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Auchencrow Mains, settlements 460m west of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8334 / 55°50'0"N

Longitude: -2.2365 / 2°14'11"W

OS Eastings: 385282

OS Northings: 660047

OS Grid: NT852600

Mapcode National: GBR D0TZ.LQ

Mapcode Global: WH9Y1.MM6W

Entry Name: Auchencrow Mains, settlements 460m W of

Scheduled Date: 17 February 1992

Last Amended: 31 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5313

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 a pair of settlements of probable later prehistoric date, visible as cropmarks on aerial photographs. They are located at around 100-105m above sea level on the SE-facing slope of a small, unnamed hill around 920m NW of the Auchencrow Burn. The site was originally scheduled in 1992, but the scheduling does not meet modern standards; the present rescheduling rectifies this..

The western settlement survives as a single rectilinear ditch, enclosing an area around 60m N-S by around 75m transversely. The ditch measures between 0.5m and 5m in width. A gap in the E side of 6m wide indicates the entrance to the enclosure. A single, subcircular feature of around 12m diameter within the W end of the enclosure is likely to indicate the surviving remains of an internal feature, such as a building and other structure.

The eastern settlement survives as a single subcircular ditch, enclosing an area around 40m N-S by around 45m transversely. The ditch measures up to 3m in width and no entrance can be clearly identified from the visible cropmarks. Although no internal features are visible within the enclosure, experience from other similar sites has taught us that remains of structures and related features commonly survive even though the cropmarks do not show them.

Another cropmark is visible 10m W of the W side of the second settlement. This is a roughly semi-circular mark, around 6m in diameter and with a small circular feature visible on its N side, possibly a post-hole. This may well relate to the remains of a roundhouse or similar structure and the relationship of this to one or both of the settlements may yield valuable information on the nature of later prehistoric settlement.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling extends up to but specifically excludes the post-and-wire fence that marks the S edge of the scheduled area, to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

As a series of plough-truncated features clearly visible in the in cropmarks on recent aerial photographs, the monument is a good example of a pair of enclosed settlement sites, likely to be late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date. The presence of a single possible structure between the two settlements which may relate to one or both of the enclosures is a rare feature, and enhances the overall potential of the site. It is likely that a bank would have lain inside the circuit of the ditches on both settlements and potential exists for survival of a buried soil beneath any remaining vestiges of this bank. Deposits may also survive within the ditches and these will provide evidence of the environment within which the settlement enclosures were constructed. 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 settlements, the date at which they was built, used and abandoned and what may have happened in and around the sites subsequently.

Contextual characteristics

The monument belongs to a large and widespread class of later prehistoric enclosed settlement sites, found throughout Scotland. As such it has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of this monument class. The landscape setting of monuments such as this was an important factor in their construction, and analysis of this can further enhance our knowledge of their purpose and significance. The monument sits on the SE-facing slope of a small hill to the south of the Eye Water valley and there are good views in all directions. This area of the Eye Water valley and surrounding area contains a variety of remains from the prehistoric period. Along with other parts of the SE Scottish Borders where there is similar survival, such an extensive landscape of prehistoric remains offers a unique opportunity to assess the Iron-Age environment, society and economy and the relationships between the physical remains of the period. Despite this, very little work has been carried out in the area to this end, and the Eye Water area sites are important as an excellent potential study area for such work, the results of which could then be utilised much further afield across Scotland.

Comparing and contrasting the situation of this settlement to other examples both nearby and within the wider area can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for Iron-Age economy and social structure. Information gained from the preservation and study of this site can be used to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-Age enclosed settlement across Scotland.

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. This contribution extends to their location within the landscape and the relationship between them, as well as the Iron-Age society that created and inhabited them. The loss of the monument will impede our ability to understand the nature of later prehistoric activity, not just in the Scottish Borders but across Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NT 86 SE 3.

Aerial photographs used:

RCAHMS (1976) NT86SE 3 Auchencrow Mains, enclosures BW 1642

RCAHMS (2006) NT86SE 3 Auchencrow Mains DP 019467

RCAHMS (2006) NT86SE 3 Auchencrow Mains DP 019468

References:

RCAHMS 1980, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Berwickshire District, Borders Region, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series no 10, 40, No. 329. Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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