Ancient Monuments

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Millhill, settlement, enclosure and road 500m ENE of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.2182 / 55°13'5"N

Longitude: -3.4041 / 3°24'14"W

OS Eastings: 310765

OS Northings: 592446

OS Grid: NY107924

Mapcode National: GBR 48N3.T7

Mapcode Global: WH6X5.P35J

Entry Name: Millhill, settlement, enclosure and road 500m ENE of

Scheduled Date: 5 February 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12665

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement; Roman: road

Location: Applegarth

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a later prehistoric settlement, and the cropmarked remains of a larger enclosure feature and a section of Roman road surviving as buried archaeological deposits and seen in oblique aerial photography. The remains are located on a cultivated ridge line on the E side of the River Annan at approximately 100m above sea level.

The inner, smaller enclosure, interpreted as a settlement, is defined by a low earthen bank and shallow ditch creating an oval-shaped interior that measures approximately 32m N-S by 24m transversely. In places the bank and ditch is up to 18m wide and this may have been exaggerated by the gradual spreading of topsoil from later cultivation works. Aerial photography indicates a break in the E half of the bank, which suggests the position of a single entrance (not visible on the ground). A large twin-ditched and roughly sub-rectangular, truncated feature, likely to be a fort, surrounds the smaller enclosure. This measures 120m NNW-SSE by 50m transversely. Finally, there are two roughly parallel linear cropmarks to the east of both enclosures running NNE-SSW. These features are the remains the construction works associated with the Roman road that ran between them.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, 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 the post-and-wire fence to allow for its maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

This is a relatively well-preserved monument surviving as low, upstanding earthworks and buried remains (seen as cropmarked evidence in oblique aerial photographs). Despite the signs of localised soil poaching and a reduction in height of the earthwork form, the monument appears relatively intact and it is likely that significant structural, artefactual and ecofactual deposits survive below the surface. These can help us interpret the design, construction and use of the enclosures and road and how they relate to each other. The buried deposits can also tell us much about the physical environment and land cover when these monuments were built and in use by the communities and Roman troops that lived and passed through here.

Contextual characteristics

This is a very interesting and potentially complex monument displaying three distinct components which span the later prehistoric and Roman periods. In other examples, researchers have highlighted the relationship of small ditched enclosures contained by the defences of larger enclosures in SW Scotland but the relative dates of each here remain unknown. They probably represent separate periods of defensive building. Despite a lack of visible evidence for structures inside each enclosure, they are likely to have been the focus for considerable activity, as they are located on a strategically important ridge in the middle of Annandale, with long-distance views in all directions. The defensive quality of the location is easy to see, with the ground steeply sloping immediately to the west and a lack of dead ground combined with long views in other directions.

This is a large example of a class of later prehistoric enclosure and settlement in the lowlands of SW Scotland. The rectilinear shape of the larger enclosure is well known in eastern Dumfries and Galloway examples and part of a subset of later prehistoric enclosures found across Scotland. Researchers suggest that the presence of two enclosures indicate a pattern of abandonment and this can tell us about the sequence of settlement and resettlement in the area. It combines in the wider landscape of Annandale with other broadly contemporary settlements both closeby (such as at Range Castle) and further away on the W and E flanks at higher altitudes. It can therefore help us understand something of with wider pattern of later prehistoric use of this area.

The inter-relationship of the enclosure works and the adjacent road is yet to be fully understood but it is possible that at least one of the enclosures was in use at the same time. The smaller enclosure may possibly have been adapted for Roman military use and this can be tested through archaeological excavation. It hints at the likely interactions of successive Roman military campaigns and the troops involved with the communities that occupied this part of Annandale and the south-west.

Associative characteristics

The monument is depicted as a fort on first edition 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 enclosure, settlement and defensive works in later prehistoric SW Scotland. It can help us understand the relationship between native communities and Roman military campaigns in Scotland and the wider picture of landholding and economy. Its loss would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand the later prehistoric occupation of SW Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NY19SW 3.


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, 246.

Margary I D 1957, Roman Roads in Britain: North of the Foss Way - Bristol Channel (including Wales and Scotland). London.

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.

St Joseph J K S 1952, 'Forts, From the Esk to Dalmakethar', in S N Miller 1952, The Roman Roads of SW Scotland, Glasgow, 95-103.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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