Ancient Monuments

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Horn Burn, settlement 635m west of

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.836 / 55°50'9"N

Longitude: -2.1542 / 2°9'15"W

OS Eastings: 390437

OS Northings: 660313

OS Grid: NT904603

Mapcode National: GBR F0DY.DT

Mapcode Global: WH9Y2.WKBY

Entry Name: Horn Burn, settlement 635m W of

Scheduled Date: 30 March 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12493

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Coldingham

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises the remains of an enclosed settlement of probable later prehistoric date, visible in cropmarks. It is located between 65m and 70m above sea level on a N-facing slope around 850m S of the Eye Water.

The monument survives as negative features, visible as cropmarks within a cereal crop captured on a series of oblique aerial photographs, the most recent taken in 2001. 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 65m E-W by around 60m transversely. Within the ditch are the remains of an apparent bank, visible as a penannular cropmark. The ditch varies in width from around 2-6m. There are entrances visible on both the E and W sides of the ditch. Further cropmarks both within and around the enclosure may well indicate the remains of related structures. These include a series of 12 small circular features running in a line to the west of the enclosure ditch that may represent the remains of an unenclosed settlement of roundhouses. There are also a number of linear ditched features, visible as cropmarks, around the enclosure.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, 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. The scheduled area runs up to but does not include the field boundaries on its S and W sides; the above-ground elements of the telegraph poles crossing the field 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

As a buried feature clearly visible in cropmarks on recent aerial photographs, the monument is a good example of a multi-phase 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,there is the high potential for evidence relating to domestic structures and the activities undertaken within and around them to survive as buried deposits within and around the enclosure and roundhouses, and this potential is enhanced by cropmarks visible in these areas. It appears that a bank formerly lay inside the circuit of the inner ditch and it is unusual for a bank to be visible in cropmarks. The potential also exists for survival of a buried soil beneath any remaining vestiges of this bank. Soils within the ditch and other negative features could 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 site, 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 later prehistoric settlement sites, found throughout Scotland. This particular example shows evidence of several phases of use, as both an enclosed and an unenclosed settlement is visible. It therefore has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of these monument classes, the relationship between them and the nature of the transition between them. The landscape setting of monuments such as this was an important factor in their construction, and analysis of this can further enhance our knowledge of their purpose and significance. The monument sits on a N-facing slope to the south of the Eye Water. There are good views along the Eye Water valley. 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. The Eye Water sites are important as an excellent potential study area for such work, the results of which could then be utilised much further afield across Scotland.

Comparing and contrasting the situation of this 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 social structure. 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, as well as the value placed on such monuments by later communities.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT96SW 25: Horn Burn. The Scottish Borders Council SMR reference is 1060129.

Aerial photographs:

RCAHMS (1986) NT96SW 6 Horn Burn A 29412.

RCAHMS (1989) NT96SW 6 Horn Burn B 23713.

RCAHMS (1990) NT96SW 6 B46348.

RCAHMS (1996) NT96SW 6 Horn Burn C 74088.


RCAHMS 1980, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES AND MONUMENTS OF BERWICKSHIRE DISTRICT, BORDERS REGION, The Archaeological Sites and Monuments of Scotland Series No. 10, 30, No. 240, 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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