Ancient Monuments

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Unenclosed settlement 300m south west of Westwood

A Scheduled Monument in Monifieth and Sidlaw, Angus

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Latitude: 56.5313 / 56°31'52"N

Longitude: -3.0847 / 3°5'4"W

OS Eastings: 333380

OS Northings: 738229

OS Grid: NO333382

Mapcode National: GBR VH.2FDN

Mapcode Global: WH6PY.L3BB

Entry Name: Unenclosed settlement 300m SW of Westwood

Scheduled Date: 6 March 1997

Last Amended: 1 June 2021

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6628

Schedule Class: Cultural

Location: Auchterhouse

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Monifieth and Sidlaw

Traditional County: Angus


The monument is an unenclosed settlement dating to the Iron Age (700BC – AD500) and has been recorded as cropmarks on oblique aerial photography. It comprises the remains of three souterrains, three roundhouses and one much smaller structure or pit.

In the aerial imagery, the roundhouses appear as dark circular patches and are all c.12m across. The smaller structure or pit measures c.4m across. The souterrains appear as long dark curves with bright edges; showing that they are stone lined. They range in length from 9m to 30m.

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 show in red in the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

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 dating to the Iron Age identified through oblique aerial photography.  

b.  The monument retains structural and physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. Buried features such as round houses and stone lined souterrains could provide material for radiocarbon dating and environmental analysis as well as artefacts. Detailed study of the roundhouses and souterrains 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 three roundhouses, three souterrains and an additional structure or pit and may have been part of a larger settlement in prehistory.

e.  The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation 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. It may also tell us about the nature and duration of local contact with the Roman Empire.

f.  The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the prehistoric 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)

The monument is an unenclosed prehistoric settlement of roundhouses and souterrains. Roundhouses were prehistoric buildings, thought to be dwellings. They were in use throughout the Bronze Age (c.2400BC-700BC) and Iron Age (c.700BC-AD500).

A roundhouse from Thainstone Inverurie, Aberdeenshire (Canmore ID 266778) was radiocarbon dated to 30BC-AD260. Archaeological excavation and analysis of the remains showed that the structure had been repaired during its lifetime. A smaller four poster structure less than 5m in diameter was found to the southwest. Artefacts uncovered from the site included a glass bead; stone tools and fragments of a crucible for working bronze (Murray and Murray 2006, 4, 5, 10-12).   

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 (Alexander 2005: Canmore ID 35800) also exist. The majority of souterrains date to the Iron Age and are a key factor in dating unenclosed settlements to this period. The substantial size of the souterrains suggests that the settlement had the capacity to store a large quantity of goods and agricultural surplus.

Souterrains at Adrownie Farm Cottages (Canmore ID 68212) were radiocarbon dated to between 100BC and AD300. Archaeological excavation and analysis identified the bones of cattle and sheep; plant material such as the grains from oats and barley and pollens associated with an agricultural landscape. Artefacts such as Roman pottery; a Roman skillet handle; fragments of querns and stone tools were also found (Anderson and Rees 2006, 26-28, 31-33, 38, 49, 55).

The roundhouses and souterrains of this monument are likely to contain archaeological deposits from which samples can be gathered for environmental analysis and radiocarbon dating. Artefacts such as iron tools, glass beads and pottery may also survive. Detailed study of the roundhouses and souterrains can tell us about their construction, use, reuse, repair and abandonment. 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 the Roman Empire.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

The monument sits on an area of high ground overlooking the Auchterhouse burn which lies to the southwest. The burn flows along a valley which cuts northwest-southeast through the Sidlaw Hills. To the north runs the Den burn and to the south a further valley carries the Clushmill burn east-west. These valleys would have been routes through the Sidlaw Hills during prehistory. Located on an area of high ground at the junction of multiple valleys, the settlement well placed to control movement along these routes.  

Around 75m to the northeast are the remains of another unenclosed prehistoric settlement Knowhead, souterrains 500m WNW of (scheduled monument SM6467). The proximity of the two monuments suggests that they are very likely to have been part of one much larger settlement during the Iron Age. Single souterrains have been identified at Kirkton of Auchterhouse, now destroyed (Canmore ID 31890) and Bonnyton (Canmore ID 31903) which suggests that smaller settlements of similar date were present in the surrounding area.  

In the hills to the north-northwest north and north-northeast there are three hillforts: Kinpurney Hill (scheduled monument SM3219); Hill of Denoon (Canmore ID 32171) and Auchterhouse Hillfort (Canmore ID 31874). These forts are all broadly dated to the Iron Age. There is the potential to study this monument in relation to the wider distribution of sites in the area. This could tell us about the development of prehistoric settlement patterns.  

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 this monuments' national importance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 31899 (accessed on 31/03/2020).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference NO33NW0019 (accessed on 31/03/2020).


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. (accessed on 31/03/2020).

Anderson, S. and Rees, A.R. 'The excavation of a large double-chambered souterrains at Ardownie Farm Cottages, Monifieth, Angus' in Tayside and Fife Archaeological Journal Volume 12. p.14-60 (Perth, 2006).

Murray, H.K. and Murray, J.C. (2006) Thainstone Business Park, Inverurie Aberdeenshire, Scottish Archaeological Internet Report 21. (accessed on 31/05/2020).

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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