Ancient Monuments

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Multivallate hillfort, 550m north of Callaly Castle

A Scheduled Monument in Callaly, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3879 / 55°23'16"N

Longitude: -1.919 / 1°55'8"W

OS Eastings: 405230.200551

OS Northings: 610440.837583

OS Grid: NU052104

Mapcode National: GBR H614.BD

Mapcode Global: WHB0B.HTFX

Entry Name: Multivallate hillfort, 550m north of Callaly Castle

Scheduled Date: 22 March 1949

Last Amended: 25 May 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011094

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20991

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Callaly

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Whittingham and Edlingham with Bolton Chapel

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes an enclosure of Iron Age date, situated on a near level
site adjacent to the Callaly Burn; the ground falls away to the burn on the
south side. The enclosure has an oval central platform measuring 60m by 40m
surrounded by scarped banks 1.2m high and 5m wide. A gap in the east is an
original entrance 10m wide. There are also slight traces of an inner bank on
the east. Concentric to the platform and at a distance of 25m to the south,
there is an outer work. This is formed by a ditch 10m wide and 2m deep. In
front of the ditch there is a counter-scarp bank 5m wide and 0.1m high, which
merges with the natural slopes of the ground. Outside of the ditch there is an
external bank, 5m wide and 0.5m high.

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

Small multivallate hillforts are defined as fortified enclosures of varying
shape, generally between 1 and 5ha in size and located on hilltops. They are
defined by boundaries consisting of two or more lines of closely set
earthworks spaced at intervals of up to 15m. These entirely surround the
interior except on sites located on promontories, where cliffs may form one or
more sides of the monument. They date to the Iron Age period, most having been
constructed and occupied between the sixth century BC and the mid-first
century AD. Small multivallate hillforts are generally regarded as settlements
of high status, occupied on a permanent basis. Recent interpretations suggest
that the construction of multiple earthworks may have had as much to do with
display as with defence. Earthworks may consist of a rampart alone or of a
rampart and ditch which, on many sites, are associated with counterscarp banks
and internal quarry scoops. Access to the interior is generally provided by
one or two entrances, which either appear as simple gaps in the earthwork or
inturned passages, sometimes with guardrooms. The interior generally consists
of settlement evidence including round houses, four and six post structures
interpreted as raised granaries, roads, pits, gullies, hearths and a variety
of scattered post and stake holes. Evidence from outside numerous examples of
small multivallate hillforts suggests that extra-mural settlement was of a
similar nature. Small multivallate hillforts are rare with around 100 examples
recorded nationally. Most are located in the Welsh Marches and the south-west
with a concentration of small monuments in the north-east. In view of the
rarity of small multivallate hillforts and their importance in understanding
the nature of settlement and social organisation within the Iron Age period,
all examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

The hillfort north of Callaly Castle survives reasonably well and is unusual
in occupying such a low-lying location. It will contribute to our knowledge
and understanding of the range and nature of later prehistoric settlement in
the area.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Maclaughlan, H, Memoir S E B W S, (1864), 54
NU 01 SE 13,

Source: Historic England

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