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Latitude: 56.455 / 56°27'17"N
Longitude: -3.1114 / 3°6'41"W
OS Eastings: 331597
OS Northings: 729755
OS Grid: NO315297
Mapcode National: GBR VG.M75W
Mapcode Global: WH6QB.50MW
Entry Name: Unenclosed settlement and enclosure, 185m north of Eastbank Farm
Scheduled Date: 26 November 1996
Last Amended: 14 June 2021
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Source ID: SM6534
Schedule Class: Cultural
Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive)
County: Perth and Kinross
Electoral Ward: Carse of Gowrie
Traditional County: Perthshire
The monument comprises an unenclosed settlement and enclosure of prehistoric date that has been recorded as cropmarks on oblique aerial photography. It comprises the remains of at least three souterrains; four roundhouses and a large oval enclosure. The monument is located on south-facing gently sloping ground above the Tay at around 25m OD.
The settlement has three main elements; roundhouses, souterrains and an oval enclosure as well as other features such as pits and ditches. The roundhouses are represented by dark areas on the aerial photographs, indicating floors or other occupational deposits. The largest roundhouse, in the middle of the settlement measures around 13m across and is flanked to the north and west by a pair of souterrains and a possible yard. The souterrains vary in size, the smallest measures around 20m across; the largest around 35m across. The oval enclosure is only partially visible on aerial imagery but overall, it measures around 90m east-west and 60m north-south.
The scheduled area is irregular. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):
a. The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past as an unenclosed settlement with round houses, souterrains and possible later enclosure, identified through oblique aerial photography, and dating to the Iron Age.
b. The monument retains structural, architectural, decorative or other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past. Buried features such as round houses and souterrains could provide material for radiocarbon dating and environmental analysis as well as artefacts. Detailed study of the roundhouses, souterrains and enclosure can tell us about their construction, use, reuse, repair and abandonment.
d. The monument is a particularly good example of an unenclosed settlement with multiple features surviving. These include at least four roundhouses, two souterrains and an additional enclosure.
e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding of the past. For example, it has the potential to tell us about the lifestyle of the inhabitants and the nature of the local economy such as agriculture and trade.
f. The monument makes a significant contribution to today's landscape and/or our understanding of the historic landscape by providing evidence of settlement patterns density, distribution and size of individual settlements; land use and the extent of human impact on the local environment over time.
Assessment of Cultural Significance
This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:
Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)
This monument has been recorded as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs and survives as buried deposits below the ploughsoil. The settlement is comprised of three main elements; unenclosed roundhouses and souterrains and an oval enclosure. The settlement is overlain by later rig cultivation. The various elements are visible as dark patches on the aerial photography and the separate features are clearly definable.
Roundhouses are a common monument type that originated in the Bronze Age (c.2400BC-700BC) and continued to be used into the Iron Age (c.700BC-AD500). In 2008, it was estimated at around 4,000 roundhouses have been excavated across Britain; that number has increased in the intervening period. Scottish examples include Glen Coy, Arran (Canmore ID: 215297), Ardownie Farm, Angus (Canmore ID: 68212) and Hawkhill, Lunan Bay, Angus (Canmore ID: 35807). There examples are all also elements of unenclosed settlement with souterrains and other associated features.
Souterrains are narrow low roofed underground passages and were likely used for storage. They are mainly stone lined but wooden examples, such as Redcastle, Lunan Bay, Angus (Canmore ID 35800) also exist. Some souterrains, for example Glen Coy and Redcastle were accessed via elaborate entrances within the roundhouses. The majority of souterrains date to the Iron Age, as demonstrated by excavations in the area of the River Tay, at Newmill (Canmore ID 27006) and further inland, northeast of Alyth, at Shanzie (Canmore ID 183018). Consequently, they are a key factor in dating unenclosed settlements to this period. Excavations have revealed a rich assemblage of material such as cattle and sheep bones, plant material such as the grains from oats and barley and pollens associated with an agricultural landscape as well as pottery fragments and tools. The size of souterrains, as indicated from their surviving ground plans, suggests that a large quantity of goods and agricultural surplus was or could have been stored in these underground voids and this points to indications about population, settlement, agriculture and economy in the wider area.
