Ancient Monuments

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Brierfield, settlement 305m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.8479 / 55°50'52"N

Longitude: -2.1909 / 2°11'27"W

OS Eastings: 388142

OS Northings: 661643

OS Grid: NT881616

Mapcode National: GBR F04T.GK

Mapcode Global: WH9Y2.98YT

Entry Name: Brierfield, settlement 305m SW of

Scheduled Date: 5 January 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12537

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises the remains of an oval enclosure with internal features visible as cropmarks in cultivated land, interpreted as a settlement dating to the later prehistoric period. The monument is located between 80m and 85m above sea level and is around 600m to the south of Eye Water.

Cropmarks represent negative archaeological features, the fills of which retain more moisture than the surrounding subsoil, resulting in the enhanced growth of the crops above. The traces of the settlement, as transcribed from aerial photographs, consist of lengths of curving ditch, between 4-6m wide, forming an oval enclosure. The enclosure measures around 110m E-W by around 80m transversely. There is an entrance on the W side measuring 9m wide, and the ditches widen at the entrance to form terminals that curve on plan. Two further breaks in the circuit, in the NW and SW parts, correspond with a field boundary bisecting the site. Within the E of the interior are two intersecting scooped features, interpreted as the remains of hut circles. These each have a diameter of around 17m.

The area to be scheduled is ovoid in plan, to include the remains described and area around within which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument survives well as clearly visible marks within arable cultivation on aerial photographs, the most of recent of which date from 2000. The two conjoined circular features within the interior also appear as slight depressions, visible on the ground. It is a good and well-preserved example of an enclosed settlement, with clear evidence of internal features, the form of which indicates it is likely to date to later prehistory. The monument has an inherent potential to inform our knowledge of later prehistoric settlement form and architectural style.

The enclosure ditch and other associated negative features are likely to contain archaeologically significant deposits and artefacts, which have an inherent potential to inform our understanding of the economic, social and ritual practices of the contemporary occupants. Artefactual evidence can further our knowledge of activities and practices at the settlement and inform our understanding of trade and other contact with indigenous peoples from within the region or those from further afield, such as the incoming Romans.

It is likely that a bank of upcast would have been created by the digging of the ditch and potential exists for survival of a buried soil beneath any remaining vestiges of this bank, or any other features constructed over the contemporary landscape. These buried land surfaces have a great potential to inform our knowledge of the environment within which the monument was constructed. Soils may also survive within the lengths of ditch and these will also provide evidence of the environment at time of construction and habitation and abandonment.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located on the river terrace of the Eye Water, 600m to the N. The terrain is gently sloping and the monument is located on the NW aspect of Cow Hill.

There is an extensive landscape of prehistoric remains along the Eye Water valley and the lowland landscape surrounding the monument is rich in contemporary remains. There is another enclosure 940m to the west, while 980m to the south-east are at least three hut circles. Further settlement evidence is situated 500m to the north-east and another roundhouse is also located 1050m in this direction. All of these monuments survive as cropmarks. It is evident that the monument forms an integral part of long-established settlement in later prehistory in this region. Comparing and contrasting evidence from all these sites would considerably enhance our understanding of land use, the history of settlement pattern and social interaction within this region. Our knowledge of Iron-Age economy and social structure as well as domestic and ritual practice are also likely to be considerably enhanced by the study of this monument within the context of this group of features.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to an understanding of the past, in particular the construction, use and abandonment of enclosed settlement in the Iron Age. Further, the monument has the potential to inform an understanding of domestic settlement pattern of this period and archaeological deposits preserved within features of the monument may provide information about the society that created and used it. The monument also retains the potential to contribute to our knowledge of the environment within which the monument was built.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT86SE 24. The Scottish Borders Council SMR records the monument as 1060002.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS (1983) NT86SE 24 Reston, enclosure and linear cropmarks BW 4764.

RCAHMS (1983) NT86SE 24 Reston, enclosure and linear cropmarks BW 4840.

RCAHMS (1990) NT86SE 24 Reston, settlement enclosure (possible) B 43807.

RCAHMS (1995) NT86SE 24 Reston, settlement, enclosure, linear cropmarks C 46496.


Dent J and McDonald R 1997, EARLY SETTLERS IN THE BORDERS, Scottish Borders Council.

RCAHMS 1980b, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland.Series No. 10, 4, No. 386, Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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