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Craiglynne, two scooped settlements 660m and 750m SSE of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.3267 / 55°19'35"N

Longitude: -3.3878 / 3°23'16"W

OS Eastings: 312045

OS Northings: 604499

OS Grid: NT120044

Mapcode National: GBR 46SV.BC

Mapcode Global: WH6WL.XCYV

Entry Name: Craiglynne, two scooped settlements 660m and 750m SSE of

Scheduled Date: 12 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12620

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: scooped settlement

Location: Moffat

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the remains of two adjacent scooped settlements and associated hut circles of later prehistoric date, visible as earthworks and stone structures, and later cultivation remains in the form of clearance cairns and grass-covered earth terraces. The monument is located to the east of the Moffat Water, on the W spur of Wait Hill between 230m and 240m above sea level.

The first settlement, centred on NT 1200 0454, is oval on plan and measures 40m NNE-SSW by 31m transversely. The enclosing bank is stony and measures between around 2m and 7m in width and up to 0.5m high. The bank has been augmented by later field clearance, especially in the SE quadrant. The back scarp of the settlement is on the E side and the interior of the settlement has been levelled to around 1.5m into the slope. Within the S half of the interior are the remains of a circular structure measuring around 4m in diameter, composed of a spread stony wall measuring up to 2m wide and 0.2m high, with an entrance on the W side.

There are two possible entrances into the enclosure, both around 2m wide. The less convincing of these is the one on the N, while the other is on the SW. Immediately outside this entrance is a D-shaped embanked enclosure that measures 11.5m NW-SE by 6.5m transversely over an enclosing bank around 1m wide and 0.1m high.

The second scooped settlement is located around 50m to the SE of the first, which it overlooks. This settlement is sub-square on plan and measures around 34m E-W by up to 33m transversely within a wall that has been reduced to a low grassy bank measuring up to 7m wide and 0.6m high. The entrance is located on the W side, on the downslope side, and measures around 2.4m wide. The interior of the enclosure has been levelled into the slope to a maximum depth of around 1m. There are a number of features visible within the interior, including at least two house platforms with internal diameters of around 9m and several stony banks. To the NW of this settlement are the earthwork remains of four cultivation terraces, two of which are included within the scheduling. These are oriented N-S along the W-facing slope and the uppermost runs closest to the settlement wall. The lowest terrace lies solely in improved pasture and extends about 100m to the south, where it terminates at a break of slope. To the west of the settlement are a number of irregular, small clearance cairns.

The area to be scheduled consists of two distinct areas, the first circular on plan and the second polygonal, to include the visible remains of the monument, as well as an area around it within which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The polygonal area extends up to but excludes the stone wall on its N side. On the E side the scheduled area extends up to and includes the post-and-wire fence, the above-ground elements of which are excluded for their continued maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is a well-preserved pair of scooped settlements dating to the Iron Age, interpreted as domestic in function and operating in an agrarian environment. The interiors may have been on two levels, with the entrance on the lower level. The oval settlement appears to have a bank partially across the interior from N-S; in other examples these demarcate the change in interior level. The lower level is usually interpreted as a yard or court with the upper level the usual location for domestic structures.

Both settlements survive as upstanding stony and earth banks and are clearly visible on the ground. Both settlements are highly likely to have an original land surface beneath their upstanding elements which in turn may preserve important environmental information. They therefore have an inherent potential to inform our knowledge of the environment in which the monument was constructed and the uses to which the land was being put. The oval enclosure shows some evidence of later damage within its interior, perhaps as a result of rotavation, but this does not affect the entire interior and neither enclosure has been excavated.

Both settlements exhibit a number of internal features, and there is a high probability that there are surviving negative features within and around each, such as post holes and pits, which may contain archaeologically important sediments and deposits, and possibly artefacts. These have the potential to expand our knowledge of the daily lives of the inhabitants and their social, domestic and work related activities. Such evidence can also inform our knowledge of the extent and forms of contact between the inhabitants and others either located within the same region or incoming from elsewhere, such as the Romans. In addition, the survival of the remains of roundhouses in each enclosure (including unusual evidence of stone founded round house within the oval enclosure) has an inherent capacity to further our understanding of domestic architecture, and any changes in material and design through time.

