Ancient Monuments

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Burnbrae, enclosure 270m west of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale South, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 54.9825 / 54°58'56"N

Longitude: -3.1919 / 3°11'30"W

OS Eastings: 323820

OS Northings: 565970

OS Grid: NY238659

Mapcode National: GBR 6B4T.RQ

Mapcode Global: WH6YF.Y175

Entry Name: Burnbrae, enclosure 270m W of

Scheduled Date: 19 December 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12189

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive)

Location: Dornock

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale South

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the remains of a univallate settlement enclosure, visible as cropmarks on aerial photography. The enclosure is likely to date to the 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD. The monument lies on a small knoll in an arable field, at 15m above sea level and less than 1km from the coast.

The enclosure is roughly rectangular in plan. The part of the enclosure visible as cropmarks measures a maximum of 65m N-S by 70m transversely. The enclosure ditch is 3m wide. There is an entrance on the north and a possible entrance in the E side of the enclosure. Various cropmark maculae (patchy features) are visible within the enclosure in aerial photographs; these are likely to indicate the presence of roundhouses and other domestic features.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which related material may be expected to be found, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The fence on the south is specifically excluded from the scheduled area.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument consists of a settlement enclosure surviving as a negative (buried) feature and visible in the form of a cropmarks on a range of aerial photographs. The monument is a good example of a univallate sub-rectangular enclosure, likely to date to the late first millennium BC or early first millennium AD, surviving in an area of agricultural activity. Although the site has been cultivated, buried deposits within the interior may preserve evidence relating to possible domestic structures and economy. The ditch may contain deposits and archaeological features relating to the construction and occupation of the monument.

The monument has considerable potential to enhance understanding of Iron-Age domestic, defensive and ritual activity. The location of the enclosure, on a knoll in the lowland zone, close to an unnamed burn and the sea suggests that access to good agricultural land and marine resources was important to its builders.

Contextual characteristics

This enclosure has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of univallate settlements, particularly those sited in low-lying undefendable areas. Most enclosures in eastern Dumfries and Galloway are circular or oval on plan, built on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys. They tend to lie in close proximity to each other. Once thought to be a relatively rare component of the settlement record, recent use of aerial photography has revealed that sub-rectangular enclosures are more widespread than previously appreciated. Comparing and contrasting the enclosure to other nearby examples can enable an understanding of the relationship between such sites, as well as shedding light on the Iron-Age economy and structure of society. This monument therefore has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of forts and enclosed settlements and in particular the place of lowland enclosures in the later prehistoric settlement pattern.

In eastern Dumfries and Galloway, such enclosures may also provide evidence of native-Roman interaction. For this reason, this monument's significance is enhanced by its proximity to the Roman complex at Birrens (SMs 666, 2746 and 2613), less than 1km to the north. Research on Iron-Age settlement sites across northern Britain suggests that Iron-Age people actively avoided fish as a food group. The monument's proximity to the coast means that it also presents the potential to enhance our understanding of the extent to which later prehistoric people made use of marine resources.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to enhance our understanding of a settlement type that characterises the wider Iron-Age domestic landscape, forming an important aspect of the later prehistoric settlement pattern on the Solway Plain. Domestic remains and artefacts from enclosures and settlements have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from, who they had contacts with, and provide evidence of native-Roman interaction. Archaeological deposits preserved within the ditch and interior of the monument may provide information about what the contemporary environment looked like and how prehistoric farmers used it. Spatial analysis of sites may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments (particularly those in low-lying undefendable locations) within the landscape both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Iron-Age social structure, economy, and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as Dornock, settlement, NY26NW19.


A22686 - Dornock, settlement.

A22687 - Dornock, settlement.

B23366 - Dornock, settlement.

B23368 - Dornock, settlement.



Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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