Ancient Monuments

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Crooks, scooped settlement 290m NNE of

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

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Latitude: 55.2213 / 55°13'16"N

Longitude: -3.1052 / 3°6'18"W

OS Eastings: 329787

OS Northings: 592449

OS Grid: NY297924

Mapcode National: GBR 68R2.J4

Mapcode Global: WH6XB.81K4

Entry Name: Crooks, scooped settlement 290m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 18 February 1986

Last Amended: 27 January 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4368

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: scooped settlement

Location: Westerkirk

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the remains of a prehistoric scooped settlement visible as level platforms surrounded by a turf bank enclosure, likely to date to the last centuries BC/early centuries AD. It lies on an old river terrace about 225m south-east of where Stennies Water meets with Meggat Water, around 140m above sea level. The monument was last scheduled in 1997, but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The interior of the enclosure is cut into the W-facing slope on the ESE side and covers at least 0.14ha. It measures 40m NE-SW by at least 35m transversely, enclosed by a bank, that is truncated by a road on the ESE side. To the north-west the bank is constructed on a natural terrace and there is an entrance. Within the interior of the enclosure lies two platforms.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to but specifically excludes the drystone wall that bounds the road to the SW. The scheduling also excludes the above-ground elements of the drystone wall that cuts across the scheduled area to the north and the telegraph pole in the north-west of the scheduled area, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's cultural significance can be expressed as follows:

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument is visible as a platform cut into the natural slope and utilises an old river terrace. It is surrounded by a stony bank with an entrance and has two level platforms within the interior. It survives in an area of heavy agricultural activity and is an example of a typical scooped settlement.

Potential exists for the preservation of buried soil and other environmental remains beneath the bank, providing evidence of the environment within which Iron-Age people built the settlement. The interior of the enclosure is undisturbed with the high potential for the good preservation of archaeological evidence relating to the construction, occupation and abandonment of the site and the daily lives of the people who occupied them. In particular, the lower level is interpreted as functioning as a yard, which is sunken, with roundhouses and domestic remains located on the upper level. Evidence of timber and stone structures has been found in other similar sites. As this type of settlement can include a farmyard there may be areas where evidence of the agricultural regime exists. Buried deposits also have the potential to add to our understanding of the economy and society of the prehistoric period.

Contextual characteristics

Settlements such as this were built at various times from at least the end of the late Bronze Age (around 800 BC) until probably the end of the early Middle Ages (around 1000 AD). Existing evidence suggests that the majority of scooped settlements date from the end of the 1st millennium BC through to the beginning of the 1st millennium AD.

The monument is situated in the bottom of a valley around 210m east of the Meggat Water. The entrance faces out towards the river. It is set on ground that is easily accessible and it would seem controlled access to the site was not the most important factor in choosing its location. Comparing and contrasting the settlement to other nearby examples (as Iron-Age settlements tend to be constructed in close proximity to each other) can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts for the understanding of Iron-Age economy, the structure of society and the expansion of prehistoric settlement in the area.

The construction of scooped settlements, including size, form, features and their placement in the landscape, are all important in understanding this type of monument. By comparing this monument to others of its type we can learn more about prehistoric scooped settlements in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and more widely throughout Scotland. The monument also complements the other types of prehistoric settlement sites identified close by in Eskdale, to provide a fuller picture of prehistoric landscape and society in the region over time.

Associative characteristics

The Ordnance Survey 1st and 2nd Edition mapping marks this site as a 'Fort'. This suggests an awareness of the site as a historical place and an attachment of value.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular later prehistoric settlement along the river Esk. It has the potential to make a significant contribution to our knowledge of vernacular architecture, landuse and society in this locality and by association the rest of Scotland in the later prehistoric period. Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from, who they had contacts with and also to provide us with evidence of native-Roman interaction. Archaeological deposits preserved beneath the bank and in the interior of the monument may provide information about the nature of the contemporary environment and the use prehistoric farmers made of it. Spatial analysis of sites may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement. The loss of this site in eastern Dumfries and Galloway would affect our future ability to appreciate and understand the prehistoric landscape and its inhabitants.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NY29SE 15.


Jobey, G 1971, 'Early Settlements in eastern Dumfriesshire', Trans Dumfriesshire Galloway Natur Hist Antiq Soc, 48, 96-99.

Kokeza, N 2008, Later Prehistoric Enclosed Site Evidence of Southern Scotland, BAR Brit Ser 469.

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, RCAHMS, Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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