Ancient Monuments

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Cottage Hospital, settlement 250m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.646 / 55°38'45"N

Longitude: -2.2671 / 2°16'1"W

OS Eastings: 383289

OS Northings: 639193

OS Grid: NT832391

Mapcode National: GBR D3L4.ZX

Mapcode Global: WH9Z0.4CQ1

Entry Name: Cottage Hospital, settlement 250m SW of

Scheduled Date: 4 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12356

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Coldstream

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Mid Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises a semi-circular enclosed settlement likely to be of late-prehistoric or early-historic date, surviving as a buried, cropmarked feature visible on aerial photographs. The site lies close to a S-facing slope overlooking the River Tweed within an arable field, at around 30m above sea level.

The interior of the site measures approximately 70m by 50m transversely within a pair of ditches up to 5m wide and approximately 10-15m apart. The ditches protect the E, N and W approaches and are likely to have been associated with a rampart. A possible entrance may be present on the NW side of the site. The S approach exploits the steep slope overlooking the Tweed. Cropmarks of internal features, a single large circular mark and three smaller pit-like features, are visible on aerial photographs and may relate to structures or other occupation remains.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them in which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all post-and-wire fences to allow for maintenance.

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 buried feature now visible as a cropmark. The site represents a good example of a multi-vallate defended site likely to be late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date that survives in an area of intensive cultivation. The cropmarks of the site suggest the potential for the preservation of buried archaeology is high, while the marks visible within the site may relate to buried deposits containing remains of domestic structures and occupation evidence. The monument has the potential to enhance our understanding of the social structures and domestic architecture of the people who built and lived within the site. It is likely that a rampart would have lain just inside each of the ditches and potential exists for the preservation of buried soils not only beneath the ramparts but also within the ditches, providing evidence of the environment within which Iron-Age people built the site. Both the ditches and ploughed-out ramparts may contain deposits and archaeological features relating to the construction and occupation of the site and it is possible that the twin ramparts and ditches may signify more than one phase of construction and occupation.

Contextual characteristics

The site offers the potential to enhance our understanding of defended settlements and forts, particularly those sited on low rises in or adjacent to the floors of valleys. Enclosed settlements of Iron-Age date are often sited close to forts, suggesting either a potential hierarchy if the sites are contemporary, or may reflect changes to the local social structure and economy. Comparing and contrasting this site to others nearby, notably the substantial hill fort on Hirsel Law, we can improve our understanding of their position in the landscape, as well as learning more about the economy and the structure of the local Iron-Age society. Several enclosed settlements and forts in the study area occupy positions overlooking the Tweed, some relying on the steep slopes of the valley for defence, suggesting the river offered not only a defensive feature but represented a transport route that settlements could access and exploit.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular to late-prehistoric or early-historic forts and defended settlements. The site forms part of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along the Tweed. Domestic remains and artefacts from sites such as this have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from, who they had contacts with, provide us with evidence of native-Roman interaction, and may offer an insight into the function of enclosed settlements. Archaeological deposits preserved beneath ploughed-out ramparts and within the ditches and interior of the monument may provide information about the nature of the contemporary environment and the use prehistoric farmers made of it. On a broader perspective, spatial analysis of similar sites may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement. Its loss would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments in the landscape, particularly the siting of enclosed settlements and forts in the agricultural fringe of the River Tweed in Berwickshire, as well as our wider knowledge of Iron-Age social structure, economy and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NT83NW 18. The monument is listed a monument 10700103 by Scottish Borders Council SMR.


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

RCAHMS 1980, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland series No. 10, No. 186, Edinburgh: Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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