Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement, 700m north of Overacres

A Scheduled Monument in Otterburn, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2387 / 55°14'19"N

Longitude: -2.1475 / 2°8'51"W

OS Eastings: 390714.816537

OS Northings: 593839.712374

OS Grid: NY907938

Mapcode National: GBR F7FV.VW

Mapcode Global: WHB0Z.ZLJB

Entry Name: Defended settlement, 700m north of Overacres

Scheduled Date: 22 February 1962

Last Amended: 4 October 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007526

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21042

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Otterburn

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Otterburn St John the Evangelist

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a multivallate defended settlement of Iron Age date
situated in an elevated position on the summit of Camp Hill commanding
extensive views in all directions. The settlement, roughly circular in shape,
measures 83m in diameter within three substantial ramparts of earth and stone
and three ditches. The inner rampart ranges from 3m to 7m wide and stands to a
height of 1m. The central rampart is 4m to 8m wide and stands to a height of
1m and the outer rampart is 4m wide and is on average 2m high. The three
ditches are between 4m and 6m wide and vary in depth from 0.1m to 1m. The
two main ditches lie between the ramparts. The third one, which is much
slighter than the other two, lies within the inner rampart and is probably
just a quarry from which material used in the construction of the adjacent
rampart was extracted. There are two entrances 3m wide in the north-east and
south-west sides of the enclosure; that in the latter side is staggered and
has been equipped with an additional stretch of defensive rampart blocking the
easiest form of access from attack. Within the enclosure there are at least
four circular depressions; these are thought to be the sites of round timber
prehistoric houses. The stone field wall which lies immediately inside the
constraint area on the south-eastern side of the monument is excluded from the
scheduling but the ground beneath it is included.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

During the later prehistoric period (7th - 5th centuries BC) a variety of
different types of defensive settlements were 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.
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

The defended settlement north of Overacres is exceptionally well preserved and
retains significant archaeological deposits. It will contribute to our
knowledge and understanding of prehistoric settlement and activity in the

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in A New List of the Native Sites of Northumberland, (1946), 169
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana' in Hill Forts and Settlements in Northumberland, (1965), 60
NY 99 SW 11,

Source: Historic England

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