Ancient Monuments

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2 Dinwoodie Green Cottages, settlement 530m ENE of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.1834 / 55°11'0"N

Longitude: -3.3927 / 3°23'33"W

OS Eastings: 311416

OS Northings: 588560

OS Grid: NY114885

Mapcode National: GBR 48RH.9Q

Mapcode Global: WH6X5.VZM7

Entry Name: 2 Dinwoodie Green Cottages, settlement 530m ENE of

Scheduled Date: 5 February 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12716

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Applegarth

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of two enclosures, likely to be an enclosed settlement of the late prehistoric period, potentially of multiple phases and visible as cropmarks within cultivated land. The monument is located at around 100m above sea level on a slight, W-facing slope, around 215m east of Dinwoodie Green Burn.

Cropmarks represent negative archaeological features, the fills of which retain more moisture than the surrounding subsoil, resulting in the enhanced growth of the crops above. The visible traces of the monument consists of a ditch around 3m wide, and enclosing an area that measures around 50m in diameter. There are possible traces of a bank within this ditch. The circuit is incomplete in the north and the south-west. The SW break measures around 7.5m and may represent the original entrance location. Within the interior of the enclosure are further lengths of negative feature, potentially a ditch or similar feature resulting from wear, forming a circular feature around 33m in diameter. This has a gap on the south-west, measuring around 7m and in line with of the presumed entrance of the outer circuit. The negative inner feature varies between 2-7m in width. In addition there are a series of five pits, of unknown date and function, within its interior.

These features are located within the interior of a much larger, subcircular enclosure, defined by three sections of an interrupted ditch. This largest enclosure measures around 120m NE-SW by around 105m transversely. The ditch is noticeably narrower in width than those of the interior features, measuring between around 1.5-3m. The narrowness of this ditch may imply that it was palisaded, although this is not certain. The circuit is incomplete on the NE, NW and SE sides. A gap, around 3m wide, on the SW side is a possible entrance and is in line with the other potential entrance breaks in the interior features.

The area to be scheduled is circular in plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment 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 has been identified from 19 oblique aerial photographs taken between 1948 and 1997, and survives as a number of negative features, some of which are clearly visible as cropmarks, a function of later land use. The form of these features indicates a series of three curvilinear enclosing ditches, likely to be an enclosed domestic settlement of the Iron Age. The off-centre location of the interior enclosures within the largest outer enclosure indicates that the monument may have been constructed, and possible used, in more than one phase. Such monuments would usually have had one broad entrance, and this would appear to be in the south-west of the each of the ditch circuits.

Apart from the erosion of upstanding elements of the monument through later agricultural land use the monument is undisturbed. There is no record of excavation at the monument. It is highly probable that the ditches and other surviving negative features contain archaeologically significant deposits as well as artefact and ecofact assemblages. Similar monuments, when excavated, have shown good survival of stratified deposits relating to occupation. The monument therefore has an inherent capacity to further our understanding of the activities undertaken within and around the settlement and inform our knowledge of the people who inhabited it, their social structure and identity, domestic architecture and living arrangements. Artefact assemblages in particular have the capacity to further our understanding of the nature of contact with other groups of people from within the region, or from further afield, such as the incoming Romans.

Excavation of similar sites has also demonstrated the presence of human remains in and around such monuments, often in fragmentary form and not with traditional burial type contexts. The monument has the potential to further our understanding of the treatment of human remains both immediately after death and subsequently, and the final deposition of them. It may also contribute to our knowledge of the pathology and health of Iron-Age communities, their diet, their lifestyle and their mobility.

Evidence from contemporary monuments of similar form indicates that the ditch would have had an upcast interior bank, forming a further boundary element around the settlement. Vestiges of this bank, and other positive features, are likely to preserve traces of the land surface and soils upon which the monument was created. These have the capacity to inform our knowledge of the environment within which the monument was constructed and can further our understanding of how the environment was used and altered through time.

