Ancient Monuments

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Kyloe Hills promontory fort

A Scheduled Monument in Kyloe, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.6435 / 55°38'36"N

Longitude: -1.9193 / 1°55'9"W

OS Eastings: 405177.928237

OS Northings: 638886.322412

OS Grid: NU051388

Mapcode National: GBR H315.8S

Mapcode Global: WH9Z5.HD8Z

Entry Name: Kyloe Hills promontory fort

Scheduled Date: 16 January 1968

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006479

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 438

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kyloe

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Lowick and Kyloe St John the Baptist

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of an Iron Age promontory fort abutting a steep cliff to the south. The promontory fort is visible as a semi-circular enclosure measuring about 109m east to west and 63m north to south. It is defended by a steep natural cliff to the south and to the north by two concentric semi-circular stone and earth ramparts spaced 25m to 30m apart. The inner rampart has an approximate height of 0.9m to 2.1m and the outer rampart stands to a height of roughly 0.6m. The ramparts are breached by entrances on the north west and south east sides. Within the interior of the enclosure there is at least one hut circle visible as a circular scooped feature bounded by closely set orthostats.

PastScape Monument No:- 6071
NMR:- NU03NE13
Northumberland HER:- 3743

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone- walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status, probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally important.
Kyloe Hills promontory fort is well-preserved and contains significant archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment, and environmental deposits relating to the use of the surrounding landscape. With its dramatic landscape setting, this promontory fort is a good example of its type, which taken together with the fact that it is a rare monument type nationally, will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of Iron Age settlement and society.

Source: Historic England

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