Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead, 550m south-east of Shittleheugh

A Scheduled Monument in Otterburn, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.2454 / 55°14'43"N

Longitude: -2.2068 / 2°12'24"W

OS Eastings: 386950.780519

OS Northings: 594602.147792

OS Grid: NY869946

Mapcode National: GBR F71S.1G

Mapcode Global: WHB0Z.2FF3

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead, 550m south-east of Shittleheugh

Scheduled Date: 1 March 1968

Last Amended: 17 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1007528

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21044

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 farmstead of Romano-British date situated below the
summit of a hill on a plateau with a southerly aspect. The enclosure,
sub-rectangular in shape, measures a maximum of 80m north-south by 83m
east-west within two ramparts and a ditch; although the ramparts and ditch on
the western side have been levelled and infilled respectively, archaeological
deposits survive below ground level. The inner earthen rampart is on average
4m wide and rises some 1.2m above the bottom of the surrounding ditch which is
6m wide. The outer rampart has similar proportions to those of the inner
rampart. A break 6m wide in the enclosure at the eastern side is an original
entrance carried across the ditch on a causeway. On the southern side of the
enclosure there are traces of a second and outer ditch 7m wide; it is unclear
whether this was carried around the entire enclosure. Within the north-east
angle of enclosure there are the foundations of a roughly rectangular building
and associated paddock; this building is not considered to be contemporary
with the enclosure, but constructed at a later date. The field wall which
dissects the enclosure from east-west 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

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements
dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non-
defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone
construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also
common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures
were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common.
Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the
settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the
enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard
layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of
the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were
pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two
houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the
settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main
enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be
found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form
and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known.
These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives
throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement
forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common
throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved
earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common,
although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography.
All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be
identified as nationally important.

The farmstead south-east of Shittleheugh survives reasonably well and retains
significant archaeological deposits; it is one of a group of later prehistoric
and Romano-British settlements in the area and will contribute to any study of
the settlement pattern at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in Native Settlements of Northumberland, (1947), 167

Source: Historic England

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