Ancient Monuments

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Palisaded settlement on Bleakmoor Hill, 700m north west of Biddlestone Townfoot farm

A Scheduled Monument in Biddlestone, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3739 / 55°22'25"N

Longitude: -2.0646 / 2°3'52"W

OS Eastings: 396001.47068

OS Northings: 608879.09082

OS Grid: NT960088

Mapcode National: GBR G609.TF

Mapcode Global: WHB0G.8634

Entry Name: Palisaded settlement on Bleakmoor Hill, 700m north west of Biddlestone Townfoot farm

Scheduled Date: 29 August 1984

Last Amended: 14 April 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008562

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25046

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Biddlestone

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Upper Coquetdale

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a palisaded settlement of Early Iron Age
date situated on the summit of Bleakmore Hill. The settlement comprises the
remains of at least four timber houses visible as shallow circular grooves.
The houses range in size from 7m to 11.5m in diameter. They are enclosed by a
very well defined sub-circular palisade trench enclosing an area of 60m
east-west by 50m north-south. The trench is 1.5m wide and 0.4m deep.

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

A palisaded hilltop enclosure is a small defended site of domestic function
dating to the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age (c.550-440 BC). Their
distribution is largely restricted to north-eastern England, the Borders and
southern Scotland. They are generally located on spurs, promontories or
hilltops covering areas of less then 0.4ha. The boundaries of these sites are
marked by single or double rock-cut trenches which originally formed the
settings for substantial palisades. Remains of circular buildings are found
within the palisaded areas, along with evidence for fenced stock enclosures.
Palisaded sites are the earliest type of defended settlements recorded in the
area and are thought to be a product of increasingly unsettled social
conditions in the later prehistoric period. They imply an extensive use of
timber, confirmation that large areas were heavily wooded at this time.
Although the palisades at individual sites may have undergone several phases
of replacement or refurbishment it is thought that the tradition of building
this type of site spanned only around 150 years. After this the use of earthen
banks and ditches to form the defensive perimeter became more common.
Excavation has demonstrated that at several sites the earthen defences were
preceded by timber palisades.
Palisaded enclosures are a rare monument type with fewer than 200 known
examples. They are an important element of the later prehistoric settlement
pattern and are important for any study of the developing use of defended
settlements during the later prehistoric period. All identified surviving
examples are believed to be nationally important.

The palisaded settlement on Bleakmore Hill is very well preserved and retains
substantial and significant archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of
palisaded settlements in the Border area of England and Scotland and will
contribute to our knowledge and understanding of Early Iron Age settlement and
activity in the north.

Source: Historic England


Gates, T & Ainsworth, S, Field Survey in Northumberland pt 1, (1979)
Gates, T & Ainsworth, S, Field Survey in Northumberland pt 1, (1979)
RAF 1948 Scot 319 4189-90, (1948)

Source: Historic England

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