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Defended settlement, 618m north west of Ewesley

A Scheduled Monument in Nunnykirk, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.2283 / 55°13'42"N

Longitude: -1.9099 / 1°54'35"W

OS Eastings: 405831.033067

OS Northings: 592683.109285

OS Grid: NZ058926

Mapcode National: GBR H73Z.9L

Mapcode Global: WHB13.MVR8

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 618m north west of Ewesley

Scheduled Date: 13 November 1963

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006487

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 388

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Nunnykirk

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Netherwitton

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument, which falls into two separate areas of protection, either side of a railway cutting, includes the remains of a settlement of prehistoric date, situated on an east to west oriented ridge. The settlement is visible as a sub-circular enclosure with a diameter of about 135m within a single bank. There is an internal ditch, which is considered to represent an element of an earlier phase and there are slight traces of a counterscarp bank on the south side. The ditch is well-defined on the north side where it is on average 5m wide and between 0.5m to 1m deep. There is a causewayed entrance through the west side. Later ridge and furrow cultivation overlies the enclosure.

SOURCES
PastScape Monument No:- 21415
NMR:- NZ09SE6
Northumberland HER:- 10817

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 later cultivation, the defended settlement, 618m north west of Ewesley survives well and retains archaeological and environmental deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment. The monument is unusual in having an interior ditch, which might imply that more than one phase is represented. It will provide insights into the diversity and development of Iron Age settlement and the importance of stock management in northern Britain.

Source: Historic England

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