Ancient Monuments

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Garage Cottage, scooped settlements 390m south east of

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

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Latitude: 55.2112 / 55°12'40"N

Longitude: -2.9701 / 2°58'12"W

OS Eastings: 338367

OS Northings: 591201

OS Grid: NY383912

Mapcode National: GBR 78P5.SR

Mapcode Global: WH7YJ.B8XW

Entry Name: Garage Cottage, scooped settlements 390m SE of

Scheduled Date: 17 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12738

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: scooped settlement

Location: Ewes

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the upstanding remains of two prehistoric scooped settlements with surrounding earth banks visible as a level platform and annexe cut by a smaller level platform. It lies on the lower slopes of Bittleston Height, around 180m above sea level and around 180m south-west of the confluence of Bittleston Sike and Arkleton Burn, a tributary of Ewes Water.

The interior of the earlier enclosure is oval and covers at least 0.2ha. It measures around 65m E-W by 40m transversely and cuts into the slope to a depth of up to 3m on the S side. It is enclosed by an earth bank on the north, east and west measuring up to 6m thick and 0.6m high. To the south there is evidence of a low bank along the top of the cut into the slope. An annexe, surrounded by an earth bank, is visible on the west measuring around 25m E-W by 25m transversely. Although there are no visible entrances to the main part of the earlier scooped settlement the annexe has a possible entrance to the east. The interior includes a number of platforms with several footings of round timber houses indicated by shallow arcing scoops. Parts of the scooped settlement has been disturbed by later activity including tracks, quarrying and a kiln cut into the southern slope of the enclosure.

The north section of the bank is also cut by a later scooped settlement. Its interior is oval and covers at least 0.04ha. It measures around 32m ESE-WNW by 19m transversely and cuts into the slope to a depth of up to 2m. It is enclosed by an earth bank measuring up to 4.5m thick and 0.5m high. It is joined by a second bank to the south-west, which appears to enclose a small area within the perimeter of the earlier settlement. This may be a possible annexe to the later scooped settlement. The enclosure entrance may have been to the north-west but it is unclear due to later disturbance. The interior includes a number of platforms with at least three footings of timber round houses grouped to the west. The first round house is visible as a shallow scoop on the south with a low stony spread to the north. It is around 8m in diameter and has a probable entrance to the west. Below this house there is the remains of another round house on a second terrace. It is visible as a low scoop indicating the southern half. The northern half has been truncated by a third terrace which also includes the footings of a possible house.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above 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. The scheduled area extends up to but excludes the road and verge on the NE side and specifically excludes the above-ground elements of the post-and-wire fence on the S side.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is visible in grazed land as two platforms cut into the natural slope and surrounded by earthen banks. It comprises two prehistoric scooped settlements with good upstanding evidence of complex architectural elements such as annexes, houses and platforms. It is possibly late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date. It survives in an area of light agricultural activity and is a good example of a complex prehistoric settlement site, particularly because of the evidence of different phases of construction within the two settlements and the inter-relationship between them.

Potential exists for preservation of a buried soil beneath the banks, providing evidence of the environment within which Iron-Age people built the settlements. Inside the enclosure there will be archaeological evidence relating to the construction and occupation of the two sites and the daily lives of the people who occupied them. In particular, roundhouses, domestic remains and internal yards for animals are likely because of the evidence of footings of structures in the interiors of both settlements. As scooped settlements can include a yard there may also be areas where evidence of the agricultural regime exists. Buried deposits also have the potential to add to our understanding of the economy of the prehistoric period.

Contextual characteristics

Defended settlements were built at various times from at least the end of the late Bronze Age (around 800 BC) until probably the end of the early medieval period (around 1000 AD). Evidence from excavation suggests that the majority of scooped settlements date from the end of the 1st millennium BC through to the beginning of the 1st millennium AD.

The monument is situated near the bottom of a valley around 180m to the south-west of the confluence of Bittleston Sike and Arkleton Burn, to the east of Ewes Water. It has higher ground to the south and it would seem controlled access to the site was not the most important factor in choosing its location. Although there is no clear evidence for entrances to the enclosures all of the potential locations face out towards a water source. Comparing and contrasting the settlement to other nearby examples (as Iron-Age settlements tend to be constructed in close proximity to each other) can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for the understanding of Iron-Age economy, structure of society and expansion of prehistoric settlement in the area.

The construction of scooped settlements, including size, form, features and their placement in the landscape are all important in understanding this type of monument. This monument is relatively rare because of the preservation of the upstanding remains, which show differing architectural elements and complex sequences. It is also significant because a smaller enclosure has been inserted into a larger one, which may indicate a contraction in the settlement size. By comparing this monument to others of its type we can learn more about the function and design of prehistoric scooped settlements in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and more widely throughout Scotland. We may also begin to learn more about population size, expansion and movement within this period. The monument also complements the other types of prehistoric settlement sites identified close by in Ewesdale, to provide a fuller picture of prehistoric landscape and society in the region over time.

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 along the river Ewe. With its complex and well-preserved field characteristics, this site has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of vernacular architecture, landuse and society in this locality and by association the rest of Scotland in the later prehistoric period. Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from, who they had contacts with and also to provide us with evidence of native-Roman interaction. Archaeological deposits preserved beneath the banks and in the interior of the monument 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 of this site in eastern Dumfries and Galloway would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NY39SE 35; the Dumfries and Galloway Sites and Monuments Record as MDG10516.


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

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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