Ancient Monuments

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Roman period native settlement on east slope of Mid Hill, 520m south of Staw Hill Camp

A Scheduled Monument in Kirknewton, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5599 / 55°33'35"N

Longitude: -2.1832 / 2°10'59"W

OS Eastings: 388542.432344

OS Northings: 629599.088429

OS Grid: NT885295

Mapcode National: GBR F464.4R

Mapcode Global: WH9ZF.FJM1

Entry Name: Roman period native settlement on east slope of Mid Hill, 520m south of Staw Hill Camp

Scheduled Date: 27 August 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1014933

English Heritage Legacy ID: 29309

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kirknewton

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Kirknewton St Gregory

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a native settlement dating to the Roman period. It is
situated on the lower reaches of the east slope of Mid Hill and is adjacent to
a small stream. The monument consists of a series of four scooped enclosures
running along the contour of the hill. An extensive system of medieval ridge
and furrow cultivation lies to the east of the settlement, this is not
included in the scheduling.
A single oval enclosure lies to the north of the stream. This enclosure
measures 14m by 22m internally, the north west side is scooped into the
hillside to a depth of c.1.5m, the remaining sides are enclosed by a bank of
earth and stone up to 6m wide and 1m high. There is a simple entrance to the
south east. Within the interior is a small scooped area, 5m in diameter, which
may represent a hut platform.
To the south of the stream are a further three scooped sub-oval enclosures,
all immediately adjacent to one another. The northernmost of these measures
17m by 19m internally and is enclosed within a bank up to 3m wide and 0.5m
high. The interior is scooped into the hillside to a depth of 1.5m. Adjacent
to this are the remains of another scooped enclosure with internal
measurements of 14m by 15m, the outer bank of this enclosure has been damaged
by later ridge and furrow ploughing but is still visible. Immediately to the
south lies the fourth scooped enclosure which has internal measurements of 12m
by 15m. It is enclosed within a bank up to 2.5m wide and 0.5m high with an
entrance defined by a large kerbstone in the south east corner. An unmetalled
farm track bisects the enclosure to the north of the stream and runs across
the back edge of the interior of the other three, the outer banks of the
latter three enclosures are clearly visible as ridges within the track.

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

In Cumbria and Northumberland several distinctive types of native settlements
dating to the Roman period have been identified. The majority were small, non-
defensive, enclosed homesteads or farms. In many areas they were of stone
construction, although in the coastal lowlands timber-built variants were also
common. In much of Northumberland, especially in the Cheviots, the enclosures
were curvilinear in form. Further south a rectangular form was more common.
Elsewhere, especially near the Scottish border, another type occurs where the
settlement enclosure was `scooped' into the hillslope. Frequently the
enclosures reveal a regularity and similarity of internal layout. The standard
layout included one or more stone round-houses situated towards the rear of
the enclosure, facing the single entranceway. In front of the houses were
pathways and small enclosed yards. Homesteads normally had only one or two
houses, but larger enclosures could contain as many as six. At some sites the
settlement appears to have grown, often with houses spilling out of the main
enclosure and clustered around it. At these sites up to 30 houses may be
found. In the Cumbrian uplands the settlements were of less regimented form
and unenclosed clusters of houses of broadly contemporary date are also known.
These homesteads were being constructed and used by non-Roman natives
throughout the period of the Roman occupation. Their origins lie in settlement
forms developed before the arrival of the Romans. These homesteads are common
throughout the uplands where they frequently survive as well-preserved
earthworks. In lowland coastal areas they were also originally common,
although there they can frequently only be located through aerial photography.
All homestead sites which survive substantially intact will normally be
identified as nationally important.

The scooped enclosures on the east slope of Mid Hill form a reasonably well
preserved example of a Roman period native settlement. Although some damage
has been caused by the modern trackway, disturbance is confined to a
relatively narrow band and the greater part of the site survives intact. The
site is situated within an area of clustered archaeological sites of high
quality and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape. As such it will
contribute to the study of the wider settlement pattern during this period.

Source: Historic England

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