Ancient Monuments

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Torwood, enclosure 270m south west of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.1352 / 55°8'6"N

Longitude: -3.38 / 3°22'48"W

OS Eastings: 312115

OS Northings: 583188

OS Grid: NY121831

Mapcode National: GBR 49V1.0Z

Mapcode Global: WH6XL.16Q3

Entry Name: Torwood, enclosure 270m SW of

Scheduled Date: 19 December 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11968

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive)

Location: Dryfesdale

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a sub-rectangular ditched enclosure measuring approximately 40m across within a 1.5m-wide ditch, with an entrance on the NE side. Likely to be of Iron-age date, the enclosure is situated on a river terrace at about 45m above sea level, 270m SW of the farm at Torwood. We can interpret the enclosure as the remains of an enclosed farming settlement.

Preserved as a buried feature and only visible on aerial photographs, the enclosure sits in an undefendable location on a low-lying river terrace, with the ditch terminals on the NE side appearing to overlap slightly to form a narrow entrance into the enclosure. The aerial photograph shows several pits within the enclosure, and there are the faint traces of a possible second smaller enclosure overlapping with the NE corner. The field in which the monument is situated has been regularly ploughed in the past, and is currently under an arable regime.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular polygon on plan, to include the enclosure, its ditch, and an area around within which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to, but excludes the fences to the north-east and north-west of the enclosure. The above-ground elements of the tree to the north of the enclosure, as well as the top 30cm of the track to the north-west, are specifically excluded from the schedule to allow for their upkeep and maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

As a negative (buried) feature visible in the form of a cropmark on a range of aerial photographs, the enclosure is a good example of a uni-vallate sub-rectangular enclosure, likely to be late first millennium BC or early first millennium AD in date, surviving in an area of high agricultural activity. Although the enclosure has been cultivated, buried deposits within the interior may preserve evidence relating to possible domestic structures and economy. It is likely that a bank would have lain inside of the ditch, and potential exists for a buried soil to be preserved both beneath the ploughed-out remains of the bank and within the ditch, providing evidence of the environment within which the enclosure was built. The ditch may contain deposits and archaeological features relating to the construction and occupation of the site, and its association with possible surrounding field systems. The unusual possible entrance formed by the overlapping of the perimeter ditch may provide evidence to further our understanding of the physical patterns of local settlement

Contextual characteristics

This enclosure has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of uni-vallate settlements, particularly those sited in low-lying undefendable areas. Most enclosures in eastern Dumfries and Galloway tend to be circular or oval on plan, built on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys. They tend to lie in close proximity to each other. Once thought to be a relatively rare component of the settlement record, recent use of aerial photography has revealed that sub-rectangular enclosures are more widespread than previously appreciated. Comparing and contrasting the enclosure to other nearby examples can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for the Iron-age economy and structure of society. Information gained from the preservation and study of this site can help us to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-age enclosed settlements across Scotland.

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 a type of monument which characterises part of the wider Iron-age domestic landscape. It forms an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along the River Annan and Dryfe Water. Domestic remains and artefacts from enclosures and settlements have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from, who they had contacts with, and provide evidence of native-Roman interaction. Archaeological deposits preserved within the ditch and interior of the monument may provide information about what the contemporary environment looked like, and how prehistoric farmers used it. Spatial analysis of 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 (particularly those in low-lying undefendable locations) within the landscape both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Iron-age social structure, economy, and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NY18SW 62.


RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, Edinburgh, No 1008, 150, 151, 305.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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