Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Unenclosed hut circle settlement, 180m north east of Sandyway Heads

A Scheduled Monument in Matfen, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.0697 / 55°4'10"N

Longitude: -1.9323 / 1°55'56"W

OS Eastings: 404420.8431

OS Northings: 575029.2742

OS Grid: NZ044750

Mapcode National: GBR G9YT.GG

Mapcode Global: WHB1W.9T3V

Entry Name: Unenclosed hut circle settlement, 180m north east of Sandyway Heads

Scheduled Date: 29 April 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014069

English Heritage Legacy ID: 25180

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Matfen

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Matfen Holy Trinity

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of an unenclosed hut circle settlement of
prehistoric date situated on the eastern end of a crag above a steep drop to
the north. It is divided into two areas. There are three hut circles, the two
most southerly are 8m in diameter within enclosing stone walls 1m wide and
stand to a maximum height of 0.3m. There is a clear entrance through the wall
in the south eastern side of the most westerly hut circle. The third circular
house is situated 40m to the north west; it is less well defined but is 7m in
diameter and is enclosed by the footings of a low stone wall.

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

Unenclosed hut circle settlements were the dwelling places of prehistoric
farmers. The hut circles take a variety of forms. Some are stone based and are
visible as low walls or banks enclosing a circular floor area. Others were
timber constructions and only the shallow groove in which the timber uprights
used in the wall construction stood can now be identified; this may survive as
a slight earthwork feature or may be visible on aerial photographs. Some can
only be identified by the artificial earthwork platforms created as level
stances for the houses. The number of houses in a settlement varies between
one and twelve. In areas where they were constructed on hillslopes the
platforms on which the houses stood are commonly arrayed in tiers along the
contour of the slope. Several settlements have been shown to be associated
with organised field plots, the fields being defined by low stony banks or
indicated by groups of clearance cairns.
Many unenclosed settlements have been shown to date to the Bronze Age but it
is also clear that they were still being constructed and used in the Early
Iron Age. They provide an important contrast to the various types of enclosed
and defended settlements which were also being constructed and used around the
same time. Their longevity of use and their relationship with other monument
types provides important information on the diversity of social organisation
and farming practices amongst prehistoric communities.

The unenclosed settlement near Sandyway Heads is well preserved and retains
significant archaeological deposits. The importance of the monument is
enhanced by the survival of other types of prehistoric monuments in the
immediate vicinity which taken together will add greatly to our understanding
of Bronze Age settlement and activity.

Source: Historic England


NZ 07 NW 05,

Source: Historic England

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