Ancient Monuments

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Whitecross, settlement 255m WSW of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.8755 / 55°52'31"N

Longitude: -2.1519 / 2°9'6"W

OS Eastings: 390592

OS Northings: 664712

OS Grid: NT905647

Mapcode National: GBR F0DH.XN

Mapcode Global: WH9XW.XLG4

Entry Name: Whitecross, settlement 255m WSW of

Scheduled Date: 5 January 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12347

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises a rectangular enclosure with an annexe visible as a cropmark on oblique aerial photographs. The remains are interpreted as the site of a later prehistoric enclosed settlement. The site is situated on a terrace about 255m WSW of Whitecross.

The rectangular enclosure measures about 32m by 27m and is defined by a ditch that is around 2m wide. An entrance is clearly defined in the E side of the enclosure ditch. A group of four circular or subcircular marks are visible within the rectangular enclosure and may relate to structures or activities connected with the occupation of the site. The annexe, attached to the N side, appears as an incomplete L-shaped cropmark, whose E ditch is approximately 50m in length. No internal features can be discerned on aerial photographs and the RCAHMS estimate the annexe bounded an area of about 38m square.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains visible on the aerial photography and an area around in which evidence relating to the construction and use of the site 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 as a negative feature clearly visible as a cropmark on aerial photographs. The internal features may indicate that the settlement was occupied over a number of phases. The boundary ditch and interior of the rectangular enclosure are likely to preserve archaeological deposits relating to the construction, occupation and subsequent abandonment of the monument. The interior of the annexe and the fills of its surviving ditches have potential to clarify its relationship with the rectangular enclosure and identify its date and purpose.

Contextual characteristics

A second rectangular enclosure, slightly smaller in size, lies approximately 360m to the SSW. The archaeological relationship between these sites is unclear, but the proximity of these sites may reflect a group of contemporary settlements. Alternatively, the sites may reflect separate episodes of settlement in the area.

Rectangular enclosures of this type are more common in East Lothian, which could suggest contacts between communities in this part of the Scottish Borders and East Lothian. Alternatively these sites could reflect the settlement of incomers from East Lothian in this part of the Scottish Borders.

As the remains of a late prehistoric enclosed settlement site the monument offers the potential to reveal much about domestic life and the economic base in the later prehistoric communities of the Scottish Borders. Comparing and contrasting it to other lowland cropmark sites and extant upland enclosures, both within and outside the region, can create an understanding of regional identity, economy and society.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it is has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular enclosures and settlement patterns from the late prehistoric period. Buried deposits from sites such as this have potential to inform our understanding of the physical layout and development of the monument as well as providing an insight into wider society at the time, the way in which people lived, where they came from and who they had contact with. The importance of the monument is further enhanced by the fact that rectangular enclosed settlements, a characteristic of late prehistoric settlement in East Lothian, are relatively uncommon in the Scottish Borders. The monument has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of landuse and society in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland in the later prehistoric period. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to ability understand the use of such monuments and their placing within the late prehistoric landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NT96SW 27. The Scottish Borders Council SMR designation is 1060049.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS 1977, BW 2077, Whitecross, Enclosure I.

RCAHMS 1984, A 22467, Whitecross, Enclosure I.


RCAHMS 1980, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series No. 10, 33, No. 267, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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