Ancient Monuments

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Defended settlement 900m west of Calder

A Scheduled Monument in Roddam, Northumberland

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Latitude: 55.4702 / 55°28'12"N

Longitude: -1.9976 / 1°59'51"W

OS Eastings: 400249.684616

OS Northings: 619597.742223

OS Grid: NU002195

Mapcode National: GBR G5H5.BX

Mapcode Global: WH9ZX.9R0T

Entry Name: Defended settlement 900m west of Calder

Scheduled Date: 7 August 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1019933

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34233

County: Northumberland

Civil Parish: Roddam

Traditional County: Northumberland

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northumberland

Church of England Parish: Ilderton St Michael

Church of England Diocese: Newcastle


The monument includes the remains of a defended settlement of Iron Age date
situated on the edge of a promontory on the west bank of the Harelaw Burn. It
is overlooked by Heddon Hill to the north but has a broad aspect to the east,
south and west. There are steep slopes on the north side and artificial
defences have been built around the south. The settlement is visible as a
curvilinear enclosure 47m east to west by 45m. The artificial defences
comprise a ditch up to 6m wide and 0.2m deep with an internal bank up to 9m
wide and 0.2m high. Around the outer edge of the ditch are slight traces of a
counterscarp bank up to 4m wide on the west side. The entrance passes through
the centre of the southern defences and measures 3m wide. Set within the bank
to the west of the entrance is an oval depression 3.5m by 2.5m thought to be
the remains of a hut circle. Within the enclosure the ground surface is up to
0.5m higher than that of the surrounding land. To the right of the entrance
are the slight foundations of a rectangular building oriented east to west
which measures 4m by 2.5m and is believed to be of a later date. Medieval
ridge and furrow cultivation overlies the eastern half of the settlement.
The post and wire fence which crosses the settlement is excluded from the
scheduling, although the ground beneath it 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

During the mid-prehistoric period (seventh to fifth centuries BC) a variety of
different types of defensive settlements began to be constructed and occupied
in the northern uplands of England. The most obvious sites were hillforts
built in prominent locations. In addition to these a range of smaller sites,
sometimes with an enclosed area of less than 1ha and defined as defended
settlements, were also constructed. Some of these were located on hilltops,
others are found in less prominent positions. The enclosing defences were of
earthen construction, some sites having a single bank and ditch (univallate),
others having more than one (multivallate). At some sites these earthen
ramparts represent a second phase of defence, the first having been a timber
fence or palisade. Within the enclosure a number of stone or timber-built
round houses were occupied by the inhabitants. Stock may also have been kept
in these houses, especially during the cold winter months, or in enclosed
yards outside them. The communities occupying these sites were probably single
family groups, the defended settlements being used as farmsteads. Construction
and use of this type of site extended over several centuries, possibly through
to the early Romano-British period (mid to late first century AD).
Defended settlements are a rare monument type. They were an important element
of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of the northern uplands and are
important for any study of the developing use of fortified settlements during
this period. All well-preserved examples are believed to be of national

Although the defended settlement 900m west of Calder is partly overlain by
medieval ridge and furrow and has been ploughed, it survives in reasonably
good condition with the rampart and ditch still visible. The interior of the
settlement, which is protected by material spread from the bank, will provide
evidence for the nature of Iron Age settlement, including the remains of
circular stone founded houses.

Source: Historic England


Museum of Antiquities, Gates, T, NU/0019/D, (1985)
Museum of Antiquities, Gates, T, NU/0019/K, (1989)
NU 01 NW 6,

Source: Historic England

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