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Prehistoric settlement and pit alignment 65m north east and 40m south west of Wellpark

A Scheduled Monument in Haddington and Lammermuir, East Lothian

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9874 / 55°59'14"N

Longitude: -2.7695 / 2°46'10"W

OS Eastings: 352089

OS Northings: 677421

OS Grid: NT520774

Mapcode National: GBR 2S.VV02

Mapcode Global: WH7TR.FRFW

Entry Name: Prehistoric settlement and pit alignment 65m NE and 40m SW of Wellpark

Scheduled Date: 16 December 1993

Last Amended: 27 April 2021

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5864

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: pit alignment

Location: Athelstaneford

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: Haddington and Lammermuir

Traditional County: East Lothian

Description

Matthew Steele, dated 1909. Distinctive, tailored 2-storey, 6-bay, L-plan canted flatted block on prominent corner site. Dry-dash with bull-faced and ashlar dressings. Eaves cornice and blocking course forming parapet with regularly articulated small square 5-part openings. Moulded doorways; stone mullions. Recessed entrances with deck access timber-braced balconies to upper floors.

W (PRINCIPAL) ELEVATION: symmetrical. 2 angled bays to centre each with advanced square-plan tripartite window to each floor, those to 1st floor flanking relief carved stone with 'SEAFORTH 1909'. Flanking recessed entrance bays each with centre door between small bipartite windows (those to right, Linlithgow Road, now single light). Simple square piers with chunky railings to ground floor entrances, and railed steps with squat buttressed piers leading to 1st floor. Advanced outer bays with bipartite window to each floor (those to right altered to single windows).

Mixture of modern and original glazing. Original timber sash and case windows, margined top sash with central plain stained glass panel over 2-pane. Single original door to upper left, timber with small tripartite glazed openings to upper half. Grey slates with red ridge tiles. Central near-ridge stacks, pair of stacks to N and S elevations.

INTERIOR: not seen (2004).

BOUNDARY WALLS: to N and W, sandstone rubble wall with flat coping.

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 enclosed prehistoric settlement and associated pit alignment dating to the late Bronze Age to Iron Age. It adds to our understanding of prehistoric society in eastern Scotland and the function, use and development of enclosed settlements and their associated land boundaries at this time.

b.   The monument retains structural and other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past. The plan of the monument is clear and understandable through the cropmark evidence and there is significant potential for the survival of buried archaeological deposits. The monument can significantly add to our understanding of domestic settlement, agriculture and economy during the Iron Age.  

d.   The monument is a good example of an enclosed prehistoric settlement dating to the Bronze Age or Iron Age with internal structures and associated field boundaries in the form of a pit alignment. It is therefore an important representative sample of this monument type.

e.   The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding of the past. Its enclosure ditches, internal features and pits could provide material for carbon dating which when compared with similar monuments could contribute to a better understanding of the chronological development of settlement during this period of Scottish prehistory. Additionally, artefactual and environmental material surviving within these buried features, particularly the ditches and pits, could also provide information on diet, society, agricultural practice and local ecology.

f.   The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the historic landscape as part of a wider complex of prehistoric settlement and agricultural monuments in this part of East Lothian. Study of this monument in relation to other similar has the potential to increase our understanding of the landscape setting of these monuments.

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 visible as an enclosed settlement within which are pits likely to represent the remains of domestic structures or occupation. The settlement is enclosed by a ditch around 3.5m in width. The complete circuit of the ditch is not recorded as it is partially overlain by the yard and sheds of Kilduff Mains Farm. To the south-west of the settlement is a pit alignment, which is visible for 150m and is formed by a double row of pits for at least 70m of its overall length. Two further pit alignments are visible to the west of the settlement, one runs roughly east-west while the other mirrors the pit alignment closest to the settlement. It is likely that these formed land boundaries associated with the settlement. Enclosed settlements are common across Scotland and come in a variety of forms. Some are very large and are enclosed by multiple ditches and may have held many timber roundhouses and housed a large population. Others are much smaller and were only large enough to accommodate a single house. The vast majority of these would have been agricultural settlements. The monument at Wellpark is one of the smaller enclosed settlements.

Pit alignments are known to date from the Mesolithic (c.8500BC-3800BC) through to the Iron Age (c.700BC-AD500) and are likely to have had several functions. They are thought to have been remains of quarrying; land boundaries; post holes for timber structures or part of ritual activity. Excavations of pit alignments elsewhere has shown that these monuments may have been created over an extended period of time. For example, the alignment at Warren Field, Crathes, Aberdeenshire has pits was shown to have pits from across this date range (Canmore ID 36671: Murray and Murray: 2009). Some pits have been found to contain pottery, stone tools or other items which appear to have been placed within them.

There is good potential for the survival of buried archaeological features and deposits, including occupation and abandonment debris, artefacts and environmental remains within the monument. Excavations at Whittinghame Tower, enclosure 250m SW of (scheduled monument SM6067: Haselgrove 2009) and Brixwold (Dalhousie Mains (Canmore ID; 53609: Crone and O'Sullivan 1997) have provided evidence of crops such as hulled barley, oats and emmer wheat and artefacts such as a copper and blue glass items, stone tools, decorated stones, saddle querns and pottery. This monument has the potential to add to our understanding of settlement, land-use and environment, diet, and social status of the occupants, as well as the structure of contemporary society and economy. Scientific study of this site would allow us to confirm the date range of the monument any possible development sequence through radiocarbon dating.

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

Enclosed settlements are found throughout Scotland, both as earthwork monuments and cropmarked sites. This monument is a good example of a small enclosed settlement with associated land boundaries. The monument is located on south facing slopes and forms part of a wider archaeological landscape of settlement and agricultural remains of broadly similar date that are located above the valley of the Cogtail Burn.

The settlement may be related to other later prehistoric settlements in the area, such as Kilduff, enclosure E of (scheduled monument SM5865) and Cogtail Burn, enclosure (Canmore ID: 70841). There is potential to study these sites together to better understand their functions within the local communities, settlement hierarchy and possible chronological development in the area. The monument has the potential to enhance and broaden our understanding of prehistoric society and community as well as social organisation, land division and land use.

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 monument's national importance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Ordnance Survey map (1913). R Jaques, FALKIRK AND DISTRICT (2001) p148. Gifford & Walker, THE BUILDINGS OF SCOTLAND - STIRLING AND CENTRAL SCOTLAND (2002) p262.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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