Ancient Monuments

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Glead's Cleugh Iron Age promontory fort

A Scheduled Monument in Akeld, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5552 / 55°33'18"N

Longitude: -2.0823 / 2°4'56"W

OS Eastings: 394903.720523

OS Northings: 629064.51917

OS Grid: NT949290

Mapcode National: GBR F4W6.ZF

Mapcode Global: WH9ZG.ZMLM

Entry Name: Glead's Cleugh Iron Age promontory fort

Scheduled Date: 13 June 1973

Last Amended: 27 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014930

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29308

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Akeld

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a promontory fort situated on a natural
spur of Akeld Hill above Glead's Cleugh. There are steep slopes on all sides
except the north where a small valley isolates the promontory and artificial
defences have been constructed. The fort is overlooked by Akeld Hill and White
Law to the north and west but commands extensive views to the east towards the
coastal plain. The interior of the fort contains evidence of habitation in the
form of scooped areas and levelled hut platforms.
The artificial defences comprise three very well preserved earth and stone
ramparts with sharp profiles, they are separated by broad ditches. The outer
rampart, 74m long by 5m wide and up to 2m high, has kerb stones visible on
both inner and outer faces with areas of tumble evident in places. There is an
outer ditch, 2.5m wide by 0.4m deep, outside the rampart with a slight upcast
bank spread 3m wide. The middle rampart, 67m long by up to 3m high and 10m
wide, is separated from the outer rampart by a flat bottomed ditch up to 4m
wide. The inner rampart, 50m long by 0.2m-2m high and 6m wide, is separated
from the middle rampart by a U-shaped ditch up to 9m wide. The ends of the
ditches are closed on the west side by banks 2m wide and 0.5m high; on the
east side the ditches are open and suggest the position of an entrance. The
settlement is enclosed on the west side by a bank, 3m wide by 0.5m high, above
the steep natural slope and at the south end a break in the bank may indicate
an original entrance. Within the settlement are at least eight terraced or
scooped platforms, between 6m and 16m in diameter, with one hut circle 5m in
diameter visible. Attached to the outside of the outer rampart is a
sub-rectangular annexe 12m long by 8m terraced into the slope.

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

Promontory forts are a type of hillfort in which conspicuous naturally
defended sites are adapted as enclosures by the construction of one or more
earth or stone ramparts placed across the neck of a spur in order to divide it
from the surrounding land. Coastal situations, using headlands defined by
steep natural cliffs, are common while inland similar topographic settings
defined by natural cliffs are also used. The ramparts and accompanying ditches
formed the main artificial defence, but timber palisades may have been erected
along the cliff edges. Access to the interior was generally provided by an
entrance through the ramparts. The interior of the fort was used intensively
for settlement and related activities, and evidence for timber- and stone-
walled round houses can be expected, together with the remains of buildings
used for storage and enclosures for animals. Promontory forts are generally
Iron Age in date, most having been constructed and used between the sixth
century BC and the mid-first century AD. They are broadly contemporary with
other types of hillfort. They are regarded as settlements of high status,
probably occupied on a permanent basis, and recent interpretations suggest
that their construction and choice of location had as much to do with display
as defence. Promontory forts are rare nationally with less than 100 recorded
examples. In view of their rarity and their importance in the understanding of
the nature of social organisation in the later prehistoric period, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are considered nationally

The Iron Age promontory fort at Glead's Cleugh is very well preserved and will
retain significant archaeological deposits. It is situated in a commanding
position above the Akeld Burn valley which suggests it was of some importance.
The monument is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of
high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. As such it
will make a significant contribution to the study of the wider settlement
pattern during this period.

Source: Historic England

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