Many of these monuments may contain evidence for previous or subsequent phases of occupation, with unenclosed and enclosed phases, however there is evidently no simple sequence from one to the other that can be employed as a chronological model. In this case the different ditches and associated banks may not have been in use at the same time but may be constructed and used sequentially. The monument therefore has an inherent potential to inform our understanding of the duration of occupation, whether there were different and distinct phases of use and the circumstances within which the monument may have functioned and been finally abandoned and also contribute to our wider understanding of these issues at the monuments.

Contextual characteristics

Enclosed settlements are found across Scotland, although they vary greatly in their form and distribution and at this broad scale patterns are difficult to see, compounded by their relatively low level of investigation to date. Some trends have been noted and in eastern Dumfries and Galloway rectilinear forms are more common than curvilinear. The period of construction and use of enclosed settlement has now been shown to extend over most, if not all, of the first millennium BC with the origins of some extending back into the later Bronze Age (around 1000 BC). The classification of such sites often involves a qualitative judgment; a highly defensive location and substantial enclosing features are more likely to be classed as a fort or fortified settlement. Enclosed settlements are more lightly enclosed and in less defensive locations and may have more evidence of domestic features within the interior.

The monument is located within open, rolling lowland landscape at around 100m above sea level close to the crest of a slight W-facing slope, and 215m east of the Dinwoodie Green Burn. The monument lies on the flood plain of the River Annan that runs 1.8km to the west. There are clear, long distance views to the north, south and west and the location would not appear to be one chosen primarily for defence, although assessing the strength of the enclosure from the remaining evidence is challenging. Many of the circular and oval cropmark enclosures in lower Annandale have single ditches measuring around 2-3m in width and typically, as here, occupy the crest of small hillocks.

The later prehistoric settlement remains of eastern Dumfries and Galloway form the largest group of monuments that has been recorded in the course of RCAHMS survey undertaken in the 1990s. The Annan Water floodplain has a particularly rich concentration of prehistoric settlement monuments, usually surviving as cropmark sites within cultivated land. The RCAHMS survey identified this enclosure as the second largest by area, about 0.8ha, within the survey area, while the majority of known examples tend to be less than 0.5ha.

Within the immediate proximity of this monument are several broadly contemporary settlements; for example enclosures 1.1 km to the north and west, 925m to the south-west, 780m to the NNE and 655m to the north. These consist of curvilinear enclosures and have been identified through aerial photography, or as earth banks on the margins of the cultivated land. While this may partially reflect good survival through sympathetic later land use, this particular monument, when compared and contrasted to such contemporary settlements, has an inherent capacity to greatly enhance our understanding of settlement type and the potential development and patterns of settlement distribution in this region in later prehistory. Comparing and contrasting the monument to contemporary sites both within and beyond the region can also inform an understanding of regional identity, economy and society and has the potential to enhance our knowledge of contact with contemporary indigenous societies and those from further afield, such as the Romans.

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 later prehistoric settlement and economy. Specifically this monument has the capacity to inform us of a particular settlement type, which characterises certain parts of the Iron-Age and later domestic landscape, as well as settlement construction, pattern, function and form along the Annan Water. It has the particular capacity to inform debate on continuity and phases of settlement and changes in settlement type through time. Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived and died, where they came from and who they had contacts with. Its importance is increased by any proximity to other monuments of potentially contemporary date and the capacity it therefore has to inform us about the nature of relationships between monuments of different function. Spatial analysis of sites may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement. Its loss or diminution would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and in other parts of Scotland, as well as our knowledge of later prehistoric social structure, economy and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as Dinwoodie Green, settlement, NY18NW 4. The Dumfries and Galloway SMR records the monument as MDG7136.

Aerial photograph used:

J Dewar (1975) 7069/3/1 Negative number DF3049. Copyright RCAHMS

References:

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, 130, 143, 158, 160, 301 no. 803, Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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