Ancient Monuments

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Horn Burn, unenclosed settlement 375m NNW of and 265m north of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.8385 / 55°50'18"N

Longitude: -2.1455 / 2°8'43"W

OS Eastings: 390983

OS Northings: 660598

OS Grid: NT909605

Mapcode National: GBR F0GX.9W

Mapcode Global: WH9Y3.0HLZ

Entry Name: Horn Burn, unenclosed settlement 375m NNW of and 265m N of

Scheduled Date: 30 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12506

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 the remains of an unenclosed settlement, enclosure and pit alignment of probable later-prehistoric date, visible as cropmarks in a cultivated field. The monument is located at around 55m above sea-level on almost level ground just south of the Eye Water, and is bisected by the modern road running roughly E-W through the site.

The visible traces of the settlement consist of at least 12 circular or penannular cropmarks, each representing the remains of a round house. These range in diameter from around 6m to 16m in diameter. Further smaller features may represent additional round houses or related features. A curving pit alignment is also visible in the cropmarks, towards the east of the settlement and running for a total of around 210m (although the modern road truncates part of the alignment). To the south of the road a larger sub-circular cropmark, around 20m N-S by around 25m transversely, has been interpreted as a prehistoric enclosure which may well relate to the settlement.

The area to be scheduled comprises two areas, both irregular in plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to the construction and use of the site may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The S edge of the northernmost area runs up to but specifically excludes the post-and-wire fence on the north of the road, to allow for its maintenance.

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 unenclosed settlement from a series of oblique aerial photographs, the most recent taken in 2003. These clearly show the remains of at least 12 roughly circular structures, possibly more, along with surrounding related remains, an enclosure of likely prehistoric date and a pit alignment which may also relate to the settlement. Unenclosed Iron-Age settlements are rare in lowland areas south of the Forth and this example appears to have been of a substantial scale. Any remaining traces of the monument have the capacity to greatly enhance our understanding of all aspects of this rare class of monument and its place within the landscape and society of this region.

Specifically, the negative features that comprise the cropmarks have the high potential to preserve archaeologically significant deposits within their fill. These deposits have the potential to enhance our understanding of the construction and use the settlement and the lifestyle, social structure, beliefs and economy of the inhabitants. They also have the capacity to inform our understanding of the final phase of use of the monument and its 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 sited on almost level ground only 100m south of the Eye Water at its closest. The surrounding landscape in which the monument is situated is fairly level, offering good views along the valley and making it unlikely the site was chosen for defensive purposes.

Although this particular type of Iron-age settlement is rare in the lowlands south of the Forth, there are a number of broadly contemporary enclosed settlements, also visible as cropmarks, in the immediate vicinity and beyond. This particular stretch of the valley of the Eye Water itself is heavily populated with prehistoric remains, including another unenclosed settlement, several forts and enclosed settlements and some contemporary burial monuments. Such an extensive survival of a prehistoric landscape in an area of agricultural land is extremely rare and has a great potential to improve our knowledge of the prehistoric period in this area and across Scotland. In particular, the relatively lack of study of the Iron Age in this area means this site, along with its neighbours, provides an excellent opportunity to significantly enhance our knowledge of the development and chronology of Iron-Age settlement in SE Scotland. This site is an important part of this landscape and its loss would impede our appreciation of the landscape as a whole.

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of the past, in particular later prehistoric unenclosed settlement in the lowlands south of the Forth. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of land-use and society in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland in the later prehistoric period. The loss of this rare site in this area would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the later prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the various parts of the site as: NT96SW 72: East Reston, unenclosed settlement, NT96SW 86: Horn Burn, enclosure and NT96SW 102: East Reston, pit alignment.

The Scottish Borders Council SMR records the various parts of the site as: 1060144: East Reston, 1060143: Horn Burn and 1060193: East Reston.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS (1983) NT96SW Archive number BW 4772.

RCAHMS (1984) NT96SW Archive number A 22002.

RCAHMS (1984) NT96SW Archive number A 22003.

RCAHMS (2001) NT96SW Oblique aerial view centred on the cropmarks of the unenclosed settlement, taken from the SSE, Archive number E 06889.


Armit I 1999, 'Life After Hownam: the Iron Age in south-east Scotland'. In Bevan B ed. 1999, NORTHERN EXPOSURE: INTERPRETATIVE DEVOLUTION AND THE IRON AGES IN BRITAIN, Leicester Archaeology Monographs, No 4, 65-80.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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