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Late prehistoric enclosed settlement on Coomb Hill, 540m south west of Coomb Slack Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Hackness, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2901 / 54°17'24"N

Longitude: -0.5371 / 0°32'13"W

OS Eastings: 495321.231012

OS Northings: 489262.891095

OS Grid: SE953892

Mapcode National: GBR SLPT.JW

Mapcode Global: WHGBY.QFFH

Entry Name: Late prehistoric enclosed settlement on Coomb Hill, 540m south west of Coomb Slack Farm

Scheduled Date: 4 August 1933

Last Amended: 10 January 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017152

English Heritage Legacy ID: 33509

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Hackness

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Hutton Buscell St Matthew

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes an enclosed settlement situated on level ground at the
northern scarp edge of the Tabular Hills. The settlement is visible as a well
defined enclosure almost square in shape which measures internally about 46m.
It is bounded by an earth and stone bank 3m wide and up to 0.8m high, which is
broken in two places on the east side, one of which would have formed an
entrance. The bank is surrounded by a ditch up to 2.5m wide and 0.7m deep; the
ditch is only visible as a slight depression on the east and south sides of
the enclosure, having become infilled over the years by soil slipping from the
bank. The ditch was originally surrounded by an outer bank. This is visible on
the west side and in places on the north side, surviving up to 2m wide and
0.3m high, but has become eroded over the years elsewhere and levelled by
forestry operations. The north east corner of the enclosure has been truncated
by a forestry track which runs NNE to SSW.
The settlement lies close to a group of round and square barrows in an area
which includes the remains of other prehistoric settlements, land divisions
and burial monuments.

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

The North York Moors is an area which has an abundance of prehistoric remains
particularly within moorland landscapes where they have not been disturbed by
more recent agricultural activity. These are evidence for the widespread
exploitation of these uplands throughout prehistory. Many remains date from
the Bronze Age (c. 2000-700 BC) and relate to diverse activities, funerary and
ritual practice as well as agriculture and settlement. For the end of the
first millennium BC the range of evidence is more restricted. Settlement at
this time was concentrated in the lowland areas surrounding the moors,
although some settlement was located on the periphery and in the valleys.
These late prehistoric settlement sites on the higher ground are of two types:
those consisting of a small number of unenclosed hut circles and those found
within small square or sub-rectangular enclosures. Some examples of the former
are thought to date from the Bronze Age, but excavation of others and of a few
of the enclosed settlements suggests that they were occupied during the Iron
Age to the Romano-British period (c.700 BC-AD 400). A number of late
prehistoric enclosed settlements on the North York Moors survive as
upstanding monuments and these are between 0.1 and 0.5ha in area. The
enclosing earthworks are usually slight and consist of a ditch with an
internal bank, but examples are known with an internal and external bank and
with an internal ditch or no ditch at all. They are square or sub-rectangular
in shape and often have at least two rounded corners, giving a characteristic
D-shape. Few of these enclosed settlements have been subjected to systematic
excavation but examples which have been excavated have presented evidence of
settlement, including the presence of buildings. Some of the enclosures may
also have had a function as stock enclosures. Enclosed settlements are a
distinctive feature of the late prehistory of the North York Moors and are
important in illustrating the variety of enclosed settlement types which
developed in many areas of Britain at this time. Examples where a substantial
proportion of the enclosed settlement survives are considered to be nationally
The Tabular Hills in the Wykeham Forest area contain a dense concentration of
prehistoric monuments, dating from the Neolithic to the Iron Age, which
includes field systems, enclosures and land boundaries as well as both round
and square barrows. The spatial and chronological relationships between the
round and square barrows in this area, and between both types of barrow and
other prehistoric monuments, are of considerable importance for understanding
the development of later prehistoric society in eastern Yorkshire.
Despite limited disturbance the enclosed settlement 540m south west of Coomb
Slack Farm is in a good state of preservation and will contain significant
information about the date and form of its construction. Important evidence
for the nature and duration of the occupation will survive within the enclosed
area. Evidence for earlier land use and the contemporary environment and
economy will also survive beneath the banks and within the lower ditch fills.
The settlement is situated close to a group of square barrows and this type of
association provides important scope for understanding the different social
and ritual uses of the landscape in the late prehistoric period.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Lee, G E, Wykeham Archaeological Survey, (1991)
Mytum, H, 'Moorland Monuments' in Iron Age square barrows on the North York Moors, , Vol. 101, (1995), 31-37

Source: Historic England

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