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Newland Hill, settlement 1560m east of Capelfoot

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.165 / 55°9'53"N

Longitude: -3.1727 / 3°10'21"W

OS Eastings: 325391

OS Northings: 586254

OS Grid: NY253862

Mapcode National: GBR 688Q.X9

Mapcode Global: WH6XH.7FGT

Entry Name: Newland Hill, settlement 1560m E of Capelfoot

Scheduled Date: 27 January 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12667

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Tundergarth

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a settlement likely to date to later prehistory. Surviving as earthworks and buried remains, it is visible as a crescent-shaped bank and ditch partly enclosing the circular stances of at least two round houses. It is located in rough pasture at the SW edge of the summit of Newland Hill at approximately 310m above sea level.

The curving length of bank and ditch (to the south-west of the house stances) is approximately 60m long with the ditch to the outside of the bank. If the circuit was complete, the bank would enclose a circular area approximately 90m in diameter. The remains of at least two round houses to the north-east of the bank are visible and their ring ditches indicate they are approximately 11m in diameter. A third house has been suggested but this was not visible at the time of visit.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction 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

The upstanding remains of the bank and ditch and the round houses to the north-east have survived the effects of later ploughing and cultivation and remain visible on the ground to a marked degree. The full extent of the ditch and bank has yet to be identified but researchers think this is an unfinished work and as such a very interesting snapshot into the design and building of later prehistoric settlements. It is possible the bank was intended to enclose what started as an unenclosed settlement but the relationship of the two components is unclear. Earlier researchers have also identified a possible third round house and this suggests that more extensive buried deposits exist in the immediate area. These deposits can help us tremendously in understanding the construction and use of dwellings as well as the significance of the space around them. Because the monument has survived relatively undisturbed there are likely to be additional buried remains (structures, artefacts and ecofacts) from the occupation of the site in later prehistory that can tell us about the physical conditions, environment and land cover at that time.

Contextual characteristics

This is a particularly uncommon example from the wider class of later prehistoric settlement remains that are known of in E and S Scotland. It includes a section of curving outer bank and ditch that would normally completely enclose (and possibly defend) a group of buildings. The chronology of the two components (the houses and the bank and ditch) is unclear but researchers think that the bank and ditch are an unfinished section of something larger and that the form of the houses suggests they are later prehistoric in date. It is also possible we are seeing a site that was simply abandoned, but the circumstances behind this are currently unknown.

The position of the monument just below the summit of a hill (like other examples in Dumfries and Galloway when compared to the hilltop forts) suggests this is not an easily defensible position and therefore the section of bank is probably not defensive in its nature.

What is very interesting in this case is the monument's proximity to two other settlements (a possible palisaded enclosure and fort to the west) and its position among a wider landscape or network of upland prehistoric settlements, many of which are intervisible with this one. Newland Hill was clearly important to later prehistoric communities and its surviving monuments can help us understand much more about the development and range of settlements and patterns in later prehistoric land-use.

Associative characteristics

The site is mapped on the Ordnance Survey First Edition.

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 the study of enclosure, settlement and defensive works in later prehistoric SW Scotland. It is well preserved and is unusual because the enclosure appears to be unfinished. It can help us understand the spatial relationship between neighbouring and broadly contemporary monuments and the links between communities living and exploiting natural resources in the wider landscape. Its loss would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the later prehistoric occupation of SW Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NY28NE 1.

References:

Jobey G 1971, 'Early settlements in eastern Dumfriesshire', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Soc, 48 (1971), 94.

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape. Edinburgh, The Stationery Office.

RCAHMS 1920, Seventh Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of Dumfries, HMSO: Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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