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Braehill, enclosed settlement 450m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale South, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0266 / 55°1'35"N

Longitude: -3.38 / 3°22'47"W

OS Eastings: 311882

OS Northings: 571097

OS Grid: NY118710

Mapcode National: GBR 4BV9.1X

Mapcode Global: WH6XZ.1XSF

Entry Name: Braehill, enclosed settlement 450m SW of

Scheduled Date: 22 January 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12165

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Dalton

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale South

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a fort and settlement enclosures, visible from the air as a series of cropmarks. The monument is of Iron-Age date, likely the 1st millennium BC and/or early 1st millennium AD, and forms part of a wider pattern of later prehistoric defensive and domestic structures in eastern Dumfries and Galloway. It lies in the Annan valley, at 75-80m above sea level.

The fort and settlement enclosures are defined on aerial photographs by lines of darker vegetation. The enclosure complex measures a maximum of 150m E-W by about 110m transversely and lies on the summit of a small hill. It consists of at least two large enclosures, the inner defined by a single ditch with an entrance break on the east-north-east and the outer possibly by double ditches. These are intersected by the ditch of a much smaller circular enclosure, measuring approximately 50m in diameter, with an elaborate entrance on the east.

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 scheduled area is bounded on the south-west, south-east and south by a fenceline, which is specifically excluded from the scheduling.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a particularly good example of a multi-phase settlement, likely to date to the late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD, possibly including the period of Roman occupation of the area. Although the interior has been cultivated, there is potential for archaeologically significant deposits relating to the construction, use and abandonment of the fort and settlement to remain in place. In addition, it is possible that deposits survive that could provide data relating to the later prehistoric environment. The monument has considerable potential to enhance understanding of Iron-Age domestic, defensive and ritual activity.

The complex remains at Braehill represent the accumulated remains of repeated construction on, and occupation of, a single site and therefore have the potential to provide information relating to a relatively long period of time.

Contextual characteristics

This monument has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of forts and enclosed settlements, in particular the role of lowland defensive settlement enclosures in the later prehistoric settlement pattern. The commanding location of the site suggests that control of the landscape and visibility from within it were important to its builders. The significance of Braehill is enhanced by its proximity to the later prehistoric promontory fort at Dalton (RCAHMS no. NY17SW2) and the enclosed settlement of Moss Castle (RCAHMS no. NY17SW12), both less than 3km to the north. Spatial analysis of these and other settlement sites in the region may further our understanding of settlement location, the structure of society, and the Iron-Age economy. In eastern Dumfries and Galloway such enclosures may also provide evidence of native-Roman interaction. We can therefore use information gained from the preservation and study of these sites together to gain an insight into Iron-Age enclosed settlement across Scotland.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular Iron-Age society, the design and construction of hillforts and the nature of Iron-Age domestic, defensive and ritual practice. This monument is a good example of a settlement type that characterises the wider Iron-Age domestic landscape, forming an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along the River Annan. The survival of remains relating to multiple phases of occupation on a single site enhances this potential. The loss of this example would seriously impede our ability to understand Iron-Age settlement patterns, social structure, economy and building practices both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as Braehill, Fort; Settlement (Possible), NY17SW27 and Braehill, Enclosure, NY17SW28. Dumfries and Galloway Sites and Monuments Record record the monument as Braehill, Settlement; Fort, MDG7094 and Braehill, Enclosure, MDG7095.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS 1984 A22715 Braehill, Fort, Settlement (possible); Enclosure.

RCAHMS 1984 A22716 Braehill, Fort, Settlement (possible); Enclosure.

RCAHMS 1984 A22717 Braehill, Fort, Settlement (possible); Enclosure.

References:

RCAHMS 1997, EASTERN DUMFRIESSHIRE: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE, Edinburgh: RCAHMS.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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