Ancient Monuments

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Chester Hill,fort and cultivation terraces

A Scheduled Monument in East Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.835 / 55°50'6"N

Longitude: -2.0764 / 2°4'34"W

OS Eastings: 395315

OS Northings: 660200

OS Grid: NT953602

Mapcode National: GBR F0YZ.84

Mapcode Global: WH9Y4.2LJN

Entry Name: Chester Hill,fort and cultivation terraces

Scheduled Date: 15 November 1990

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4918

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: cultivation terraces; Secular: cultivation terraces

Location: Ayton

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: East Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument is a D-shaped fort and annexe of the Iron Age situated on the top of Chester Hill, and cultivation terraces on the flank of the hill. The very steep drop on the NE provides a natural defence to the fort. On the easier approach to the SW the fort is defended by a low, much-spread rampart fronted by a broad but now almost completely filled-in ditch. The earthwork encloses an area measuring 85m by 66m. On the SE side a large annexe is abutted. On the easy approach it is defended by two low, much spread banks, with a ditch between them. The annexe measures 69m by 65m. Although no surface traces of house stances remain, considerable remains are likely to survive below ground.

To the SE, on the S flank of the hill, are six prominent cultivation terrace; at the foot of the crag to the NE there are four slighter terraces. It is possible that these are contemporary with the fort, but more likely they are of medieval date. Cultivation terraces are virtually unknown in the area. The formation of terraces on a NE facing slope in this case points to considerable pressure on land use at the time of their construction. An area measuring a maximum of 310m WNW-ESE by 195m transversely is proposed for scheduling. The SW part of the area, in which a small part of the defences of the fort lies, is under arable cultivation.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as an example of a rare type; only one other example survives in the area, the two phase fort at Earns Heugh. Excavation of the monument would provide information of considerable value about the way of life of the inhabitants. The cultivation terraces have well preserved field characteristics. Excavation would provide information about land use in the medieval period, which is not preserved elsewhere in the area. The monument is of national importance to the theme of Iron Age settlement and defence, and to medieval agriculture.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT 96 SE 1 and 2.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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