Ancient Monuments

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Roman period native homestead 400m south of Humbleton Hill hillfort

A Scheduled Monument in Akeld, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5451 / 55°32'42"N

Longitude: -2.0566 / 2°3'23"W

OS Eastings: 396528.37418

OS Northings: 627930.225574

OS Grid: NT965279

Mapcode National: GBR G42B.K2

Mapcode Global: WH9ZH.CWXG

Entry Name: Roman period native homestead 400m south of Humbleton Hill hillfort

Scheduled Date: 14 December 1999

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017044

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31733

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Akeld

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Wooler St Mary

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes a Roman period native homestead situated on the eastern
shoulder of Gains Law, south of Humbleton Hill. It comprises an oval
enclosure, 19m north west to south east by 18m transversely, defined by a
single bank of earth and stone which stands up to 0.4m high. A bank runs
northward from the north side of the homestead for about 15m and is
interpreted as part of an enclosure or stock pen. Inside the main enclosure is
a hut circle about 4.5m in diameter.
Part of a later sheepfold which overlies the homestead is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath this feature 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

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 Roman period native homestead near Humbleton Hill hillfort survives
reasonably well. It is one of a group of broadly contemporary archaeological
sites in the northern Cheviots whose remains are well preserved and will
contribute to any study of settlement during this period.

Source: Historic England

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