Ancient Monuments

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Whiteside, settlement 120m WSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Kyle, South Ayrshire

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Latitude: 55.5173 / 55°31'2"N

Longitude: -4.5921 / 4°35'31"W

OS Eastings: 236441

OS Northings: 627891

OS Grid: NS364278

Mapcode National: GBR 3C.TF4T

Mapcode Global: WH3QN.FLJ6

Entry Name: Whiteside, settlement 120m WSW of

Scheduled Date: 6 April 1992

Last Amended: 17 April 2018

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM5261

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Monkton and Prestwick

County: South Ayrshire

Electoral Ward: Kyle

Traditional County: Ayrshire


The monument is the buried remains of a settlement enclosure probably dating to the Iron Age between around 400BC to 200AD. The monument is visible as cropmarks recorded on aerial photographs. It is rectangular on plan with rounded corners and two entrances on the east and south. It occupies a gently south facing slope at around 25m above sea level.

The enclosure measures around 90m northwest-southeast by 73m within ditches up to around 2m wide. The ditches forming the eastern side are splayed outwards towards a central opening, creating an out-turned entrance around 3m wide. The southern entrance measures about 5m wide.

The scheduled area is irregular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around them 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

Cultural Significance

The cultural significance of the monument has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The monument is a settlement enclosure which has been recorded as cropmarks on aerial photographs and survives as buried deposits below the ploughsoil. It was recorded once in 1978. Limited opportunity to photograph the site, along with ground and crop conditions help to explain why it has not been photographed from the air again. Prospection for cropmarks in the west of Scotland has historically been more limited. Together with the proximity of Prestwick Airport this is likely to have provided relatively few opportunities to photograph Whiteside from the air. Cropmarks form less readily along the relatively wetter west coast of Scotland in general, while the poorly drained nature of some of the site indicates that cropmarks are likely to form at Whiteside in only exceptional conditions. Cropmarks form most readily in cereal crops and evidence of differing crop regimes at Whiteside means that it has not always been under a crop suitable for the formation of cropmarks. For example, a series of aerial photographs taken in 2010 (RCAHMS aerial digital photography DP091206; DP091208; DP091210) show Whiteside under grass or silage, ground conditions in which cropmarks do not form. These factors indicate a low likelihood that aerial survey would coincide with the conditions in which cropmarks would be visible at this site.

Although no features survive above ground, the overall plan of the monument is clear and understandable. The monument is positioned at the base of ground which rises from south to north. Consequently the north section of the enclosure is likely to have been buried beneath a greater depth of soil due to soil movement down the slope.

Excavations of similar enclosures elsewhere (e.g. Carronbridge (scheduled monument number 4093; Canmore ID 65197), Knowes (scheduled monument number 4070; Canmore ID 57720), East and West Brunton in Northumberland) indicate they were built and in use between around 400BC and 200AD. They represent enclosed settlements. These excavations have revealed internal features such as roundhouses and yards, not all of which were visible though cropmarking, as well as complex sequences of development. It has been suggested that the example at Whiteside represents a post-medieval stock enclosure, but the similarity of its form to confirmed later prehistoric settlement enclosures and its context indicate an Iron Age date is most likely.

There good potential for the survival of archaeological features and deposits, including occupation and abandonment debris, artefacts and environmental remains such as charcoal or pollen within the enclosure and within the ditches. This monument has the potential to add to our understanding of settlement, land-use and environment during the Iron Age. It has the potential to provide information about the economy, diet and social status of the occupants, as well as the structure of contemporary society and economy. Study of the monument's form and construction techniques compared with other settlement enclosures would enhance our understanding of the development sequence of this site and of Iron Age settlements in general.

Contextual Characteristics

Rectilinear settlement enclosures are found across the east and south of Scotland, as well as the north of England, but are uncommon in the west of Scotland. Only one further settlement enclosure (Ladybank: Canmore ID 296913) can be identified in Ayrshire, though it is much smaller than Whiteside and differs in form. The monument is therefore a regionally rare example of a type found more commonly in the east and south of the country.

In form the enclosure at Whiteside can be compared to rectilinear settlements in eastern Dumfriesshire, which are typically defined by ditches seldom wider than two metres, have rounded corners and are rarely strictly rectangular. The eastern out-turned entrance is, however, unusual but likely represents the presence of an elaborate gateway. Gateways are often uncovered during the excavation of rectilinear settlements and have been identified, for example, at Carronbridge (scheduled monument number 4093; Canmore ID 65197), Rispain Camp (scheduled monument number 90248; Canmore ID 63122) and Coxhoe West House in County Durham (Haselgrove 1982). However, they are often relatively simple constructions. The settlement excavated at Burradon in Northumberland offers the closest parallel for Whiteside (Jobey 1970). Here, the remains of timber fencing was uncovered between the out-turned ditches of the entrance and interpreted as the remains of a substantial gateway. The example at Whiteside, therefore, is unusual in having indications of an elaborate gateway. Such an entrance may indicate a greater regard for display.

