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Parks, scooped settlement and house platforms 770m NNW of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.2653 / 55°15'54"N

Longitude: -3.4731 / 3°28'23"W

OS Eastings: 306490

OS Northings: 597778

OS Grid: NY064977

Mapcode National: GBR 475K.WC

Mapcode Global: WH5VM.MXCG

Entry Name: Parks, scooped settlement and house platforms 770m NNW of

Scheduled Date: 15 March 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12729

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 remains of a prehistoric scooped settlement visible as a platform surrounded by a stone bank. The interior has different levels and upstanding remains of structures within it. It lies on the NW-facing slope of Park Hill, around 240m above sea level and overlooking Plewlands Hill to the NNE and the valley of Kinnel Water to the east.

The interior of the enclosure is oval and covers at least 0.13ha. It measures 57m NNE-SSW by 29.5m transversely and cuts into the slope on the SSW side to a depth of 1m. It is enclosed by a stony turf-covered bank up to 5m thick and 0.3m high. The bank has been removed on the south-west. Within the interior of the enclosure lie three platforms. The first lies in the northern half of the interior and is oval in shape. It cuts into the slope on the SSW side to a depth of 0.4m and measures 9.5m NW-SE by 7m transversely. Immediately next to it on the E side is a smaller scooped platform measuring 6m NNW-SSE by 4m transversely. These platforms may be the remains of one or two houses. The third platform lies to the south of the interior and is L-shaped. Immediately to the south of this platform remains the short southern arc of a ring-ditch. The platform overlies its northern half. The entrance is on the south-east and opens out towards the eastern slope of Park Hill and down the valley of Kinnel Water. There is another gap in the bank in the north-east which may mark a second entrance.

The area to be scheduled is rectangular 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 an oval platform cut into the natural slope. It is surrounded by a stony bank with an entrance and has evidence of platforms and a ring ditch in its interior. It survives in an area of light agricultural activity and is an example of a small prehistoric enclosed scooped settlement. It is probably late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date. The platform overlying the ring ditch shows that the monument has the potential to be a complex site with multiple phases.

Potential exists for preservation of a buried soil beneath the bank, providing evidence of the environment within which Iron-Age people built the settlement. Inside the enclosure there is also likely to be well-preserved archaeological evidence relating to the construction and occupation of the site and the daily lives of the people who occupied them. In particular, this type of site is likely to have evidence of domestic structures and possibly internal yards for animals. Evidence of timber and stone structures has been found in other similar sites. As this type of settlement can include a yard there may 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

Enclosed 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 Middle Ages (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 north-east of the summit of Park Hill and around 750m to the west of Kinnel Water. It overlooks the summit of Plewlands Hill to the north-east. The known entrance faces out towards the eastern slope of Park Hill and down the river valley. It is more unusual as it is on the uphill side of the slope. However, there is also the possibility of another entrance on the downhill side. It is set on ground that is easily accessible and it would seem controlled access to the site was not the most important factor in choosing its location. 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, platforms, entrances, internal features and their placement in the landscape are all important in understanding this type of monument. This monument is a rare example of a scooped settlement with visible remains of internal platforms and structures, further enhancing its value. Its placement and layout is also unusual; most oval scooped settlements are set along the slope with the houses at the rear and a yard on the downslope side. This monument lies end-on to the slope and the house platforms occupy the centre. 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. The monument also complements the other types of prehistoric settlement sites identified close by in Annandale, 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 Kinnel Water. It 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 bank 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

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NY09NE 49 (a copy of their short report is appended) and the Dumfries and Galloway SMR as MDG9205.

References

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

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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