Ancient Monuments

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Unenclosed scooped settlement on the east slope of Harehope Hill, 750m south east of High Akeld Cottages

A Scheduled Monument in Akeld, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5525 / 55°33'8"N

Longitude: -2.0638 / 2°3'49"W

OS Eastings: 396075.299745

OS Northings: 628756.793833

OS Grid: NT960287

Mapcode National: GBR G417.0D

Mapcode Global: WH9ZH.8PHR

Entry Name: Unenclosed scooped settlement on the east slope of Harehope Hill, 750m south east of High Akeld Cottages

Scheduled Date: 20 June 1973

Last Amended: 17 April 1997

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014932

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24665

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


This monument includes a scooped settlement and associated features. It is
situated on a relatively level platform approximately midway down the east
slope of Harehope Hill. The hillside falls away sharply to the east and the
ground also falls away locally to the north providing extensive views to north
and east. The monument consists of three scooped enclosures and the remains of
at least two building platforms, the settlement is not enclosed but the
northern boundary is defined by a low bank. The remains of a trackway run
along the northern edge of the settlement up onto the top of Harehope Hill.
The settlement consists of three large scooped areas. The westernmost
scoop is sub-oval, it measures 12m by 16m internally and is scooped into the
hillside to a depth of 2m. It is enclosed by a stone bank 3m wide and up to
0.5m high. There are the possible remains of an entrance, 2m wide, in the
south side. Within the interior are the slight remains of a level platform of
a prehistoric building. Immediately to the east of this scooped area are the
remains of two small platforms, 8m and 12m in diameter, levelled into the
hillslope. The smaller platform has the remains of a slight bank, 1m wide and
0.1m high, on the south and east edges. Downslope from these platforms are the
remains of a further two large scooped areas lying adjacent to each other on
the same contour. Both scoops are bisected by a modern drystone wall. To the
west of the drystone wall, the southernmost scoop measures 20m north-south by
9m east-west, it is scooped into the hillslope to a depth of 0.75m and is
defined by a low bank, 2m wide and 0.3m high. The eastern edge of the scoop
lies to the east of the drystone wall and is no longer visible as it is
covered by the remains of ridge and furrow ploughing. The northernmost scoop,
to the west of the drystone wall, measures 36m north-south by 15m east-west.
It is scooped into the hillside to a depth of 1m and the back edge is defined
by a low bank, 2m wide. On the south side of the enclosure exterior is a small
level platform, 3m by 2m, forming a small house platform. The remains of an
internal banked feature, 21m north-south, are visible within the centre of the
scoop. To the east of the drystone wall, slight earthwork remains are visible
for a distance of c.3m surviving beneath the ridge and furrow ploughing.
The remains of a hollow trackway run past the northern edge of the
westernmost scooped enclosure. The track is 2m wide and up to 1m deep at its
deepest point which is just to the west of the western scoop. As the track
continues up the hill slope it becomes less clearly defined and is eventually
lost amongst dense vegetation.
The northern edge of the settlement is defined by a low, curving bank, 4m
wide and up to 0.2m high, this runs WSW from the northern edge of the northern
scoop and is visible for a length of 60m.
The eastern part of the site is crossed by a drystone wall and a post and
wire fence, which are excluded from the scheduling but the ground beneath
them is included.

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 on the east slope of Harehope Hill survives in
reasonably good condition despite the fact that the eastern part of the site
has been damaged. The site is situated within an area of clustered
archaeological sites of high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological
landscape. It will contribute to the study of the wider settlement pattern
during this period.

Source: Historic England

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