Ancient Monuments

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Romano-British farmstead and part of an associated field system 630m south west of White Gables

A Scheduled Monument in Akeld, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.5461 / 55°32'46"N

Longitude: -2.0432 / 2°2'35"W

OS Eastings: 397368.836415

OS Northings: 628047.711617

OS Grid: NT973280

Mapcode National: GBR G459.FP

Mapcode Global: WH9ZH.LV7M

Entry Name: Romano-British farmstead and part of an associated field system 630m south west of White Gables

Scheduled Date: 26 January 2000

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019311

English Heritage Legacy ID: 31737

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 farmstead of Romano-British date and part of an
associated field system situated on the lower slopes of the east side of
Humbleton Hill. Further remains of prehistoric settlements and cairns in the
vicinity are the subject of separate schedulings.
The farmstead comprises two conjoined enclosures. The southern enclosure,
sub-oval in shape, measures 26m north-south by 24m east-west and is enclosed
by an earth and stone bank up to 1.5m wide and 0.4m high. There is a simple
entrance in the eastern side. The interior of the enclosure is scooped into
the hillside to a depth of 1.7m. The remains of at least two level platforms,
upon which circular prehistoric houses were constructed, are situated on the
slightly higher ground at the western edge of the enclosure; the remains of an
internal bank is also visible at the north west corner. The northern enclosure
lies slightly to the west and is attached to the southern enclosure by an
earth bank up to 1m wide and 0.15m high. The northern enclosure is scooped
into the hillside to a depth of 1m. Within the scooped area there is a level
platform which provided a flatened area for building. The remains of a field
plot, 18m by 12m, lies immediately to the west of the southernmost enclosure.
The southern edge is scarped into the hillside and the remainder is visible as
a slight field bank, surviving up to 0.1m high, which abutts the northern
corner of the southern enclosure.
The drystone wall which runs adjacent to the south eastern part of the
monument 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.

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 monuments; the number of individual fields
varying between 2 and 50, but this is, at least in part a reflection of bias
in the archaeological records rather than the true extent of such land
divisions during their period of use. The fields were the primary unit of
production in a mixed farming economy, incorporating pastoral, arable and
horticultural elements. Less that 250 such field systems have been identified
and, as a rare monument type which provides an insight into land division and
agricultural practice during the period of use, all well preserved examples
will normally be identified to be nationally important.
The Romano-British farmstead 630m south west of White Gables is a reasonably
well preserved example of its type. It is situated within an area of
prehistoric sites of high quality and forms part of a wider archaeological
landscape. Taken together with the remains of part of its associated field
system, it will contribute to the study of Romano-British settlement and
activity in this area.

Source: Historic England


NT 92 NE 64,

Source: Historic England

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