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East Reston Mill, settlement 240m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8527 / 55°51'9"N

Longitude: -2.162 / 2°9'43"W

OS Eastings: 389957

OS Northings: 662179

OS Grid: NT899621

Mapcode National: GBR F0BR.QT

Mapcode Global: WH9Y2.R5P2

Entry Name: East Reston Mill, settlement 240m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 23 December 1977

Last Amended: 5 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4076

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of an enclosure, interpreted as a settlement site dating to the Iron Age, visible as linear cropmarks in cultivated land. The monument is located at 60m above sea-level on the flood plain of Eye Water, 115m to the south. It was first scheduled in 1977 and is being rescheduled in order to amend the scheduled area to more accurately protect the surviving remains and to improve the associated documentation.

Cropmarks represent negative archaeological features, the fills of which retain more moisture than the surrounding subsoil, resulting in the enhanced growth of the crops above. The visible traces of the settlement consist of discontinuous linear cropmarks, representing lengths of ditch, forming a trapezoidal enclosure. The ditch measures between 2-4m in width and encloses an area of around 0.5 hectares. At its greatest extent the enclosure measures around 75m NNE-SSW by around 70m transversely. There are three gaps in the enclosure ditch and the most likely entrance is on the W side of the enclosure measuring around 8m. The greatest gap is in the NE corner of the enclosure where around a 30m length of ditch is absent. Around 20m of the ditch is also missing from the SE corner. Transcription of the available aerial photographs indicate the existence of at least two features within the interior. None of the remains are visible on the ground but, according to the owner, have shown as variations in crop height in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

The area to scheduled is polygonal on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling extends up to but excludes a fence that marks the S edge of the scheduled area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

As a buried feature clearly visible in the form of cropmarks on aerial photographs taken in 1989, the monument is a good example of an enclosed settlement, and the form of the monument indicates that it is most likely to date to the Iron Age. The ditches are unlikely to have had a defensive function and the location is also unlikely to have been selected for its defensive value. Although the area is in cultivation the monument survives well, and evidence relating to domestic structures and the activities undertaken within and around them may be preserved as buried deposits within negative features. Artefactual evidence can also further our knowledge of activities and practices at the settlement and inform our understanding of trade and other contact with indigenous peoples from within the region or those from further afield, such as the Romans.

It is likely that in the digging of the ditch a bank was created from the resulting upcast and potential exists for survival of a buried soil beneath any remaining vestiges of this bank, or any other features constructed over the contemporary landscape. These buried land surfaces have a great potential to inform our knowledge of the environment within which the monument was constructed. Soils may also survive within the lengths of ditch and these will also provide evidence of the environment at time of construction and habitation. The ditches and other surviving negative features are also likely to contain deposits that can tell us about the economy of the inhabitants of the enclosure, the date at which it was built, used and abandoned and what may have happened in and around the site subsequently.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located on the river terrace of the Eye Water, a lowland landscape rich in prehistoric remains. It is a relatively complete and is also comparatively large, especially for a lowland example of its type. The preservation of prehistoric sites in this area is unusual as they usually survive best in upland settings due to subsequent land uses. The location, adjacent to a major watercourse, would have been an attractive site in a fertile location that would also have enabled easier communication, transportation and social interaction.

A variety of cropmark sites of similar date are located around this monument. At least three ring ditches, a round house, a pit alignment, a settlement and six enclosed settlements, two of which have been interpreted as defensive, and numerous linear features have been identified within a one kilometre radius of the monument. The monument thus forms an integral part of long-established settlement in later prehistory in this region. Comparing and contrasting evidence from all these sites would considerably enhance our understanding of land use, the history of settlement pattern and social interaction within this region. Our knowledge of Iron-Age economy and social structure as well as domestic and ritual practice are also likely to be considerably enhanced by the study of this monument within the context of this group of features.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, in particular later prehistoric settlement enclosures and associated features, and land use in lowland settlements in this region and across Scotland. This contribution includes the nature of any interrelationships between monuments of similar dates as well as details of the Iron-Age society that built, inhabited and eventually abandoned such monuments. The unusually good survival of such monuments in this area enhances this potential, as much of the artefactual and ecofactual evidence is likely to survive. The loss of the monument would impede our ability to understand better the economic, agricultural and domestic basis for settlement in these types of Scottish landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NT86SE 8. The Scottish Borders Council SMR records the monument as 106001100.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS (1986) NT86SE 8 East Reston Mill Settlement, Linear Cropmarks Archive No. A 29060.

References:

Dent J and McDonald R 1997, EARLY SETTLERS IN THE BORDERS, Scottish Borders Council.

RCAHMS 1980b, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series No. 10, 28, No. 226, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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