Ancient Monuments

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Palisaded settlement on Trows Law

A Scheduled Monument in Alwinton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4152 / 55°24'54"N

Longitude: -2.2287 / 2°13'43"W

OS Eastings: 385615.591947

OS Northings: 613500.305033

OS Grid: NT856135

Mapcode National: GBR D5WT.8M

Mapcode Global: WHB05.Q4WY

Entry Name: Palisaded settlement on Trows Law

Scheduled Date: 14 November 1984

Last Amended: 25 August 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1008842

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25009

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Alwinton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland


The monument includes the remains of a palisaded enclosure of Early Iron Age
date situated in a commanding position on a knoll overlooking the Trows Burn
to the west. The enclosure is roughly oval in shape and measures 40m
north east to south west by 30m north west to south east within the shallow
groove of a palisade trench. Within the enclosed area there are the remains of
at least three circular timber houses 9m-10m in diameter. The settlement is
overlain by narrow cultivation ridges which have partially obscured the
interior of the monument.

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 Trows Law is 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


plan at 1:500, Gates, T and Ainsworth, S, Field Survey in Northumberland part 1, (1979)

Source: Historic England

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