Ancient Monuments

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Romanno Mains, two barrows 550m south east of

A Scheduled Monument in Tweeddale West, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.7183 / 55°43'5"N

Longitude: -3.3142 / 3°18'51"W

OS Eastings: 317539

OS Northings: 647989

OS Grid: NT175479

Mapcode National: GBR 5299.8Z

Mapcode Global: WH6TQ.2J2N

Entry Name: Romanno Mains, two barrows 550m SE of

Scheduled Date: 13 November 1968

Last Amended: 29 January 2020

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2728

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric ritual and funerary: barrow

Location: Newlands

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale West

Traditional County: Peeblesshire

Description

The monument comprises two prehistoric burial mounds known as barrows, likely to date to the Bronze Age. The barrows are visible as two, low oval-shaped mounds surviving in pasture and are located on a northwest-facing sloping looking westwards to the Pentland Hills at approximately 345m above sea level.

The northernmost barrow is up to 8m in diameter and 0.3m high; the southernmost barrow is less visible at just over 7m in diameter and 0.1m high.  Previously records note that the mounds were each encircled by a ditch. Now only the southernmost mound exhibits visible evidence of this feature.  

The scheduled area is rectangular measuring 55m by 20m. It includes the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

National Importance

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way (see Designations Policy and Selection Guidance, Annex 1, para 17):

a. The monument is of national importance because as two prehistoric burial mounds it makes a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past, or has the potential to do so.

b. The monument retains structural and other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past. Two low mounds are visible and these indicate the relatively intact nature of the monument and the archaeological deposits within. Previous archaeological observations suggest the presence of a ditch encircling each mound adding to the surviving character of the monument. There is considerable archaeological potential for surviving deposits in the soil horizons within and below the mounds, in the ditch fills and; in the ground between the mounds.   

c. The monument is an example a of a less common class of prehistoric burial - a pair of ditched, earthen barrows. When compared with more robust stone-built funerary monuments, such as round cairns, earthen barrows are much more vulnerable, and many are only known through cropmark evidence. These examples are therefore relatively rare as upstanding barrows.

f. The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the historic landscape by its association with other similar prehistoric sites in the area.


Assessment of Cultural Significance

This statement of national importance has been informed by the following assessment of cultural significance:

Intrinsic characteristics (how the remains of a site or place contribute to our knowledge of the past)

These two prehistoric barrows survive as low earthen mounds. It is not clear how much larger the earthen mounds originally were since such monuments are prone to the impacts of agricultural land use such as ploughing. When compared with more robust stone-built funerary monuments, such as round cairns, earthen barrows such as these are much more vulnerable to erosion, and many are only known through cropmark evidence. The presence of an encircling ditch around the mounds suggest a more complex arrangement, function and significance here, than simpler, mounded examples.

These barrows are an example of a form of burial practice where one or more burials, often with grave goods, was sealed over by an earthen mound. Excavation of similar monuments has shown that later burials can also be inserted into these monuments, displaying a degree of a re-use and development. The presence of a ditch around these mounds is of further interest; the fills of which are likely to contain important information about the environment at the time. Having two barrows in close proximity adds to the significance of the site. Although it is only these two mounds that are now visible, they may have been part of a larger grouping of burials and mounds.  

The form of these barrows indicates a relatively good level of survival - their overall structural footprint is intact and there is good archaeological potential for the survival of structural features, burial goods, human remains and associated archaeological and environmental remains in the various archaeological layers within and below each mound and in the ground between them.

Contextual characteristics (how a site or place relates to its surroundings and/or to our existing knowledge of the past)

These barrows are part of a sub-class of more than 600 earthen burial monuments known of across Scotland – these upstanding field monuments generally survive on marginal land where there has been little or no agricultural improvement. Other examples survive on lower, fertile land such as in improved agricultural land, but these are generally known of through cropmark evidence.  There are notable concentrations of barrows across the lowlands, eastern coasts and in the Western and Northern Isles. Locally, there are more than 70 examples recorded in the Scottish Borders area, from Biggar in the West and along key routeways such as the River Tweed, towards an eastern concentration around Duns and eastwards to the North Sea coast.

This type of monument is part of a much wider tradition of marking one or more burials in the landscape, by an overburden of soil or stone, so that the visibility of such burials is much greater – they can also be placed on skylines and in prominent locations such as natural routeways to enhance their visibility further. In this case the pair of barrows are located below a local sky/ridgeline with predominant views westwards across lower ground towards the Pentlands Hills.  

The barrows lie approximately 350m to the northwest of a third barrow (scheduled monument SM2730), suggesting that a dispersed form of cemetery involving multiple burials may exist or have existed here.  The later remains of medieval agriculture in the immediate area has complicated the interpretation of a further four mounds to the north.

Associative characteristics (how a site or place relates to people, events, and/or historic and social movements)

There are no significant associative characteristics known of for this monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 49972 (accessed on 30/10/2019).

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

Canmore

https://canmore.org.uk/site/49972/

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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