Ancient Monuments

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Kirtlehead, ring ditch house 1150m north of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale East and Eskdale, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.1403 / 55°8'25"N

Longitude: -3.1444 / 3°8'39"W

OS Eastings: 327145

OS Northings: 583479

OS Grid: NY271834

Mapcode National: GBR 69H0.14

Mapcode Global: WH6XP.N2V6

Entry Name: Kirtlehead, ring ditch house 1150m N of

Scheduled Date: 27 January 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12720

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Middlebie

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a timber ring ditch roundhouse of possible late Bronze-Age or Iron-Age date (first or second millennium BC). It lies in rough grazing about 300m above sea level on the S face of Doe's Hill.

The roundhouse is visible as a roughly circular terraced platform measuring about 9m in diameter. The northern half of the house is terraced into the slope and consists of a semi-circular scarp up to 0.5m high with a narrow ledge at the top. There is a shallow groove at the base of the scarp on the NW side. The southern half consists of a shallow ditch, measuring up to 1.8m in breadth with a low external bank on the south and south-east. The entrance is possibly on the south-west.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan centred on the roundhouse, to include the remains described and an area around in which evidence relating to its 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 monument consists of a well-preserved later prehistoric roundhouse dating to the first or second millennium BC. Given the site's location in land currently used for grazing, it is likely that archaeologically significant deposits relating to construction, occupation and abandonment of the roundhouse remains in place. Where upstanding remains are present they are likely to overlie former land surfaces and soils with the potential to further our understanding of land use and environment at time of construction. The field characteristics of this example are relatively unusual because the northern half of the house, where the interior was cut back into the slope, has a scarp with traces of a concentric ledge along its crest and a groove at its foot. The site offers excellent potential to contribute to our understanding of later prehistoric roundhouses, including the architectural diversity, and the daily lives of the people who occupied them.

Contextual characteristics

Upstanding remains of unenclosed roundhouses in eastern Dumfries and Galloway are generally found in areas that have not been subjected to intensive arable cultivation. Such sites are often found in close proximity to visible remains of field-systems. This monument lies close to extensive traces of cord rig (narrow cultivation ridges), which may indicate the area was occupied and cultivated during the same period. This could suggest a more precise date of the middle of the 1st millennium BC. Further down the slope, another enclosed settlement lies about 250m south of this roundhouse. The close proximity of these two monuments in the landscape offers good potential to improve our understanding of the relationship between enclosed and unenclosed settlements in the prehistoric period.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular later prehistoric settlement on the high ground between the river Esk and River Annan. Specifically, such monuments can inform our knowledge of architectural style and function, development and any patterns of continuity. This particular example is very well preserved and exhibits unusual field characteristics. Domestic remains and artefacts from roundhouses have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. Any old ground surfaces sealed by associated banks may provide information about the nature of the contemporary environment and the use prehistoric farmers made of it. Spatial analysis of sites may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement. The loss or diminution of this monument would impede significantly our ability to understand its place within its contemporary landscape, how it related to contemporary sites or how it fitted into any sequence of settlement pattern and landuse, both in eastern Dumfrieshire and across Scotland. Our knowledge of Iron-Age social structure, economy and building practices would also be diminished if the monument were lost.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the site as NY28SE 61. The Dumfries and Galloway SMR as MDG11146.

References:

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, Edinburgh: RCAHMS.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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