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Late Iron Age and Roman period dispersed enclosed settlement 230m south east of Quartons Gardens

A Scheduled Monument in Seamer, North Yorkshire

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Latitude: 54.2375 / 54°14'15"N

Longitude: -0.4258 / 0°25'32"W

OS Eastings: 502693.600774

OS Northings: 483567.858647

OS Grid: TA026835

Mapcode National: GBR TMGF.LQ

Mapcode Global: WHGC6.FRG9

Entry Name: Late Iron Age and Roman period dispersed enclosed settlement 230m south east of Quartons Gardens

Scheduled Date: 24 July 2002

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020788

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34830

County: North Yorkshire

Civil Parish: Seamer

Built-Up Area: Scarborough

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): North Yorkshire

Church of England Parish: Seamer St Martin

Church of England Diocese: York


The monument includes buried remains of an Iron Age and Roman period rural
settlement. It is located at the southern edge of the village of
Crossgates and underlies an area of open space, part of a road and a small
portion of a domestic garden within a 21st century housing estate.
The area of protection includes what has been identified as the most
important part of the Roman period settlement. Some of the remains within
the protected area were exposed through excavation. These were revealed in
plan, but have not been investigated further and still survive below the
ground. Other features lying within the area of protection have not been
exposed by excavation but have been identified by geophysical survey.
Wider remains of the Iron Age and Roman period settlement beyond the
protected area have been recorded through geophysical surveys, field
walking and partial excavation.
The monument lies at the eastern end of the vale of Pickering in an area
rich in similar archaeological remains. These are generally located along
the flanks of the Vale. Most of these have been identified through aerial
photography but some have been excavated. The identified remains include
an Iron Age chariot burial, Roman enclosures, square barrows, field
systems, linear and curvilinear features and rectangular enclosures.
Within the protected area excavations exposed stone footings of a
rectangular building dating to the first century AD. The building measured
19m long east to west and 9m wide north to south. Internally there was a
separate room approximately 3.5 sq m against the western end of the
building and there were also indications of further subdivisions. The
stone footings were 0.75m wide and composed of squared and faced limestone
blocks. At the eastern end, much of the dressed stonework had been
removed, however the line of the wall was identifiable from areas of
cobbles and limestone rubble. Here it was found that the wall was built on
a foundation layer of heavy cobbles covered with clay to create a level
surface to support the wall. There was also evidence that the building was
built in more than one constructional phase. The wall footings were not
bonded and there were no remains of roof tiles and little of the building
debris normally associated with the site of former stone built structures.
This indicates that the building was likely to have had low, stone built,
dwarf walls supporting a timber superstructure with a thatch roof. The
dating evidence indicates that the building went out of use around AD 180.
The building lay in the northern part of a square enclosure with an
internal dimension of 43m defined by a ditch up to 3m wide. Only the
western half of the enclosure lies within the protected area. Excavations
carried out on the eastern side of the enclosure, to the east of the
protected area, showed that the enclosure ditch was constructed earlier
than the stone based building and dates to the Late Iron Age. There was an
entrance approximately 1m wide in the eastern side of the enclosure which
was widened around the same time as the construction of the stone based
building and a stone and timber entrance structure was erected.
In the central part of the enclosure, within the protected area, post
holes were found which are interpreted as the remains of a rectangular
timber building, which has been associated with the earlier phase of the
The dating evidence and results of excavation indicate a sequence of
activity beginning with a Late Iron Age timber building set within a
square enclosure which was replaced by a more substantial stone based
building and the associated construction of a stone and timber gatehouse
over the original entrance.
Within the protected area are further remains of Iron Age activity. These
include a semi-circular gully dated to the Early Iron Age which lies
within the enclosure but is thought to pre-date it and a series of linear
features thought to be parts of a field system known to extend into the
surrounding area.
The wider complex of Iron Age and Roman period remains outside the
protected area included a complex of interlinked and superimposed ditched
enclosures and linear features some of which were excavated. Features
revealed by this work included remains of a rectangular ditched enclosure
with three compartments located approximately 50m to the south west of the
area of protection. Within the eastern part of this enclosure were four
Iron Age round houses, groups of post holes and a probable malting kiln.
This enclosure was also re-modelled in the late first century AD. Field
systems defined by ditches and associated with Iron Age and Roman period
settlement were also revealed throughout the area. Also located in the
area were remains of a pottery kiln and many fragments of quern stones
used for grinding cereals.
The results of the excavations, geophysical survey and field walking at
Crossgates indicate that there was an Iron Age settlement which evolved
and was re-modelled around the end of the first century AD. This
modification included the erection of a stone based building and gatehouse
in one of the earlier enclosures and the extension of the agricultural
function of the settlement possibly undertaken by elements of a Romanised
native population. There are similarities with other contemporary sites
in the region where Roman period settlements were established at existing
Iron Age centres, although many of these developed into the complex of
domestic and agricultural buildings known as the villa. It is suggested
that the Roman period settlement at Crossgates was amalgamated with other
nearby similar settlements and subsumed into a larger villa estate as part
of the reorganisation of landholdings known to have taken place in the
region in the third century AD.
The surface of Crab Lane is excluded from the scheduling, although the
ground beneath it is included.

