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Broomhillbank, fort 910m ENE of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.2043 / 55°12'15"N

Longitude: -3.3708 / 3°22'14"W

OS Eastings: 312855

OS Northings: 590866

OS Grid: NY128908

Mapcode National: GBR 48X8.06

Mapcode Global: WH6X6.6G34

Entry Name: Broomhillbank, fort 910m ENE of

Scheduled Date: 5 February 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12662

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: fort (includes hill and promontory fort)

Location: Applegarth

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a later prehistoric multi-phase enclosure and fort visible as circular and crescent-shaped earthworks with associated buried deposits. It is located on Broomhillbank Hill at approximately 250m above sea level overlooking Annandale from its E side.

The first and second phases of building here are represented by low earthworks forming crescent-shaped barriers, the first of which is an outer low bank and groove with adjacent quarry scoops 10m wide and the second is an inner trench 0.5m wide. These form two palisaded enclosures that would enclose areas of approximately 75m and 100m in diameter if their circuits were complete. They lie to the east of and outside the later, circular bank and ditch sequence of the fort, which is likely to overlie earlier features enclosed by the palisades. The fort is likely to enclose contemporary occupation remains although these have not been recorded on the ground. The defences of the fort enclose a sub-circular space measuring 80m NNE to SSW by nearly 60m transversely. To the immediate west of the palisades, these defences are formed into a twin bank and ditch feature. A gap in the SW quadrant of these works indicates the position of an entrance and this leads to a track or hollow way. The interior features of the fort and earlier enclosures are masked by the later cultivation remains, some of which may be early cord rig.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the monument, to include the remains described 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 specifically excludes the above-ground elements of all fencing and gates 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

This is an unusual and well-preserved earthwork monument with upstanding structural features from at least two building phases. It has great potential to preserve buried deposits from the construction of the two palisades and the later bank and ditch sequence, as well as the various forms of buildings and structures that occupied the interior. Timber work along the crest of an earthen rampart is described by researchers as 'remarkably rare'. The monument therefore has the potential to tell us much about the use and sequence of defensive works, such as timber palisades and later forms of earthwork defence on the same site. It displays a relatively long development sequence and the remains of later cultivation works add to our interest. Despite this later intrusion there is likely to be a range of artefactual and ecofactual material surviving here that can help us understand not only the construction and use of the enclosures and fort but also the environment at the same time.

Contextual characteristics

This is a very interesting example of a strategic location (in this case overlooking Annandale and its routeways) being occupied and reoccupied from the first millennium BC onwards. Later prehistoric settlement monuments that so clearly display successive forms of building (and perhaps temporary abandonment) are quite uncommon and those with evidence for relatively early palisaded features even more so. This is a very defensible location which has been enhanced by further defensive works in the form of a bank and ditch sequence. It is a rare example of a monument in an already small group of palisaded monuments, limited to the uplands of S Scotland. Its reuse as a fort indicates the strategic significance at this location (with extensive views up and down Annandale) and this is reinforced by its proximity to a second fort, 250m to the north-east.

The monument is likely to be part of much larger prehistoric land management systems because these forts usually survive in landscapes with broadly contemporary, smaller settlements, homesteads and individual farmhouses on lower, more fertile ground. It therefore has the potential to tell us much about the land management and larger settlement practice in SW Scotland during later prehistory.

The reuse of this and the wider hillside to increase the reach of cultivated land in SW Scotland adds to our interest in the site, and the possibility that the visible remains are from early cord rig cultivation is of significant interest to us.

Associative characteristics

The site appears on first edition and subsequent Ordnance Survey mapping.

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 palisaded enclosures and their adaption during later prehistory. The combination of a rare form of enclosure work and the reuse of it and the space it encloses for later defence and agriculture is also of significant interest. The remains here include significant structural evidence and there is a strong likelihood that extensive artefactual and ecofactual material survives as buried deposits. The monument can therefore tell us a great deal about the domestic, defensive and economic activities that took place at these sites. This can help us understand wider prehistoric society and the connections those who lived here had with other communities. Its proximity to similar monuments close by and in the surrounding hills and its location overlooking the wider landscape of Annandale adds to our interest here. The loss of this monument would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand later prehistoric defended settlement in SW Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the monument as NY19SW 7. Dumfries and Galloway Council Sites and Monuments Record records the site as MDG 7345.

References:

Christison D 1891, 'A general view of the forts, camps, and motes of Dumfriesshire, with a detailed study of those in Upper Annandale and an introduction to the study of Scottish motes', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 50 (1890-1), 248-9.

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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