Ancient Monuments

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Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement, cairn fields and a rectangular enclosure 1km south-west of Debdon Whitefield

A Scheduled Monument in Cartington, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.3279 / 55°19'40"N

Longitude: -1.8787 / 1°52'43"W

OS Eastings: 407793.616345

OS Northings: 603769.747447

OS Grid: NU077037

Mapcode National: GBR H6BT.2X

Mapcode Global: WHC1W.3BNW

Entry Name: Unenclosed stone hut circle settlement, cairn fields and a rectangular enclosure 1km south-west of Debdon Whitefield

Scheduled Date: 23 August 1935

Last Amended: 17 September 1993

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011633

English Heritage Legacy ID: 20902

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Cartington

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 an unenclosed stone hut circle settlement
and cairnfields of Bronze Age date, containing at least sixty cairns, situated
on Whitefield Moor around the headwaters of the Black Burn. The unenclosed
settlement is visible as ten enclosures; one discrete group consists of four
conjoined hut circles with attached annexes measuring 35m across in total.
There are also a pair of hut circles and several single examples; they are all
very well preserved and consists of a circular wall 1m to 2m high and some 5m
in diameter, surviving on average to a height of 0.5m. The interior of one of
the huts was excavated by Lord Armstrong in 1907 and fragments of deer antler,
charcoal and animal bone were found. To the south-east of the area there are
the remains of a rectangular structure with rounded corners; it has internal
measurements of 10m east to west by 3m wide and the surrounding walls survive
to a height of 0.2m high. These remains represent the foundations of a
medieval house. Behind the hut circle settlement there are the remains of
extensive cairnfields; very many stone cairns are visible extending over a
wide area of moorland between the Black Burn and the Rothbury to Alnwick road.
They focus on three main areas, one of which is also associated with slight
traces of low banks. The vast majority are field clearance cairns
representing a period of clearance for relatively large-scale agriculture;
however, several cairns immediately to the north-west of the hut circle
settlement are apparently sepulchral in nature. One of these cairns was
excavated in 1969 and shown to contain charcoal, part of a jet ring and three
flint tools.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Stone hut circles and hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of
prehistoric farmers. Most date from the Bronze Age (c.2000-700 BC). The stone-
based round-houses consist of low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor
area; the remains of the turf, thatch or heather roofs are not preserved. The
huts may occur singly or in small or large groups and may lie in the open or
be enclosed by a bank of earth or stone. Frequently traces of their associated
field systems may be found immediately around them. These may be indicated by
areas of clearance cairns and/or the remains of field walls and other
enclosures. The longevity of use of hut circle settlements and their
relationship with other monument types provides important information on the
diversity of social organisation and farming practices amongst prehistoric
communities. They are particularly representative of their period and a
substantial proportion of surviving examples are considered worthy of

The hut circles on this site are well preserved and the settlement is
surrounded by an extensive and well preserved cairnfield. Evidence relating
to the nature of Bronze Age agriculture is preserved within and beneath the
clearance cairns and important environmental evidence will also be preserved
on the old land surface beneath and in between the cairns.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Dixon, D D, Upper Coquetdale, (1903)
Newbiggin, E R, Debdon Whitefield. Mound opened on 15th Sept 1934, (1934)
Brewis, P, Dixon, D, 'Proc. Soc. Antiq. Newcastle 3 ser 7' in Proc. Soc. Antiq. Newcastle 3 ser 7, (1915)
Grant, E N M, 'Counc. Brit. Archaeol. Group 3 12 1971' in Counc. Brit. Archaeol. Group 3 12 1971, (1971)
No. 828,
No. 829,

Source: Historic England

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