Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement, 380m south west of Sandy House

A Scheduled Monument in Ewart, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5835 / 55°35'0"N

Longitude: -2.1099 / 2°6'35"W

OS Eastings: 393166.358929

OS Northings: 632212.644304

OS Grid: NT931322

Mapcode National: GBR F3QW.09

Mapcode Global: WH9Z8.KXGH

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 380m south west of Sandy House

Scheduled Date: 12 June 1973

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002914

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 533

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Ewart

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of an Iron Age defended settlement situated on a gentle east facing slope. The settlement is visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs as a sub-oval enclosure approximately 90m by 110m across and covering an area of 0.8ha.. The enclosure is surrounded by three, and in places four, ditches. The ditches are inverted either side of the single entrance, which is located on the south west side. Aerial photographs also reveal a feature line within the innermost ditch, which is interpreted as the remains of a palisade or a bedding trench for a timber revetment of the inner rampart. Within the interior there are the remains of at least three circular houses.

PastScape Monument No:- 3922
NMR:- NT93SW30
Northumberland HER:- 2027

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the earlier Iron Age (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.
Despite the fact that it has undergone cultivation, the defended settlement, 380m south west of Sandy House retains significant archaeological deposits. Analysis of aerial photographs has indicated the presence of a number of substantial ditches and internal features, which will inform us of the detail of its construction, use and abandonment. The importance of the monument is enhanced by the fact that it forms part of a wider group of monuments ranging from the Neolithic to the Anglo-Saxon period, which taken together will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of the development of settlement, subsistence and society in the region.

Source: Historic England

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