Ancient Monuments

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Roman period native enclosed settlement 600m north east of Elsdonburn Shank

A Scheduled Monument in Kilham, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.56 / 55°33'35"N

Longitude: -2.2119 / 2°12'42"W

OS Eastings: 386733.917232

OS Northings: 629606.076405

OS Grid: NT867296

Mapcode National: GBR D4Z4.YQ

Mapcode Global: WH9ZF.0J00

Entry Name: Roman period native enclosed settlement 600m north east of Elsdonburn Shank

Scheduled Date: 22 May 1996

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1015195

English Heritage Legacy ID: 24634

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Kilham

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 enclosed settlement dating to the Roman
period. It is situated 600m north east of Elsdonburn Shank, on the northern
slope of Haddon Hill. The monument consists of an oval enclosure of earth and
stone banks partly scooped into the hillside, and containing slight traces
of internal divisions. The remains of a small rectangular structure are
attached to the exterior of the enclosure on the south west side.
The enclosure is one of a number of broadly contemporary settlements which are
dispersed at fairly regular intervals along the lower northern and western
slopes of Coldsmouth Hill and Haddon Hill. The settlement covers a roughly
oval area, 60m long by 50m wide. It is enclosed within an earth and stone
bank up to 5m wide and 0.6m high, a break in the western bank may represent an
entrance. The south side of the enclosure is scooped into the hillside to a
depth of 1m. The enclosure contains the remains of small internal banks, up
to 2m wide and 0.1m high, in the northern corner. The remains of a small,
rectangular structure, 4m by 7m, lie immediately outside the enclosure on the
south west side.

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.

Although partly afforested, the enclosed settlement 600m north east of
Elsdonburn Shank survives substantially intact and forms a reasonably well
preserved example of a Roman period native settlement. It is one of a number
of broadly contemporary sites which occupy the lower slopes of Haddon Hill and
Coldsmouth Hill and, as such, it forms part of a wider archaeological
landscape. It will contribute significantly to the study of the wider
settlement pattern during this period.

Source: Historic England

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