Morphologically, the ditched enclosure is likely to be prehistoric in date. The exact chronological relationship between the unenclosed settlement and the enclosure is unclear. The north arc of the enclosing ditch is obscured by the settlement remains on the aerial photographs. It may be that the enclosure is an earlier element of this settlement, however, the enclosure may post-date the construction of the roundhouses and souterrains. In either scenario this highlights a time depth to this monument, suggesting more than one phase of activity. The purpose of the enclosure is not clear, however, prehistoric enclosures of this sort are commonly contained settlement features, such as roundhouses, yards and other areas associated with domestic and agricultural activities.
Cropmarked archaeological monuments often contain features that are not visible in aerial photographs and can have well preserved stratified layers of archaeological deposits. There is therefore potential for the survival of archaeological features and deposits, including occupation and abandonment debris, artefacts and environmental remains such as charcoal or pollen within the souterrains, roundhouses and within the ditch of the enclosure. It has the potential to provide information about the function and date of the features and their relationship to each other. Study of the monument's form and construction techniques compared with other similar sites would enhance our understanding of the development sequence of this site. In addition, It has the potential to tell us about the wider prehistoric landscape; development of the settlement over time; the lifestyle of the inhabitants; the nature of the local economy, for example agriculture as well as trade and contact with other contemporary settlements.
Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)
Unenclosed settlements are found across Scotland and are a relatively common monument type. There are around 560 recorded in the National Record of the Historic Environment. Half of these, around 280, are located in Perth and Kinross and Angus and the majority of these are in agricultural areas and known through cropmark evidence.
The monument is located on gently sloping south-facing ground above the River Tay. This is an open agricultural landscape with a large number of other prehistoric settlements, both enclosed and unenclosed in the close proximity. These include West Pilmore, ring ditch and enclosure WNW of (scheduled monument SM6524), East Pilmore, unenclosed settlement (Canmore ID: 85693) and Kingoodie, unenclosed settlement (Canmore ID: 135353). These settlements contain a mixture of roundhouses, souterrains and enclosures and maybe broadly contemporary with the unenclosed at Eastbank.
The monument is a good representative example of its class and a component of the wider contemporary settlement and agricultural landscape. It therefore has the potential to help us understand more of the nature, development and the interrelationships of prehistoric settlement and activity, along the Tay estuary and more widely in Eastern Scotland.
Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)
There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to the site's national importance.
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 31718 (accessed on 13/1/2021).
Perth and Kinross HER: Reference MPK5102 (accessed on 19/01/2021).
Alexander, D. 'Redcastle, Lunan Bay, Angus: the excavation of an Iron Age timber lined souterrains and a Pictish barrow cemetery' in Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries Scotland, Volume 135, 2005. p. 41-118. http://journals.socantscot.org/index.php/psas/article/view/9669/9636 (accessed on 18/01/2021).
Anderson, S. and Rees, A.R (2006). 'The excavation of a large double-chambered souterrains at Ardownie Farm Cottages, Monifieth, Angus' in Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal Vol. 12. pp.14-60. Perth.
Mudie, G et al. (2007). "Excavations on the site of a late Iron Age roundhouse and souterrain, Glen Coy, Brodrick, Isle of Arran' in Scottish Archaeological Journal, Vol. 29 (1), pp.1-29. https://doi.org/10.3366/E1471576708000181 (accessed online on 18/01/2021)
Rees, A (2009). "The excavation of an Iron Age unenclosed settlement and Early Historic multiple burial and metalworking area at Hawkhill Bay, Angus", in Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal Vol. 15. pp. 22-72 http://www.tafac.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/V15_p22-72_Rees.pdf (accessed online on 19/1/2021).
Wilson D R (2000). Air Photo Interpretation for Archaeologists. Tempus, Stroud.
Current Archaeology 2008. Roundhouses. https://www.archaeology.co.uk/articles/features/roundhouses.htm (accessed online on 15/01/2021).
Source: Historic Environment Scotland
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