a long tradition in England and its origins can be traced back to the Middle Bronze Age. They were a particularly common aspect of the rural landscape and represent foci for small scale agricultural and craft production for social groups based in dispersed individual farming communities. They are a defining characteristic of rural settlement in most areas throughout the second half of the first millennium BC and Roman periods. The longevity of individual sites varies enormously from a single generation to 400 years or more. The interiors of enclosed settlements were usually characterised by minor internal fences, gullies or walls defining separate activity areas within the settlement. These spaces became increasingly specialised for a wide range of domestic, agricultural and craft activities. Enclosed settlements were primarily small-scale agricultural farms. Both pastoral and arable farming was carried out with mixed farming being most common. Around dispersed enclosed settlements there would be the track ways and boundaries of associated field systems, industrial areas and quarries, and occasionally the cemeteries of individual communities. They were not a static settlement type and significant trends can be discerned between the first century BC and the second and third centuries AD. Architecturally there was a change from the almost ubiquitous round house during the Iron Age to rectilinear buildings and, in areas where stone was locally or regionally available it usually replaces timber as a material for building and boundary definition. Typically, the transition to rectilinear architecture occurred from the first century BC in the south east and largely from the later first and second centuries AD elsewhere. Pre-conquest forms generally display few overt signs of diversity in architectural sophistication and embellishment beyond size and constructional monumentality. The transformation to rectilinear buildings is often accompanied by little immediate major change in overall sophistication but many sites in the south eastern half of England begin to display marked change during the course of the second to fourth centuries AD. As agriculture became more settled so earth-fast and substantial constructions such as corn driers, barns, wells, kilns and furnaces are adopted over much of the country. On the majority of studied examples there is little evidence of great personal wealth or centres of particular ritual or burial significance. These settlements generally represented the homes of small family or kinship groups of moderate standing though some developed into relatively prosperous small `villas' during the later Roman period. Dispersed enclosed settlements are recognised principally from aerial photography of crop marks, earthwork survey or increasingly geoprospection, and large scale field survey that includes surface artefact collection. Excavation is rare (currently estimated to be less than 1% of the likely total) and all sites which have been positively identified and which have significant surviving remains are considered important. The Late Iron Age and Roman remains at Crossgates have been shown by excavation and geophysical survey to retain important evidence on the form and function of the settlement. Particularly significant is the evidence of the early transition from a timber building to substantial stone, rectilinear construction; a phenomenon which only dates from the later first and second centuries AD in the north of England and which is rarely seen as clearly as here. As a whole the monument offers scope for the study of the transition from the Late Iron Age through to the Roman period and will provide important information about the processes of change.

History

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

Details

The monument includes buried remains of an Iron Age and Roman period rural settlement. It is located at the southern edge of the village of Crossgates and underlies an area of open space, part of a road and a small portion of a domestic garden within a 21st century housing estate. The area of protection includes what has been identified as the most important part of the Roman period settlement. Some of the remains within the protected area were exposed through excavation. These were revealed in plan, but have not been investigated further and still survive below the ground. Other features lying within the area of protection have not been exposed by excavation but have been identified by geophysical survey. Wider remains of the Iron Age and Roman period settlement beyond the protected area have been recorded through geophysical surveys, field walking and partial excavation. The monument lies at the eastern end of the vale of Pickering in an area rich in similar archaeological remains. These are generally located along the flanks of the Vale. Most of these have been identified through aerial photography but some have been excavated. The identified remains include an Iron Age chariot burial, Roman enclosures, square barrows, field systems, linear and curvilinear features and rectangular enclosures. Within the protected area excavations exposed stone footings of a rectangular building dating to the first century AD. The building measured 19m long east to west and 9m wide north to south. Internally there was a separate room approximately 3.5 sq m against the western end of the building and there were also indications of further subdivisions. The stone footings were 0.75m wide and composed of squared and faced limestone blocks. At the eastern end, much of the dressed stonework had been removed, however the line of the wall was identifiable from areas of cobbles and limestone rubble. Here it was found that the wall was built on a foundation layer of heavy cobbles covered with clay to create a level surface to support the wall. There was also evidence that the building was built in more than one constructional phase. The wall footings were not bonded and there were no remains of roof tiles and little of the building debris normally associated with the site of former stone built structures. This indicates that the building was likely to have had low, stone built, dwarf walls supporting a timber superstructure with a thatch roof. The dating evidence indicates that the building went out of use around AD 180. The building lay in the northern part of a square enclosure with an internal dimension of 43m defined by a ditch up to 3m wide. Only the western half of the enclosure lies within the protected area. Excavations carried out on the eastern side of the enclosure, to the east of the protected area, showed that the enclosure ditch was constructed earlier than the stone based building and dates to the Late Iron Age. There was an entrance approximately 1m wide in the eastern side of the enclosure which was widened around the same time as the construction of the stone based building and a stone and timber entrance structure was erected. In the central part of the enclosure, within the protected area, post holes were found which are interpreted as the remains of a rectangular timber building, which has been associated with the earlier phase of the enclosure. The dating evidence and results of excavation indicate a sequence of activity beginning with a Late Iron Age timber building set within a square enclosure which was replaced by a more substantial stone based building and the associated construction of a stone and timber gatehouse over the original entrance. Within the protected area are further remains of Iron Age activity. These include a semi-circular gully dated to the Early Iron Age which lies within the enclosure but is thought to pre-date it and a series of linear features thought to be parts of a field system known to extend into the surrounding area. The wider complex of Iron Age and Roman period remains outside the protected area included a complex of interlinked and superimposed ditched enclosures and linear features some of which were excavated. Features revealed by this work included remains of a rectangular ditched enclosure with three compartments located approximately 50m to the south west of the area of protection. Within the eastern part of this enclosure were four Iron Age round houses, groups of post holes and a probable malting kiln. This enclosure was also re-modelled in the late first century AD. Field systems defined by ditches and associated with Iron Age and Roman period settlement were also revealed throughout the area. Also located in the area were remains of a pottery kiln and many fragments of quern stones used for grinding cereals. The results of the excavations, geophysical survey and field walking at Crossgates indicate that there was an Iron Age settlement which evolved and was re-modelled around the end of the first century AD. This modification included the erection of a stone based building and gatehouse in one of the earlier enclosures and the extension of the agricultural function of the settlement possibly undertaken by elements of a Romanised native population. There are similarities with other contemporary sites in the region where Roman period settlements were established at existing Iron Age centres, although many of these developed into the complex of domestic and agricultural buildings known as the villa. It is suggested that the Roman period settlement at Crossgates was amalgamated with other nearby similar settlements and subsumed into a larger villa estate as part of the reorganisation of landholdings known to have taken place in the region in the third century AD. The surface of Crab Lane 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.

Legacy

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

Legacy System number: 34830

Legacy System: RSM

Sources

Books and journals
Challis, A J, Harding, D W, 'Later Prehistory from Trent to Tyne' in Later Prehistory From The Trent To The Tyne, , Vol. BAR 20, (1975)
Other
Stephonson, M, Crossgates Farm Phases II-III Seamer N Yorks Theoretical Report, (2000)

End of official listing