Ancient Monuments

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Lochurd Hills, enclosures 485m and 435m west of and 245m and 465m WSW of Woolshears Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Tweeddale West, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.6669 / 55°40'0"N

Longitude: -3.3781 / 3°22'41"W

OS Eastings: 313413

OS Northings: 642352

OS Grid: NT134423

Mapcode National: GBR 42VX.GD

Mapcode Global: WH6TW.2TNJ

Entry Name: Lochurd Hills, enclosures 485m and 435m W of and 245m and 465m WSW of Woolshears Hill

Scheduled Date: 24 May 1971

Last Amended: 26 February 2018

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2998

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: enclosure (ritual or funerary)

Location: Kirkurd

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale West

Traditional County: Peeblesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of four circular earthen enclosures of probable prehistoric date. The monument occupies the lower slopes of the Lochurd Hills and Woolshears Hill on either side of Hope's Burn, at approximately 300m above sea level in an area currently planted as forestry.

The enclosures are circular in form and uniform in shape; they survive as low earth banks which are constructed from clay and lack any discernible entrances. Three of the enclosures form a close spatially related group, within 50m to 100m of one another while the fourth is located on the eastern face of the valley at a distance around 200m from the other three. The northern most enclosure of the western group is the smallest; it is approximately 16m in overall diameter with a bank 2.5m wide and 0.4m high, enclosing an area 11m in diameter. The middle enclosure of the three western enclosures is the largest of the enclosures; it is approximately 23m in overall diameter with a bank 3.25m wide and 0.4m high, enclosing an area 16.5m in diameter. The southernmost of the three western enclosures is approximately 21m in overall diameter with a bank 3m wide and 0.4m high, enclosing an area about 15 m in diameter. The eastern enclosure is around 18m in overall diameter with a bank 3.3m wide and 0.4m high, enclosing an area 14.7m in diameter.

The scheduled area comprises of four circular areas centred on each of the four enclosures. The diameters of the scheduled areas are 26m for the northernmost of the three western enclosures, 33m for the middle enclosure, 30m for the southernmost enclosure and 28m for the easternmost enclosure. The scheduled areas include the remains described above and an area around them 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 cultural significance of the monument has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The monument is a group of four circular enclosures, which survive as upstanding earthworks, believed to be of prehistoric date. The enclosures are a precise circle, which lack any discernable entrance. Excavation of similar sites elsewhere in the Scottish Borders has uncovered prehistoric remains and have been dated to the Bronze Age (RCAHMS 1967). A few examples have contained cremated human bone and quartz and flint artefacts (RCAHMS 1967).

The excavations have demonstrated that there is good potential for the survival of archaeological remains, including human burials, artefacts and environmental remains such as pollen and charcoal, within, beneath and around the upstanding structure of the enclosures. The archaeological deposits have the potential to provide information about the date of the monument, ritual and funerary practices, and the structure of prehistoric society. Any artefacts and environmental material would enhance understanding of contemporary economy, land-use and environment.

Contextual Characteristics

There is a notable concentration of similar sized circular enclosures in the Scottish Borders and particularly in Peeblesshire, although many are considered to be later stock enclosures of some form. Further nine similar enclosures that have been classified as enclosed cremation cemeteries. The closest similar enclosure that has been argued to be a cremation cemetery is located 3km to the southwest at Stirkfield (SM3150).

The form of the enclosures at Lochurd Hills are more typical of those identified as cremation cemeteries; the enclosures are less substantial and are also associated with a group of small mounds believed to be potential barrows that are no longer visible. The monument has the potential to enhance our understanding of the nature and development of Bronze Age monumentality and burial, the nature of belief systems, ceremonial and burial practices. It can add to our knowledge of the differing functions of contemporary monuments within societies, as well as providing important insights into the prehistoric landscape.

The enclosures at Lochurd Hills are positioned on both sides of steep sided valley and would have been visible along the valley. This is similar to another group of enclosures (Lochurd Farm, ring enclosures & mound 1550m S of, SM3006) located 2.3km to the southwest.

Associative Characteristics

There are no known associative characteristics which significantly contribute to the cultural significance of this site.

Statement of National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it makes a significant addition to our understanding of the design and construction of prehistoric ritual and burial monuments, the nature of burial and ritual practices and their significance in Bronze Age society. The enclosures retain their field characteristics. The enclosures, which form this monument, are a good example of such enclosures in the Scottish Borders and therefore can significantly enhance our understanding of Bronze Age society in the region, as well as the nature of Bronze Age belief systems, burial and ceremonial practices. The group of enclosures would have been an important component of the wider prehistoric landscape of settlement, agriculture and ritual and would have been a prominent part of the prehistoric landscape. The loss of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the meaning and importance of death, burial and ritual in the Bronze Age and the placing of such sites within the landscape.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 50085 (accessed on 17/10/2017).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference 50085 (accessed on 17/10/2017).

RCAHMS. 1967, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. Peeblesshire: an inventory of the ancient monuments, 2v. Edinburgh.

Canmore

https://canmore.org.uk/site/50085/

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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