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Eweslees, settlements 105m and 265m north west of Fiddleton Bankend

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale East and Eskdale, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.2601 / 55°15'36"N

Longitude: -2.9673 / 2°58'2"W

OS Eastings: 338621

OS Northings: 596643

OS Grid: NY386966

Mapcode National: GBR 77QM.D6

Mapcode Global: WH7YB.D17V

Entry Name: Eweslees, settlements 105m and 265m NW of Fiddleton Bankend

Scheduled Date: 24 March 1988

Last Amended: 28 May 2019

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4506

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: scooped settlement

Location: Ewes

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of two prehistoric scooped settlements, dating to the Iron Age (between around 800 BC and 400 AD). Both settlements are oval in form and defined by turf-covered stony banks. The remains of two stone based roundhouses survive within the northern settlement, along with a rectangular structure of medieval or post-medieval date. Both settlements lie on the east facing slope above the Ewes valley, at about 200m and 170m above sea level.

The north settlement measures 49m by 43m within a bank up to 4.8m wide. The bank stands up to about 0.5m in height on all sides apart from on the northwest where the interior is scooped into the slope to a depth of 0.9m. There is an entrance gap on the southeast. Two roundhouses survive within this settlement, both of which are defined by turf covered stone walls. One roundhouse is centrally placed and measures around 8m in diameter within walls around 1m wide. The second roundhouse lies in the northeast sector of the settlement. It measures about 6m in diameter within walls around 1m wide. A small rectangular building of medieval or post-medieval date abuts the enclosing bank on the southwest. The south settlement measures around 63m in diameter. It is defined by a low turf-covered rubble bank, most clearly visible on the southwest where the interior is dug up to around 1.8m into the slope. The northern arc of the settlement is indistinct. It is defined on the northwest by a steep gully formed by the Glenvarren Sike, where a section has likely been lost to erosion. There are no features are visible within the interior. Field banks of 19th century date and a modern drainage ditch cut across the settlement.

The scheduled area is in two parts, both of which are irregular. 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. The scheduling specifically excludes the above ground elements of all post and wire fences and the above ground elements of the telegraph poles and supporting wire stays.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

National Importance

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

a. The monument is of national importance because it makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, as two scooped settlements dating to the Iron Age which are located in close proximity. In particular, it adds to our understanding of Iron Age society in southern Scotland and the construction, use and development of later prehistoric settlements.

b. The monument retains structural and other physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past. The monument survives as upstanding remains with the northern settlement exhibiting two roundhouses within its perimeter. There is also a significant likelihood for the survival of buried archaeological deposits within and around the settlements.

d. The monument is a particularly good example of two scooped settlements. Both have upstanding banks and internal features are visible within the northern settlement. It is therefore an important representative of this monument type.

e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding of the past. In particular it can tell us about the  character and development of Iron Age settlements in southwest Scotland, as well as society and economy during this period.

f. The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the historic landscape by its association with a wider cluster of later prehistoric remains.

Assessment of Cultural Significance

The 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)

The monument consists of the remains of two later prehistoric scooped settlements. The northern settlement is well preserved. It is defined by a substantial turf-covered stone bank and levelled into the natural slope on the northwest. The remains of two stone-based roundhouses are visible within the interior, along with a rectangular structure of medieval or post-medieval date. Although the southern settlement is less clearly defined in places, the overall plan of the monument is clear and understandable. It has also been levelled into the slope on the southwest.

Excavations of similar monuments elsewhere for example Boonies (Canmore ID 67818), Long Knowe (SM3819; Canmore ID 67287), Fourmerklandhill (Canmore ID 66774) and Hetha Burn I (Northumberland) demonstrate that such settlements were built and used between around 800 BC and 400 AD. They represent enclosed farmsteads that could have accommodated an extended family.

There is good potential for the survival of archaeological deposits, including occupation and abandonment debris, artefacts and environmental remains such as charcoal and pollen within, beneath and around the remains of the settlement. These deposits can help us understand more about prehistoric domestic and agricultural practice, and the significance of materials, technology and craft in a domestic-agricultural context. This monument has the potential to add to our understanding of settlement, land-use and environment during later prehistory. It can provide information about the economy, diet and social status of the occupants and the structure of contemporary society and economy.

Scooped settlement such as those at Eweslees are likely Iron Age in date. There is no clear indication whether the remains derive from an extended development sequence or if the two settlements were built at the same date. A rectangular building of medieval or post-medieval date within the north settlement indicates re-use of this settlement at a later date. Scientific study of this site would allow us to develop a better understanding of the nature and chronology of the scooped settlements, including their date of origin, the character of the remains and any possible development sequence.

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

Scooped settlements are primarily found in the uplands of eastern Dumfriesshire and the Scottish Borders, as well as the north of England. They comprise settlements that are wholly or partly scooped into the slope. Around 200 such monuments have been recorded in Scotland. The examples at Eweslees are of particular significance because of their good preservation and large size.

They form part of wider cluster of scooped settlements in the area, including Blackhall (Canmore ID 67749), Unthank (Canmore ID 67759), Rigfoot (SM4409; Canmore ID 67812) and Garage Cottage (SM12738; Canmore ID 92446). There is potential to study these sites together to better understand their functions within the local communities, settlement hierarchy and possible chronological development in the area. The monument has the potential to enhance and broaden our understanding of prehistoric society and community as well as social organisation, land division and land use.

The northern settlement occupies a prominent position, on the end of a slight spur, overlooking the Ewes Valley. It overlooks the location of the southern settlement, which is placed at a lower elevation. This second settlement is bounded by the deep ravine of the Glenwarren Sike on the north and northwest.

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

There are no known associative characteristics that contribute to this site's cultural significance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 67747 and 67750 (accessed on 03/04/2019).

Dumfries and Galloway Historic Environment Record Reference MDG8049 and MDG8046 (accessed on 03/04/2019).

Burgess, C. B. (1970) Excavations at the scooped settlement Hetha Burn 1, Hethpool, Northumberland. Transactions of the Architectural and Archaeological Society of Durham and Northumberland, 2. Pp. 1-23.

Jobey, G. (1975) Excavations at Boonies, Westerkirk, and the nature of Romano-British settlement in eastern Dumfriesshire. Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland 105 (1972-4). Pp. 119-140.

Mercer, R. (1981) The excavation of an earthwork enclosure at Long Knowe, Eskdale, Dumfriesshire, 1976. Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, 56. Pp. 38-72.

RCAHMS (1920) The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Constructions of Scotland. Seventh report with inventory of monuments and constructions in the county of Dumfries. Edinburgh. Pp. 81-2.

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

Terry, J. (1993) Excavation of a farmstead enclosure, Uppercleuch, in Annandale, Dumfries and Galloway. Transactions of the Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society, 68. Pp 53-86.

Canmore

https://canmore.org.uk/site/67750/
https://canmore.org.uk/site/67747/

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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