Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Enclosed hilltop settlement on Pig Hill, 600m south west of High Fallowfield

A Scheduled Monument in South Hetton, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.7937 / 54°47'37"N

Longitude: -1.4268 / 1°25'36"W

OS Eastings: 436949.906962

OS Northings: 544463.507545

OS Grid: NZ369444

Mapcode National: GBR LFG0.WC

Mapcode Global: WHD5R.1RTY

Entry Name: Enclosed hilltop settlement on Pig Hill, 600m south west of High Fallowfield

Scheduled Date: 24 April 1978

Last Amended: 9 April 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019919

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34586

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: South Hetton

Traditional County: Durham

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham

Church of England Parish: Haswell and Thornley

Church of England Diocese: Durham


The monument includes the remains of a polygonal enclosure, occupying part of
the southern slope and top of Pig Hill.
The monument incorporates the remains of a double ditched or palisaded
polygonal enclosure, particularly apparent on its eastern side. Within the
enclosure are cropmarks, some of which are thought to represent traces of

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Hilltop enclosures are defined as sub-rectangular or elongated areas of
ground, usually between 10ha and 40ha in size, situated on hilltops or
plateaux and surrounded by slight univallate earthworks. They date to between
the Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth-fifth centuries BC) and are usually
interpreted as stock enclosures or sites where agricultural produce was
stored. Many examples of hilltop enclosures may have developed into more
strongly defended sites later in the Iron Age period and are therefore often
difficult to recognise in their original form. The earthworks generally
consist of a bank separated from an external ditch by a level berm. Access to
the interior was generally provided by two or three entrances which consisted
of simple gaps in the rampart. Evidence for internal features is largely
dependent on excavation, and to date this has included large areas of sparsely
scattered features including post and stakeholes, hearths and pits.
Rectangular or square buildings are also evident; these are generally defined
by between four and six postholes and are thought to have supported raised
granaries. Hilltop enclosures are rare, with between 25 and 30 examples
recorded nationally. A greater number may exist but these could have been
developed into hillforts later in the Iron Age and could only be confirmed by
detailed survey or excavation. The majority of known examples are located in
two regions, on the chalk downland of Wessex and Sussex and in the Cotswolds.
More scattered examples are found in north-east Oxfordshire and north
Northamptonshire. This class of monument has not been recorded outside
England. In view of the rarity of hilltop enclosures and their importance in
understanding the transition between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all
examples with surviving archaeological remains are believed to be of
national importance.

The enclosed hilltop settlement on Pig Hill, 600m south west of High
Fallowfield, is a good example of its type which will add greatly to our
knowledge of these types of constructions and their intended use. Although
there are no apparent remains of the enclosure visible on the ground, the
double ditched or palisaded enclosure can be seen on aerial photographs, as
well as cropmarks within the enclosure thought to relate to the settlement.
The ditched enclosure will preserve important archaeological deposits relating
to the construction and use of the monument. The presence of cropmarks within
the enclosure would imply the survival of important archaeological deposits
relating to the settlement and use of the monument.

Source: Historic England

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