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Nutholmhill, settlement 160m east of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.0751 / 55°4'30"N

Longitude: -3.3616 / 3°21'41"W

OS Eastings: 313159

OS Northings: 576477

OS Grid: NY131764

Mapcode National: GBR 49ZR.0H

Mapcode Global: WH6XS.BPGP

Entry Name: Nutholmhill, settlement 160m E of

Scheduled Date: 7 February 2008

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11922

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: St Mungo

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises a settlement of probable Iron-Age date, situated on fairly level ground on the SW flank of Nutholm Hill, 160m E of Nutholmhill Farm. It lies on an area of flat ground at about 100m above sea level.

The grass-covered and roughly circular enclosure measures about 25m in diameter within a broad inner bank that measures approximately 10m wide and between 0.3m and 0.5m high. A shallow ditch, best preserved to the north, surrounds the enclosure. Beyond this, the remains of an outer bank are preserved to the north-west. A fence and small road cuts across the SE edge of the monument, removing part of the inner bank, ditch, and outer bank. Although ploughing and improvement of the pasture has denuded the earthworks, the extent of the settlement can still be easily defined, with the best preservation occurring where the fence cuts across the inner bank in the south-east.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan on plan, to include the settlement, its banks, and an area around within which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to, but excludes the fence to the south-east.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

Visible as a series of turf covered banks enclosing a well-defined interior, the monument is an excellent example of a small, well-preserved settlement of probable Iron-Age date, surviving in an area of agricultural activity. Although the interior has been cultivated, buried deposits inside the interior may preserve evidence relating to potential domestic structures and economy. The potential exists for an old ground surface or buried soil to remain preserved beneath the perimeter banks, and for the shallow ditch to preserve environmental deposits that would provide evidence of the Iron-Age environment within which later prehistoric farmers built the settlement. The monument has the potential to further our understanding of Iron-Age farming life through analysis of the structural features of small settlements and through the preservation of deposits relating to domestic and agricultural practices.

Contextual characteristics

The proximity of this site on the flanks of the hill to the nearby remains of the fort on top of Nutholm Hill suggests either a potential hierarchy if the sites are contemporary, or reflects a change in social structure and economy and thus preferred settlement location if the sites are sequential. Iron-Age enclosed settlements are found widely throughout eastern Dumfries and Galloway, but they tend to occur in clustered intervals along the sides of valleys. It may be that more were originally located in low-lying areas, but once ploughing and agriculture have removed the perimeter bank the interior is very difficult to recognise, even on aerial photographs. Spatial analysis of Iron-Age enclosed settlements and other settlement sites in the region may further our understanding of settlement location, the structure of society, and the Iron Age economy. We can use information gained from the preservation and study of this site to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-Age enclosed settlement across Scotland.

Associative characteristics

The monument is named on both the Ordnance Survey 1st and 2nd edition maps as being a fort, and the immediate area is known as Camp Hill. These associations probably suggest that local residents in the past have had an awareness of the significance and value of the earthworks.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it is a well-preserved enclosed settlement that characterises the wider Iron-Age domestic landscape, forming an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along the River Annan and Water of Milk. Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. The old ground surfaces sealed by the perimeter banks can provide information about what the contemporary environment looked like and how the prehistoric farmers who lived here managed it. Its loss would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape both in this region 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 NY17NW 6.

References:

RCAHMS 1920, SEVENTH REPORT WITH INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE COUNTY OF DUMFRIES, Edinburgh: HMSO.

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

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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