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Warlawbank, fort 140m north west of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8509 / 55°51'3"N

Longitude: -2.2711 / 2°16'15"W

OS Eastings: 383124

OS Northings: 661996

OS Grid: NT831619

Mapcode National: GBR D0LS.3G

Mapcode Global: WH9Y1.26SH

Entry Name: Warlawbank, fort 140m NW of

Scheduled Date: 9 October 1992

Last Amended: 31 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5428

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort)

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a multivallate fort, surviving as low banks and ditches visible on the ground and from the air in cropmarks. The site is likely to date to the Iron Age or early-historic period (late 1st millennium BC to early 1st millennium AD). The fort is situated in a naturally defensive position on the summit of Horseley Hill. The monument was first scheduled in 1992; this rescheduling revises the scheduled area in line with current practice.

The oval fort is defined by the remains of two ramparts with a medial ditch, with slight remains of a third rampart visible on the NE arc of the fort. The earthworks have been reduced by ploughing, but can still be traced as low banks around the inner rampart circuit, with section of the outer also visible. The ramparts are between 5m and 10m in width and enclose an area measuring around 115m E-W by around 70m transversely. There are two entrances to the fort, on the ESE and WSW respectively. A large cropmark ring ditch occupies the E end of the fort's interior, measuring around 65m E-W by around 55m transversely.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all post-and-wire fences and stone dykes to allow for their maintenance, along with the water tank located on the S edge of the fort.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

Preserved as reduced but upstanding remains, the monument represents an excellent example of a bivallate defended fort and associated linear features, likely to be late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date. Although the interior of this site has been ploughed, there is good potential for the survival of buried deposits relating to domestic structures and the economy of the fort's inhabitants. Evidence such as this may enhance our understanding of the social structures and domestic architecture of the Iron-Age people who built and used this monument. There is high potential for the preservation of a buried ground surface beneath the ramparts, which may provide evidence of the environment within which Iron-Age people built the fort. The ditches and other negative features are likely to contain deposits and archaeological features relating to the construction and occupation of the site, and its association with the surrounding landscape, where there may have been field systems. It is possible that the multiple ditches may represent more than one phase of construction.

Contextual characteristics

The significance of the fort is enhanced by its survival in an area of considerable agricultural activity and its close proximity to another multivallate fort approximately 1.4km to the ESE.

The site offers us the capacity to develop a better understanding of forts and defended settlements, particularly the choice of site in relation to natural features. This example is located on the summit of Horseley Hill, a naturally defensive site that gives extensive views in all directions. Forts are often located near to smaller sites such as scooped or enclosed settlements, suggesting either a potential hierarchy if the sites are contemporary, or reflecting a change in social structure and economy and thus preferred settlement location if the sites are sequential. As a group, relatively little work on prehistoric sites in the Scottish Borders has been carried out, despite the high number of such sites in the area. Where excavation has been carried out, the forts frequently revealed well-preserved Iron-Age remains. In addition, although many prehistoric sites have been identified, little work has been done in identifying the relationships between such sites through time. This lack of comprehensive study in an area with an extensively surviving prehistoric landscape, such as is the case in the Scottish Borders, leaves a large gap in knowledge of the patterns of settlement and the relation of this to the wider landscape and social and economic climate of the time. Comparing and contrasting the monument to other nearby forts and defended settlements can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for the understanding of Iron-Age economy and structure of society. We can use information gained from the preservation and study of this site to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-Age forts across Scotland.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular to forts and enclosed settlements of the late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD. The fort forms an intrinsic element of the Iron-Age or early-historic settlement pattern in the area. Domestic remains and artefacts from forts have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from, who they had contacts with, provide us with evidence of native-Roman interaction, and may offer an insight into the function of forts. Archaeological deposits preserved beneath the ramparts and within the ditches and interior of the monument can provide information about the nature of the contemporary environment and the use prehistoric farmers made of it. Spatial analysis of similar sites can inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement. Its loss would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape both in the Scottish Borders and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Iron-Age social structure, economy and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NT86SW 8. The Scottish Borders Council SMR designation is 1060028.

References:

RCAHMS 1980, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Berwickshire District, Borders Region, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series no 10, 23, No. 180. Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Christison, D 1895, 'The forts of Selkirk, the Gala Water, the Southern slopes of the Lammermoors, and the north of Roxburgh', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 29, 165.

McDonald, R and Dent, J 1997 Early Settlers in the Borders, Melrose: Scottish Borders Council.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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