Ancient Monuments

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Iron age defended settlement, 500m south west of Broomycrook Knowe

A Scheduled Monument in Alnham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4157 / 55°24'56"N

Longitude: -1.963 / 1°57'46"W

OS Eastings: 402438.792832

OS Northings: 613533.256077

OS Grid: NU024135

Mapcode National: GBR G5QT.TF

Mapcode Global: WHB09.T4FK

Entry Name: Iron age defended settlement, 500m south west of Broomycrook Knowe

Scheduled Date: 6 September 1934

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1006545

English Heritage Legacy ID: ND 192

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Alnham

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Whittingham and Edlingham with Bolton Chapel

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a defended Iron Age settlement also known as Chubden Camp, situated on the lower north eastern slopes of Chubden Hill. The settlement is visible as a roughly circular enclosure measuring approximately 90m in diameter, within three roughly concentric sub-circular ramparts formed by scarping the natural slope. The inner rampart varies in height from 0.6m to 1.8m whilst the middle rampart is between 1m and 2m high and the outer one is only just discernable in places. The inner and middle ramparts are pierced by an original entrance on the east side and there is a second entrance on the south west side. Within the interior of the settlement, the slight earthworks of internal divisions are visible and there are the remains of at least three hut-circles visible as circular depressions and walling. A rectangular building platform survives as an L-shaped bank 0.2m high and 2.5m wide. The visible internal remains are considered to represent secondary occupation.

PastScape Monument No:- 5361
Northumberland HER:- 3197

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.
The Iron Age defended settlement south west of Broomycrook Knowe is well preserved and retains significant archaeological deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment and environmental deposits relating to the use of the surrounding landscape. It is a good example of its type and represents at least two phases of occupation. It forms part of a wider group of later prehistoric settlements which taken together will provide an important insight into the character and longevity of Iron Age settlement in the uplands.

Source: Historic England

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