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

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Late Iron Age and Roman period dispersed enclosed settlements are discrete
areas of occupation incorporating a small cluster or even a single main
dwelling surrounded by structures and activity areas associated primarily
with crop processing, animal husbandry and craft production. The main
focus of occupation lay within an enclosure defined by a circuit of
ditches, banks and/or walls. Though size varies the majority fall between
0.2ha and 1.6ha in extent with the smaller examples particularly prevalent
in the north and upland or marginal land use areas.
This form of settlement had a long tradition in England and its origins
can be traced back to the Middle Bronze Age. They were a particularly
common aspect of the rural landscape and represent foci for small scale
agricultural and craft production for social groups based in dispersed
individual farming communities. They are a defining characteristic of
rural settlement in most areas throughout the second half of the first
millennium BC and Roman periods. The longevity of individual sites varies
enormously from a single generation to 400 years or more.
The interiors of enclosed settlements were usually characterised by minor
internal fences, gullies or walls defining separate activity areas within
the settlement. These spaces became increasingly specialised for a wide
range of domestic, agricultural and craft activities. Enclosed settlements
were primarily small-scale agricultural farms. Both pastoral and arable
farming was carried out with mixed farming being most common. Around
dispersed enclosed settlements there would be the track ways and
boundaries of associated field systems, industrial areas and quarries, and
occasionally the cemeteries of individual communities.
They were not a static settlement type and significant trends can be
discerned between the first century BC and the second and third centuries
AD. Architecturally there was a change from the almost ubiquitous round
house during the Iron Age to rectilinear buildings and, in areas where
stone was locally or regionally available it usually replaces timber as a
material for building and boundary definition. Typically, the transition
to rectilinear architecture occurred from the first century BC in the
south east and largely from the later first and second centuries AD
elsewhere. Pre-conquest forms generally display few overt signs of
diversity in architectural sophistication and embellishment beyond size
and constructional monumentality. The transformation to rectilinear
buildings is often accompanied by little immediate major change in overall
sophistication but many sites in the south eastern half of England begin
to display marked change during the course of the second to fourth
centuries AD.
As agriculture became more settled so earth-fast and substantial
constructions such as corn driers, barns, wells, kilns and furnaces are
adopted over much of the country.
On the majority of studied examples there is little evidence of great
personal wealth or centres of particular ritual or burial significance.
These settlements generally represented the homes of small family or
kinship groups of moderate standing though some developed into relatively
prosperous small `villas' during the later Roman period.
Dispersed enclosed settlements are recognised principally from aerial
photography of crop marks, earthwork survey or increasingly
geoprospection, and large scale field survey that includes surface
artefact collection. Excavation is rare (currently estimated to be less
than 1% of the likely total) and all sites which have been positively
identified and which have significant surviving remains are considered
The Late Iron Age and Roman remains at Crossgates have been shown by
excavation and geophysical survey to retain important evidence on the form
and function of the settlement. Particularly significant is the evidence
of the early transition from a timber building to substantial stone,
rectilinear construction; a phenomenon which only dates from the later
first and second centuries AD in the north of England and which is rarely
seen as clearly as here.
As a whole the monument offers scope for the study of the transition from
the Late Iron Age through to the Roman period and will provide important
information about the processes of change.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Challis, A J, Harding, D W, 'Later Prehistory from Trent to Tyne' in Later Prehistory From The Trent To The Tyne, , Vol. BAR 20, (1975)
Stephonson, M, Crossgates Farm Phases II-III Seamer N Yorks Theoretical Report, (2000)

Source: Historic England

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