Ancient Monuments

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Huldies Cottage, enclosures 175m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.8481 / 55°50'53"N

Longitude: -2.1186 / 2°7'6"W

OS Eastings: 392674

OS Northings: 661662

OS Grid: NT926616

Mapcode National: GBR F0NT.4G

Mapcode Global: WH9Y3.F8DL

Entry Name: Huldies Cottage, enclosures 175m SW of

Scheduled Date: 30 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12539

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive); Secular: farmstead

Location: Ayton

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises the remains of a ditched curvilinear enclosure and an adjacent rectilinear enclosure, visible as cropmarks within cultivated land and interpreted as a settlement enclosure dating to the later prehistoric period and a later farmstead of probable medieval date. The monument is located at 65m above sea-level, 580m SSE of the Eye Water. The N edge of the monument now lies under the A1 trunk road.

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 transcribed elements of the monument consist of a single ditched rectilinear enclosure measuring 25m NNW-SSE by 14m transversely. The enclosure ditch is less than 1m in width. The NE corner of the rectilinear enclosure is interrupted by a further rectangular feature measuring around 4m by 5m and oriented WNW-ESE. The curvilinear enclosure is located less than 3m to the E of the first enclosure. It is defined by a single ditch, seen most clearly in the northern half of the monument and measuring around 4m to 6m in width. There is the suggestion of an interruption in the north of the ditch where the W terminal widens out. An alternative interpretation is that the circuit ditch is overlain by a circular feature, some 8m to 11m in diameter and potentially a later, scooped domestic structure. The enclosure is ovoid in plan and measures around 53m NNW-SSE by around 46m transversely. Within the interior is a large negative feature, visible as a darker mark, and measuring between 25m and 28m in diameter.

The area to be scheduled is irregular in plan, to include the visible remains and an area around them within which evidence relating to their creation 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

Archaeologists have identified the monument from a series of oblique aerial photographs taken in 1978 and 1983. These clearly show the remains of at least two adjacent enclosures and associated features. The form of the curvilinear enclosure indicates that it is likely to be an enclosed settlement of later prehistoric date. Although the A1 overlies part of the site, the level of any consequent disturbance to the monument appears minimal and enough of the monument is unaffected to ensure a marked degree of survival. It is a large, and therefore relatively rare, example of this form of monument.

The rectilinear enclosure is interpreted as later in date, possibly a medieval farmstead. The close proximity of these features merits further consideration and a relationship between them or even a chronological overlap in their use and construction is possible. The monument thus has an inherent capacity to inform our understanding of the development of settlement through time and changes in architectural form and function. In addition the monument has the potential to further our knowledge of the reasons for the reuse of favoured or significant locations.

Both features are visible as negative marks within cultivated land and are likely to preserve archaeologically significant deposits within their fill, as well as artefact and ecofact assemblages. The curvilinear enclosure is of particular interest as the large feature within the interior indicates the good preservation of evidence relating to occupation and use. These deposits have the potential to enhance our understanding of the construction and use the features and the lifestyle, social structure, beliefs and economy of the inhabitants. They also have the capacity to inform our understanding of the phases of use of the monument, of the relationship between them and of the site's eventual abandonment. Upstanding elements of the settlement may also been constructed over contemporary soils. Where these buried soils survive they have the potential to inform our understanding of the environment in which the monument was constructed and land-use practices employed at that time.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located on a slight S-facing slope on the N side of the Eye Water, 580m to the SSE. Although currently wooded, the site would have had clear views across open landscape to the south and east.

The Eye Water valley is noted for the relatively dense concentration of a variety prehistoric settlement remains, most surviving as cropmarks within arable cultivation. 580m to the NNE is a ditched enclosure of broadly contemporary date to the curvilinear feature, whilst 225m to the WNW are the cropmark remains of at least one complete ring ditch and partial elements of associated features. 840m to the SW is an additional later prehistoric ditched enclosure. While this may partially reflect good survival through later landuse practice, this particular monument, when compared and contrasted to such contemporary settlements, has an inherent capacity to greatly enhance our understanding of settlement type and the potential development and patterns of settlement distribution in this region in later prehistory. Comparing and contrasting the monument to contemporary sites both within and beyond the region can also inform an understanding of regional identity, economy and society and has the potential to enhance our knowledge of contact between various contemporary indigenous societies and those from further afield, such as the Romans.

Cropmark evidence of later settlement, such as medieval farmsteads, are less common in this area and the rectilinear enclosure and associated features thus has an important inherent capacity to further our understanding of this form and period of rural settlement and land use.

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 later prehistoric settlement pattern and form, architecture, society and land use. In addition the monument has an inherent capability to inform our knowledge of the development of settlement and land use through time and add to our appreciation of the continued use of places. The loss of the monument would seriously impede our ability to understand settlement and society in the lowlands of SE Scotland and further afield. In addition the loss of the monument would diminish our ability to understand the changing environment in which the monument was created, used and abandoned.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS database records this monument as Huldies Park Enclosure NT96SW 26. The Scottish Borders Sites and Monuments Record lists the site as 1020021.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS (1978) NT96SW 26 Huldies Park Enclosures BW 2261.

RCAHMS (1978) NT96SW 26 Huldies Park Enclosures BW 2262.

RCAHMS (1983) NT96SW 26 Huldies Park Enclosures BW 4782.

RCAHMS (1983) NT96SW 26 Huldies Park Enclosures BW 4783.


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, 30, No. 241. Edinburgh, Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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