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Craik's Craig, scooped settlement 755m ESE of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.3404 / 55°20'25"N

Longitude: -3.4765 / 3°28'35"W

OS Eastings: 306452

OS Northings: 606145

OS Grid: NT064061

Mapcode National: GBR 465P.4F

Mapcode Global: WH5VF.K1R9

Entry Name: Craik's Craig, scooped settlement 755m ESE of

Scheduled Date: 15 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12783

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: scooped settlement

Location: Kirkpatrick-Juxta

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the earthwork remains of a scooped settlement dating from the late first millennium BC or early centuries AD. It lies in rough grazings on a W-facing slope overlooking the valley of the Evan Water and is built on two levels.

The scooped settlement is oval on plan and measures around 30m N-S by 21m transversely. Enclosing the settlement is a turf-covered stony bank up to 6m in thickness and about 0.5m in height with an entrance on the west. Internally, the settlement covers two levels with the N half being lower. Here the interior is scooped into the hillside down to a depth of about 0.5m and may contain a relatively modern enclosure, although there are two possible hut platforms, both in the NE corner. In the S part of the site are two hut platforms. One lies in the SW corner, partly overlying the rampart and is approximately 6.5m in diameter. It is defined by a low stony bank on the east and as a low scarp on the west. The second hut platform is more centrally positioned and is around 5.5m in diameter, defined by a low stony bank with possible entrances on the north-west and south-east.

The area to be scheduled is circular on 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. The scheduling specifically excludes a possible concrete water tank to the south-east of the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The form of the monument, an enclosure wall surrounding a sunken area, indicates the monument is a scooped settlement built and occupied in the Iron Age. Remains of at least two hut circles are visible, with another pair of possible structures also surviving and it is likely that further structures existed when the settlement was in use. The entrance, situated on the west, gives entry to the lower half of the site, a typical feature of scooped settlements in this area. The construction of a hut circle over the line of the rampart suggests that the site may have more than one phase of occupation. Alternatively, the need for enclosure may have diminished during the occupation of the site.

This is a well-preserved prehistoric settlement with possible evidence for more than one phase of occupation. It is likely that a variety of buried remains will exist within the enclosure. Structural remains can help us to understand more about the design, construction, phasing and use of the boundary wall and buildings. Potential exists for the survival of buried land surfaces beneath the boundary wall and building remains. These could preserve information about the environment before the monument was constructed, adding to the time-depth represented by the remains. Internal earthworks and buried remains may also contain evidence relating to the creation, use and abandonment of the buildings, helping to inform our understanding of the character of late-prehistoric settlement, including local variations in domestic architecture and building use. Cut features such as postholes and pits may lie within or beyond buildings and they have the potential to contain groups of artefacts and ecofacts that can further our understanding of society, ritual, economy, agriculture and domestic architecture of the period. Organic elements are especially likely to survive in the waterlogged, low-lying interior of the settlement and may support further scientific analyses, including dating techniques. 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. The monument also 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. 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, including the Romans, who may have entered the area during the period the site was occupied. This monument shows signs of more recent reuse, allowing us to compare the character of the primary and secondary occupations.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located on a W-facing hillside with fine views over the valley of the Evan Water. Several later prehistoric settlements and enclosures populate adjacent slopes while a Roman road lies approximately 350m to the east.

There are around 180 known scooped settlements in eastern Dumfries and Galloway. The majority are relatively small, enclosing an area of under 0.15ha and only 60 enclose an area greater than 0.22ha. Craik's Crag is one of the smaller examples. Sheltered slopes are favoured as defence appears to have represented a lower priority for those occupying these sites. Evidence from excavated examples has indicated that scooped settlements date from the end of the 1st millennium BC through to the beginning of the 1st millennium AD.

Scooped settlements are often located close to larger defended sites and there is a fort at Camp Knowe to the south-east. As yet, however, it is unclear if the settlements are contemporary and the nature of potential relationships remain poorly understood. Further analysis of this monument and others in the vicinity may identify sites occupied at the same time and allow a settlement hierarchy to be proposed. Spatial analysis of scooped settlements and other settlement types in the region may further our understanding of settlement location, the structure of society and economy. We can use information gained from preservation and study of this site to gain wider knowledge of Iron-Age enclosed settlement across Scotland.

Associative characteristics

Later 19th-century Ordnance Survey maps do not depict the scooped settlement nor do they indicate that there was anything distinctive about this area of the landscape.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to inform our knowledge of Iron-Age domestic settlement together with later reuse of the landscape before the era of the agricultural improvements. Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us about wider society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. This monument is of particular importance because it is part of a wider later prehistoric archaeological landscape and may have an association with the fort at Camp Knowe. Spatial analysis of sites in the vicinity may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement. This monument is also of enhanced significance because the waterlogged nature of the settlement interior may have enabled the preservation of organic remains, artefacts or ecofacts with the potential to inform our knowledge of the construction and use of the settlement. In addition, in this area, analysis of scooped settlements and associated cultural material may provide evidence of native-Roman interaction, particularly as the site lies close to a Roman road. Its loss or diminution would impede significantly our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland as well as our knowledge of Iron-Age and post-medieval social structure, economy and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NT00NE 48; the Dumfries and Galloway SMR records the site as MDG9513.

References

RCAHMS, 1997 Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape. Edinburgh, The Stationery Office.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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