The monument is likely to be related to the broad scattering of later prehistoric settlement that has been recorded as cropmarks on sand and gravel raised beach deposits along the Ayrshire coast. This includes a fort with multiple ditches around 300m northwest (Canmore ID 31134), a homestead and enclosure about 1.5km northwest (scheduled monument number 4488; Canmore ID 41687 and 41695) and two curvilinear enclosures and roundhouses around 1.3km southeast (Canmore ID 331526 and 311369). In contrast to Whiteside, all these examples are circular or curvilinear in form, which increases the importance of Whiteside as a rare example of a rectilinear enclosure in this part of Scotland. The proximity of the fort to the settlement enclosure is a relationship that can be observed elsewhere in Scotland (for example Lochrow palisaded enclosures (SM12712; Canmore ID 69496) and nearby Archwood fort (SM4091; Canmore ID 66231) in Dumfries and Galloway), and may represent the movement of settlement to the lower-lying ground during the later Iron Age.

The monument therefore has the potential to enhance and broaden our understanding of the nature and development of later prehistoric settlement, both in the west of Scotland and more widely. It can add to our knowledge of social status settlement hierarchy and changing settlement patterns, as well as important connections between communities during the Iron Age.

Rectilinear settlement enclosures tend not to occupy defensive or highly dominant locations. The settlement at Whiteside is positioned on a gentle south facing slope, below a ridge forming the rear of the raised beach. It has open views across the coastal plain to the south and west, and restricted views to the north. The enclosure would have been prominent feature within its local area.

  Associative Characteristics

The monument has no known associative characteristics.

Statement of National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it can make a significant addition to our understanding of Iron Age society and the construction, use and development of Iron Age settlement in the west of Scotland. It is the only example of its type in Ayrshire and a regionally rare monument type in the west of Scotland. Although no features survive above the ground, the overall plan of the monument is clear and understandable. There is significant potential for the survival of buried archaeological deposits. The monument can significantly expand our understanding of domestic settlement, agriculture and economy. The monument's importance is enhanced by its association with a wider cluster of later prehistoric remains. As a regionally rare monument type the loss or damage of the monument would diminish our ability to appreciate and understand the character and development of Iron Age settlements in Ayrshire and more widely. 

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number CANMORE ID 41686 (accessed on 14/02/2018).

Aerial photographs consulted: RCAHMS aerial photography AY2061; AY3062; AY3063. RCAHMS aerial digital photography DP091206; DP091208; DP091210

Cowley, D. C. (2000) Site morphology and regional variation in the later prehistoric settlement of south-west Scotland, in Harding, J. and R. Johnston (eds). Northern Pasts - the later prehistory of northern England and southern Scotland, British Archaeological Reports, British Series 302, Oxford. pp 167-76.

Cowley, D.C. (2009) The Traprain Environs in a regional perspective, in Haselgrove, C. (2009) The Traprain Law Environs Project. Field work and excavations 2000-2004. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland: Edinburgh, p205-220.

Cowley, D. C. and Brophy, K. (2001) The impact of aerial photography across the Lowlands of south-west Scotland, Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, Third Series, Volume LXXV, p. 47-72.

Ferrell, Gillian (1992) Settlement and society in the later prehistory of North-East England, Durham theses, Durham University. Available at Durham E-Theses Online: (accessed on 14/02/2018)

Hanson, W.S. and Macinnes, L. (1991) The archaeology of the Scottish Lowlands: problems and potential. In Hanson, W.S. and Slater, E.A. (eds) Scottish archaeology: new perceptions. Aberdeen: Aberdeen University Press. pp. 153-66.

Hodgson, N. McKelvey, J. and Muncaster, W. (2012) The Iron Age on the Northumberland coastal plain. Excavations in advance of development 2002-2010. Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Haselgrove, C.C. (1982) An Iron Age settlement at West House, Coxhoe, County Durham. Archaeologia Aeliana, 5(10), p25-51.

Haselgrove, C. (2009) The Traprain Law Environs Project. Field work and excavations 2000-2004. Society of Antiquaries of Scotland: Edinburgh.

Jobey, G. (1970) An Iron Age settlement and homestead at Burradon, Northumberland. Archaeologia Aeliana, 4(XLVII). p. 51-95.

Johnston, D.A. (1994) Carronbridge, Dumfries and Galloway: the excavation of Bronze Age cremations, Iron Age settlements and a Roman camp. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, 124. p233-291.

RCAHMS (1985) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of North Kyle, Kyle and Carrick District, Strathclyde Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series no 25. Edinburgh. p13.

RCAHMS (1997) Eastern Dumfriesshire: an archaeological landscape. Edinburgh.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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