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Chester's Dikes, settlement

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8409 / 55°50'27"N

Longitude: -2.5152 / 2°30'54"W

OS Eastings: 367832

OS Northings: 660973

OS Grid: NT678609

Mapcode National: GBR B0WX.81

Mapcode Global: WH8WS.BGJ4

Entry Name: Chester's Dikes, settlement

Scheduled Date: 20 February 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12420

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Cranshaws

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Mid Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire

Description

The monument is a later prehistoric enclosed settlement likely to date to the late 1st millennium BC to early 1st millennium AD. Roughly circular in plan, it survives, largely in woodland, as several lengths of upstanding earthwork. The settlement lies at 280m above sea level on a S-facing slope some 60m to the north of the Thorter Cleugh, which drains into the Boontree Burn to the east.

The monument comprises at least two stone ramparts and an intermediate ditch, between 3.5-4m wide. The ramparts are most visible on the N and W sides of the monument. The inner, and most complete rampart, measures up to 1.5m in height and 3m wide. Traces of possible further ramparts can be seen to the north and east of the monument and also within the circuit of the main rampart on the E side. The most complete circuit of rampart measures some 100m in diameter and, where visible, the inner and outer ramparts are less than 10m apart. No obvious entrance has been identified and there are no visible traces of internal features.

The area to be scheduled is sub-circular with a clipped SW arc, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling extends up but excludes a track to the south and a quarry that clips the SW part of the monument. The scheduling specifically excludes, to allow for their maintenance, the above-ground elements of: a deer fence on the W side; a drystone dyke and fence crossing the south-west of the site; and a grouse shelter and feeders on the south-west of the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument survives with a reasonable proportion of the main structural elements intact as upstanding earthworks. It is an example of a multivallate enclosed settlement, potentially with a defensive function, and likely to date to the late 1st millennium BC to early 1st millennium AD. The ramparts are still extant in several parts of the monument and it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to its construction, use and abandonment survive in situ. It is also likely that upstanding features will cover buried soils and related environmental evidence that would aid our understanding of the environment in which the monument was constructed. The ditch has the potential to contain similar deposits, and also those accumulated during the use and subsequent abandonment of the monument. These have the potential to inform our understanding of how the monument was used and the sorts of activities which were associated with this use.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located at a strong, strategic, position within the landscape and one which must have been deliberately sought for the extensive views in all directions and proximity to the burn. Comparison with similar sites within the locality and further afield can enable an understanding of the place of enclosed settlements in the pattern of later prehistoric settlement. Within the immediate area there is as an yet undated ditched enclosure, revealed as a cropmark, 100m to the south of the monument. Comparison of these monuments may clarify the nature of any relationship between them and further inform our knowledge of settlement development through time.

Information gained from further study of specific elements of this site could provide an insight into Iron-Age society and economy. It also has the potential to inform our knowledge of the nature of any interaction with other groups of people active in this area at the time, such as the Romans.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our 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. 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 knowledge of the environment within which the monument was built.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the site as Chester's Dikes, NT66SE2. The Scottish Borders Council SMR records the monument as 1080005.

References:

RCAHMS 1915, SIXTH REPORT AND INVENTORY OF MONUMENTS AND CONSTRUCTIONS IN THE COUNTY OF BERWICK, Revision, Edinburgh, HMSO, 59, No. 111.

RCAHMS 1980, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series No. 10, 28, No. 221, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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