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Burntshieldhaugh Fell prehistoric settlement and field system, 570m east of Ivy Pool

A Scheduled Monument in Hexhamshire, Northumberland

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.8629 / 54°51'46"N

Longitude: -2.1113 / 2°6'40"W

OS Eastings: 392949.89053

OS Northings: 552018.252694

OS Grid: NY929520

Mapcode National: GBR FDP6.PL

Mapcode Global: WHB2Y.J1TC

Entry Name: Burntshieldhaugh Fell prehistoric settlement and field system, 570m east of Ivy Pool

Scheduled Date: 27 April 1998

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1017962

English Heritage Legacy ID: 28580

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Hexhamshire

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Blanchland with Hunstanworth

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle

Details

The monument includes the remains of a settlement and associated field system
of prehistoric or Romano-British date, situated on the western edge of
Burntshieldhaugh Fell, overlooking the valley of Devil's Water to the south.
The settlement is visible as a roughly rectangular enclosure 60m east to west
by 40m north to south within a bank of stone and earth 3m wide which stands to
a maximum height of 0.5m above the interior of the settlement. The settlement
abuts a modern field bank on its north side but the original north wall
of the settlement is thought to survive beneath this later bank. Within the
enclosure, situated against its western side, there are the remains of three
circular, stone founded round houses; the largest and best preserved is 8m in
diameter and stands to a maximum height of 0.3m. The remaining two hut circles
are 7m in diameter and stand to 0.2m high. Two of the houses have clear
entrances. At the north east corner of the settlement there are the slight
traces of a second rectangular enclosure visible on the ground as a slight
swelling but well defined on aerial photographs. This feature is thought to be
associated with the settlement and is interpreted as an annexe.
To the south and south east of the settlement there are the remains of an
associated field system; the field system is visible as a series of sinuous
banks of earth and stone varying in width from 1m to 4m wide and standing to a
maximum height of 1.2m. One of the banks has a small cairn of stone 3m wide
and 0.4m high incorporated within it. The walls divide the landscape into a
series of enclosed areas or fields.
The fence line which crosses the northern edge of the monument and the two
small fenced enclsoures are excluded from the monument, although the ground
beneath these features are included.

MAP EXTRACT
The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

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.

A regular aggregate field system is a group of regularly defined fields of
prehistoric or Roman date, laid out in a block or blocks, which lie
approximately at right angles to each other, usually with a settlement as a
focal point. Fields are generally square or rectangular and the blocks give an
ordered, if irregular shape to the field system as a whole. They are
characteristically extensive monument types; the number of individual fields
varies from two to approximately 50, but this is, at least in part, a
reflection of bias in the archaeological record rather than the true extent of
such land divisions during their period of use. This is because continued land
use has often obliterated traces of the full extent of such field systems. The
fields were the primary unit of production in a mixed farming economy,
incorporating pastoral, arable, and horticultural elements. As rare monument
types which provide an insight into land division and agricultural practice
during their period of use all well preserved examples will normally be
identified as nationally important.
Despite the fact that parts of the monument were ploughed during the
post-medieval period, the prehistoric settlement and field system 570m east of
Ivy Pool survive well and retain significant archaeological deposits. Taken
together they will contribute to our knowledge and understanding of
prehistoric settlement and agriculture in the North Pennines.

Source: Historic England

Sources

Other
NY95SW 11-15, 29,
NY95SW 12,

Source: Historic England

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