Contextual characteristics

The monuments are both situated on the west spur of Wait Hill, an area of high ground between Moffat Water to the NW and the Cornal Burn, to the S. There are particularly good views to the W and SW over the valley of the Moffat Water. Neither settlement is in a location that would suggest defence was a primary consideration. The oval settlement is overlooked from the land to the E, and the sub-square settlement is overlooked from the E and S.

Not many scooped settlements have been excavated but where they have (such as Uppercleuch, also in Dumfries and Galloway) evidence uncovered suggests that the majority date from the end of the 1st millennium BC through to the beginning of the 1st millennium AD. Romano-British material has also been recovered from excavation and demonstrates that this monument has an inherent potential to inform our understanding of the chronology of construction and occupation of such settlements and the way in which they and their inhabitants fitted into wider patterns of social contact and trade.

The pairing of later prehistoric settlements is common across eastern Dumfriesshire. The settlements usually have substantial perimeters and may traditionally have been interpreted as forts and defended settlements. It is common for one settlement to be more substantial than the other as appears to be the case at Craiglynne where the oval monument has traditionally been interpreted as a fort. The close proximity of similar monuments may indicate a sequence of construction, even if not of occupation. Other examples are found at Newhall Hill and Minsca. The pairing at Craiglynne may belong to this regional pattern. Further study and analysis of the monument, and comparison to other examples may inform our understanding of how such monuments come to built, the duration of their use and occupation and the reasons for their abandonment and construction of an alternative in close proximity.

In the wider landscape there are a number of other monuments forming the later prehistoric settlement pattern in the area. Scooped settlements are prevalent with other examples recorded 940m to the NNE, 1330M to the SW, and 800m, 740m and 770m to the WSW. 785m to the NW a settlement or fort has been recorded. The pair at Craiglynne are demonstrably a part of a much wider pattern of settlement and further study, analysis and comparison will inform our understanding of population density, expansion and contraction in settlement and the ways in which the landscape was divided up.

The proximity of the cultivation remains in notable, however the nature of any relationship between these and the settlements is unclear. The uppermost terrace runs closest to the subsquare settlement, but no sequence of construction is apparent. The cultivation remains have an inherent capacity, through study and comparison with other examples, to further of our knowledge of agricultural practice at the time of their creation. There is also potential to increase our knowledge of how such remains may relate to other monuments within the landscape, such as the remains of former settlement. They may also retain important environmental evidence that can inform our knowledge of what people were cultivating and how the landscape may have been utilised and how it looked.

Associative characteristics

The settlement to the NW was noted by D Christian in 1891 as a fort, curiously the other settlement was not mentioned in this account. First and Second Ordnance Survey maps also only note the NW settlement, as 'site of fort'.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to inform us of a settlement type that characterises the wider Iron-Age domestic landscape, forming an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern Moffat Water river valley. Domestic remains and artefacts from such well-preserved settlements have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. In this area in particular analysis of scooped settlements and associated cultural material may provide evidence of native-Roman interaction. The old ground surfaces sealed by the perimeter banks and other upstanding remains 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 cultivations remains can further our knowledge of agricultural practice and how the landscape looked through such use. 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 social structure, economy, and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record these two scooped settlements as Cornal Burn scooped settlement NT10SW 5 and Cornal Burn settlement: scooped; cultivation terraces; small cairns NT10SW 6. Dumfries and Galloway Sites and Monuments Record lists the monuments as MDG409 and MDG410. Copies of these reports are appended.

Aerial photograph used:

RCAHMS 2001 Cornal Burn scooped settlements D 69818 CN


Christian, D 1891, 'A general view of the forts, camps and motes of Dumfriesshire, with a detailed description of those in Upper Annandale, and an introduction to the study of Scottish motes', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 25 (1890-1), 239-40, no 36.

RCAHMS, 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, 145-6, 149, 151, 291, 300 nos 222, 740 and 981, Edinburgh: Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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