Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Defended settlement, 400m south west of Nesbit

A Scheduled Monument in Doddington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5938 / 55°35'37"N

Longitude: -2.0325 / 2°1'57"W

OS Eastings: 398047.54015

OS Northings: 633356.217672

OS Grid: NT980333

Mapcode National: GBR G37R.RL

Mapcode Global: WH9Z9.RNBK

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 400m south west of Nesbit

Scheduled Date: 5 October 1979

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1002918

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 623

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Doddington

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Doddington St Mary and St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the buried remains of an Iron Age multivallate defended settlement situated near the crest of a low spur overlooking the floodplain of the River Till to the south west. The sub-circular enclosure, which is visible on aerial photographs as a cropmark, is surrounded by three, and in places four, roughly concentric ditches that are interrupted by entrances on the north west and east sides. On the west side of the enclosure the third most outer ditch bulges outwards to create an annexe, with an area of 0.25ha., which is strengthened by the addition of a fourth ditch. Overall the monument covers an area of about 1ha.
The metalled surface of the track which crosses the monument is excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath it is included.

PastScape Monument No:- 3814
NMR:- NT93SE23
Northumberland HER:- 2151

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. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national importance.
Despite the fact that it has been subject to cultivation, the defended settlement south west of Nesbit retains significant archaeological deposits which will survive within below ground features such as ditches and any internal features such as pits. The monument provides insight into its construction use and abandonment and more widely into the character of settlement and subsistence during the Iron Age.

Source: Historic England

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