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Iron Age defended settlement and later Romano-British settlement on Gallow Law, 600m north of Alwinton Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Alwinton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3579 / 55°21'28"N

Longitude: -2.1274 / 2°7'38"W

OS Eastings: 392020.131846

OS Northings: 607104.659558

OS Grid: NT920071

Mapcode National: GBR F6LH.65

Mapcode Global: WHB0F.9L6F

Entry Name: Iron Age defended settlement and later Romano-British settlement on Gallow Law, 600m north of Alwinton Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 March 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008271

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25012

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Alwinton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a defended settlement of Iron Age date occupying the
summit of Gallow Law (also known as Castle Hills). It takes advantage of the
natural defence afforded by steep slopes on all sides. The oval enclosure
measures 140m east-west by 60m north-south within two stone ramparts which
merge together in places to form a single broad bank on the southern and
northern sides; the ramparts vary in size from 3m-6m wide and from 0.3m-2m
high. A well preserved entrance, placed centrally through the eastern side of
the enclosure gives access to the interior and there are traces of a second
entrance through the west side. At the western end of the settlement an
additional length of rampart, 5m wide and standing to a height of 1.5m, runs
from the north west corner in a westerly direction for 70m until it reaches
the steep slopes at the west end of the hill; this has the effect of isolating
a low plateau outside the western end of the fort which may have served as an
annex. Outside the fort, built into the lower parts of the northern slopes,
there are the remains of a later Romano-British settlement which includes the
remains of six circular stone houses; the houses are strung out in a line and
measure on average 8m in diameter.

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 mid-prehistoric period (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

The defended settlement on Gallow Law is reasonably well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is
enhanced by the survival of similar and other forms of later prehistoric
settlement in the vicinity; it will contribute to any study of the wider
settlement pattern at this time. The later Romano-British settlement also
survives well and demonstrates the manner in which earlier sites were
subsequently reused at this time.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiw Ncle 4 ser 11' in Proc Soc Antiw Ncle 4 ser 11, (1950), 165
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 43' in Additional Rectilinear Settlements in Northumberland, (1963), 63
NT 90 NW 16,
NT 90 NW 31,

Source: Historic England

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