Ancient Monuments

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Dunsmill Farm, settlement 125m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.7619 / 55°45'42"N

Longitude: -2.3427 / 2°20'33"W

OS Eastings: 378591

OS Northings: 652117

OS Grid: NT785521

Mapcode National: GBR D12T.LB

Mapcode Global: WH8X7.ZFLP

Entry Name: Dunsmill Farm, settlement 125m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 30 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12542

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Duns

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Mid Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises a settlement visible as a cropmark on oblique aerial photographs. The remains are interpreted as the site of a later prehistoric enclosed settlement. The site is situated on a slight rise just NNE of Dunsmill Farm, at a height of around 100m above sea level.

The settlement is represented on aerial photographs by a pair of near concentric ditches, both of which may have been associated with a rampart or timber palisade. The outer ditch has a diameter of around 120m and measures up to 4.3m in width while the inner ditch is about 60m in diameter and is up to 5.7m wide. What may be an entrance appears in the NE quadrant of the outer ditch while the inner ditch is largely open on the east. No internal features are visible on aerial photographs of the site.

The area to be scheduled is oval on plan, to include the remains described and an area around in which evidence relating to the construction and use of the site may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The above-ground elements of all post-and-wire fences are specifically excluded from the scheduling to allow for their 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 negative feature clearly identifiable as a cropmark on oblique aerial photographs. The pair of ditches may indicate that the settlement was occupied and developed over several phases, particularly as both appear to have entrances on the north-east. Both ditches and the internal space of the settlement are likely to preserve archaeological deposits relating to the construction, occupation and subsequent abandonment of the monument. Such deposits may include remains of timber round houses, evidence of industry and crafts and other artefacts relating to the occupation of the site. The fills of the ditches and the buried remains of any associated ramparts may contain evidence of the environment when the settlement was built and occupied as well as archaeological deposits relating to the site's occupation.

Contextual characteristics

The settlement forms part of a wider later prehistoric landscape around the modern town of Duns that includes a range of settlement types. This monument offers the potential to reveal information about domestic life and the economic base in the later prehistoric communities of the Scottish Borders. Comparing and contrasting it to other lowland cropmark sites and extant upland enclosures, both within and outside the region, can create an understanding of regional identity, economy and society.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it is has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular enclosures and settlement patterns from the later prehistoric period. Buried deposits from sites such as this have potential to inform our understanding of the physical layout and development of the monument as well as providing an insight into wider society at the time, the way in which people lived, where they came from and who they had contact with. The monument has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of landuse and society in this locality and, by association, the rest of Scotland in the later prehistoric period. The loss of this monument would impede our ability to understand the use of such monuments and their placing within the later prehistoric landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NT75SE 77. The Scottish Borders Council SMR designation is 1090076.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS 1994, C28943, Duns Mill, settlement.

RCAHMS 1994, C28944, Duns Mill, settlement.


Baldwin J 1997, EXPLORING SCOTLAND'S HERITAGE: EDINBURGH, LOTHIANS AND BORDERS, Exploring Scotland's Heritage Series, Edinburgh, Stationery Office.

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

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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