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Calfield, scooped settlement and farmstead 440m north of

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

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.1497 / 55°8'58"N

Longitude: -3.0388 / 3°2'19"W

OS Eastings: 333893

OS Northings: 584420

OS Grid: NY338844

Mapcode National: GBR 786W.XS

Mapcode Global: WH7YP.9T6K

Entry Name: Calfield, scooped settlement and farmstead 440m N of

Scheduled Date: 15 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12700

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: homestead; Secular: farmstead

Location: Langholm

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument consists of the upstanding remains of a prehistoric enclosure overlain by a medieval or later farmstead on the S-facing slope of Naze Hill, 220m above sea level. It lies approximately 275m north of Becks Burn, a tributary of Wauchope Water.

The interior of the enclosure measures 25m by 15m and is dug into the slope on the NNW side. On its other sides it is enclosed by a stony bank 3.1m thick and 0.5m high. Within the interior of the enclosure lies a later farmstead. It consists of the remains of a building measuring 14.8m by 4m internally. The building stands on two levelled platforms cut into the slope slightly.

A settlement called 'Nise' is noted on Blaeu's map of Eskdale in 1654 and there is historical evidence for residents at Naze or Nise Hill in 1691. However, by 1718 there are no houses on Naze Hill according to a Buccleuch Estate Plan.

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.

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 as a stony bank and the footings of a single building on a level platform. It survives in an area of light agricultural activity and is an example of a typical small prehistoric homestead re-used in the post-medieval period. The prehistoric homestead enclosure is likely to be late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date. It was re-used as a boundary for a basic pre-Improvement farmstead. The dual use of the site is important as it may provide information relating to a relatively long period of time.

Potential exists for preservation of a buried soil beneath the rampart, providing evidence of the environment within which Iron-Age people built the settlement. Inside the enclosure there may be archaeological evidence relating to the construction and occupation of the site and the daily lives of the people who occupied them. In particular, buried deposits have the potential to add to our understanding of domestic structures and economy of the prehistoric and post-medieval period. Both these types of settlement can sometimes also include a farmyard and there may be an area where evidence of the agricultural regime exists.

Contextual characteristics

This monument has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of prehistoric defended settlements, particularly those sited on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys, characteristic of the wider distribution of Iron-Age sites in eastern Dumfries and Galloway. 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 and structure of society. We can use information gained from the preservation and study of this site to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-Age enclosed settlements across Scotland.

Latterly the site was used as a pre-Improvement farmstead and was abandoned in the early 18th century. The survival of undisturbed pre-Improvement farmsteads in this part of Scotland is relatively rare. A settlement called Nise is noted in this location in Blaeu's map dated 1654, so the date of the settlement may also be quite early, possibly of late-medieval origin.

The monument occupies a rich prehistoric and post-medieval landscape: it includes other farmstead settlements to the north-west, south-east and south, the site of a towerhouse to the ENE and two ring enclosures to the south-east and south-west. The monument itself was used both in the prehistoric and post-medieval period as a settlement. This presents an important opportunity to assess the occupation of this area over thousands of years and the importance of the monument's topographical location.

Associative characteristics

Blaeu's map of 'Eusdail and Eskdail' is the first historical mention of a settlement called Nise in this general location. In 1691 we know that the farmstead was still occupied because 'Jo Moorhead' and 'Wm Irvine yr' were resident at Naze or Nise Hill farm. However, by 1718 it had been taken in by the neighbouring Becks Farm and the Buccleuch survey of 1718 states, 'here is no house not now at Nisehill'.

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 two types of settlement that characterise both the wider Iron-Age domestic landscape and the post-medieval pre-Improvement agricultural landscape. Together these present an important opportunity to assess the occupation of this area over thousands of years. It forms an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along Wauchope Water. 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 ramparts 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. Structures dating from the late-medieval period are extremely rare in this area and this example represents an important potential for informing our knowledge of them. Buried deposits from such sites have the potential to tell us about wider society at the time, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contact with. The loss of the monument would significantly diminish our ability to understand the placing of prehistoric settlements (particularly those on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys) within the landscape both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland, as well as our future ability to appreciate and understand Iron-Age social structure, economy, and building practices. Its loss would also impede our ability to understand the use of post-medieval farmsteads, their placing within the pre-Improvement landscape, and the social structure and economy of the time.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NY38SW 15 (a copy of their short report is appended).

References

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

Blaeu, J 1654, A Vision of Scotland: John Blaeu and the Atlas Novus, [accessed 09 June 2009].

Kokeza, N 2008, Later Prehistoric Enclosed Site Evidence of Southern Scotland, BAR Brit Ser 469.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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