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Atton, settlement 570m north of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.8816 / 55°52'53"N

Longitude: -2.2739 / 2°16'25"W

OS Eastings: 382965

OS Northings: 665419

OS Grid: NT829654

Mapcode National: GBR D0KF.JF

Mapcode Global: WH9XV.1FHF

Entry Name: Atton, settlement 570m N of

Scheduled Date: 4 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12504

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of an enclosed settlement, visible as a cropmark, of probable later prehistoric date. It is located around 160m above sea-level on the crest of a small rise, part of the SW-facing slope of Bell Hill, overlooking the Eye Water, which is around 750m to the WSW from the site.

This monument is visible as a sub-circular cropmark within a cereal crop, captured on a series of oblique aerial photographs, the most recent taken in 1996. Cropmarks represent negative archaeological features. These features retain moisture differently to the surrounding subsoil, resulting in variation of growth of the crops above. A single ditch encloses an area around 75m E-W by about 55m transversely. The ditch has a fairly uniform width of around 2-3m. There is an entrance visible on the SW side of the ditch. Further cropmarks within and around the enclosure may well indicate the remains of related features, such as buildings and other structures.

The area to be scheduled is circular in plan, centred on the settlement, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to their construction, use and abandonment 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

As a buried feature clearly visible in the form of a cropmark on recent aerial photographs, the monument is a good example of an enclosed settlement site, likely to be late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date, surviving in an area of agricultural activity. Although the area is in cultivation, evidence relating to domestic structures and the activities undertaken within and around them is likely to be preserved as buried deposits within and around the enclosure, and this potential is enhanced by cropmarks visible within and around the enclosure. Deposits surviving in the ditch have the potential to provide evidence of the environment within which the settlement enclosure was constructed. The ditch and other surviving negative features are also likely to contain deposits that can tell us about the economy of the inhabitants of the enclosure, the date at which it was built, used and abandoned and what may have happened in and around the site subsequently.

Contextual characteristics

The monument belongs to a large and widespread class of enclosure monuments, found throughout Scotland. As such it has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of enclosed settlements. As well as individual features, the wider setting and context of these monuments can help us to understand their purpose and significance. The monument sits on a SW-facing slope overlooking the Eye Water. The view is good across and along the valley of the Eye Water. The N arc of the view is obscured by Bell Hill.

This section of the Eye Water valley contains a variety of remains from the prehistoric period. Along with other parts of the Scottish Borders where there is similar survival, such an extensive landscape of prehistoric remains offers a unique opportunity to assess the Iron-Age environment, society and economy and the relationships between the physical remains of the period. Comparing and contrasting the situation of the settlement to other examples both nearby and within the wider area can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for Iron-Age economy and the structure of society. Information gained from the preservation and study of this site can be used to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-Age enclosed settlement across Scotland.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, in particular later prehistoric settlement enclosures and associated features. This contribution extends to their location within the landscape and the relationship between them, as well as the Iron-Age society that created and inhabited them. The loss of the monument will impede our ability to understand the nature of later prehistoric activity, not just in the Scottish Borders but across Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NT86NW 6: Renton Barns. The Scottish Borders Council SMR reference is 1060018.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS (1983) NT86NW 6 Oblique aerial view BW 4928.

RCAHMS (1986) NT86NW 6 Oblique aerial view A 29684.

References:

RCAHMS 1980, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series No. 10, 32, No. 258, Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

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

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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