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Romano-British farmstead, 300m north of Buteland

A Scheduled Monument in Birtley, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.1312 / 55°7'52"N

Longitude: -2.1959 / 2°11'45"W

OS Eastings: 387606.934226

OS Northings: 581884.002105

OS Grid: NY876818

Mapcode National: GBR F933.DF

Mapcode Global: WHB1K.79L6

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead, 300m north of Buteland

Scheduled Date: 20 February 1970

Last Amended: 21 November 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1009675

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25115

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Birtley

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Birtley St Giles

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a farmstead of Romano-British date
situated on a level plateau above the left bank of the River North Tyne with
extensive views to the north, north east and west. The farmstead, irregularly
shaped, measures 80m east-west by 50m north-south. It is enclosed on the
south, east and west sides by a broad ditch ranging from 6m to 10m wide and is
a maximum of 1.2m deep. Within the ditch there are traces of an inner bank
ranging from 0.2m to 0.5m high and on average 3m wide; a counterscarp bank
outside the ditch is of similar dimensions. On the north and north east sides
of the enclosure, the ditch has been infilled by later rig and furrow
cultivation leaving only an earthen bank on average 5m wide and 0.8m high
bounding the enclosure on these sides. The difference in the nature of the
enclosing features may suggest that more than one phase is represented at this
monument, which may have originally consisted of an oval ditched enclosure
with an inner and outer bank. The north eastern stretch of bank has a slight
external ditch 0.2m deep. There is an entrance into the enclosure in the
centre of the south wall carried across the ditch on a causeway. Two breaks in
the northern rampart may also be original entrances. Within the enclosure the
remains of at least two stone-founded circular houses are visible as ill-
defined stony spreads in the southen part of the enclosure. Additionally,
there are two internal dividing banks 0.2m high, each associated with one of
the circular houses.

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 at Buteland is well preserved and retains significant
archaeological deposits. It is one of a group of similar 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
MacLaughlan, H, Additional Notes on Roman Roads in Northumberland, (1867), 73
Hogg, A H A, 'Proc Soc Antiq Ncle 4 ser 11' in A New List of the Native Sites of Northumberland, (1946), 170
Jobey, G, 'Archaeologia Aeliana 4 ser 38' in Rectlinear Settlements of the Roman Period in Northumberland, (1960)
NY 88 SE 08,

Source: Historic England

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