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Whinnyrig, enclosed settlement, droveway and field system 130m ENE of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale East and Eskdale, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0135 / 55°0'48"N

Longitude: -3.0746 / 3°4'28"W

OS Eastings: 331378

OS Northings: 569303

OS Grid: NY313693

Mapcode National: GBR 6BZG.4L

Mapcode Global: WH6Y9.R72W

Entry Name: Whinnyrig, enclosed settlement, droveway and field system 130m ENE of

Scheduled Date: 19 December 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11995

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Gretna

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the surviving parts of an enclosed settlement, ditched droveway and field system of probable Iron-Age date. It is visible as cropmarks in aerial photographs and lies on a low rise in arable farmland immediately to the west, north and east of the former steading of Whinnyrig.

The enclosure is sub-rectangular in shape. The surrounding ditch is best defined on the east, south-east and north, where a broad, dark cropmark up to 4m wide encloses an area measuring about 70m E-W by at least 60m transversely. The S part of the enclosure has been destroyed by the former steading of Whinnyrig. A second enclosing ditch is visible on the north-east of the enclosure, about 5m to the outside of the main ditch. A small gap in the main ditch on the east marks the entrance of the enclosure. Immediately to the east of the entrance, a droveway extends eastwards for a distance of about 150m. The droveway is defined by two parallel ditches set about 30m apart. At its E end, the droveway terminates against a further ditch, which runs around the north of the enclosure in a wide arc and marks the outer edge of the field system. Likely to be of Iron-Age date, we can interpret the enclosure, droveway and field system as the remains of a farming settlement.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area is bounded on the S and NW by post-and-wire fences, which are themselves excluded from the scheduling. All above-ground elements of fences crossing the scheduled area are excluded from the scheduling, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

As a negative (buried) feature visible in the form of a cropmark on a range of aerial photographs, the enclosure is a good example of an enclosed settlement, likely to date to the late first millennium BC or early first millennium AD. Although the enclosure has been cultivated and partially destroyed by the former steading of Whinnyrig, evidence relating to domestic structures and economy may be preserved as buried deposits inside the enclosure. It is likely that a bank would have lain inside each of the ditches, and potential exists for a buried soil to be preserved both beneath the ploughed-out remains of the banks and within the ditches, providing evidence of the environment within which the enclosure, droveway and field system were created and used. The relationship between the ditched droveway and the entrance into the enclosure may provide evidence to further our understanding of the physical pattern of local settlement and animal husbandry in the Iron Age.

Contextual characteristics

The monument has the potential to contribute towards a better understanding of later prehistoric settlements, particularly those sited in low-lying non-defensive locations. Unlike this monument, most enclosures in eastern Dumfries and Galloway tend to be circular or oval on plan, built on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys. Once thought to be a relatively rare component of the settlement record, recent use of aerial photography shows that sub-rectangular enclosures are more widespread than previously appreciated. Comparing and contrasting this enclosure with other nearby examples can enable better understanding of how such sites were positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for the understanding of economy and social structure in the Iron Age. Later prehistoric droveways are rare in Scotland but there is a concentration of them in eastern Dumfries and Galloway. In eastern Dumfries and Galloway such enclosures may also provide evidence of native-Roman interaction.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular Iron-Age enclosed settlements and related remains. This is a relatively well-preserved example of a settlement type that characterises part of the wider Iron-Age domestic landscape, forming an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along the Solway Firth. Archaeological deposits preserved within the ditches and interior of the monument may provide information about the people who built and occupied the site, what the contemporary environment looked like, and how people managed this resource. Spatial analysis of this monument and others in the wider area may further our understanding of patterns of landholding during the Iron Age. Its loss would impede our future ability to appreciate and understand the Iron-Age landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NY36NW 30.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS 1984 A22585.

RCAHMS 1984 A22587.

RCAHMS 1984 A22588.

RCAHMS 1984 A22589.

References:

Mercer R 1997, ?Kirkpatrick Fleming Dumfriesshire. An Anatomy of a Parish in South West Scotland?, DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC, 15-16, 36, 42-43, Arch 60.

RCAHMS 1997, EASTERN DUMFRIESSHIRE: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE, Edinburgh: HMSO, 55-7, 166, 304, No. 921.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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