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The Welton, unenclosed settlement and souterrains 405m and 460m WSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Blairgowrie and Glens, Perth and Kinross

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Coordinates

Latitude: 56.581 / 56°34'51"N

Longitude: -3.3182 / 3°19'5"W

OS Eastings: 319125

OS Northings: 744007

OS Grid: NO191440

Mapcode National: GBR V9.GF3B

Mapcode Global: WH6PG.0V69

Entry Name: The Welton, unenclosed settlement and souterrains 405m and 460m WSW of

Scheduled Date: 20 January 1999

Last Amended: 8 October 2019

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM7176

Schedule Class: Cultural

Location: Blairgowrie

County: Perth and Kinross

Electoral Ward: Blairgowrie and Glens

Traditional County: Perthshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of an unenclosed settlement and associated souterrains, visible as cropmarks. The site is located around 60m above sea level on top of a steep scarp to the southeast of Blairgowrie, overlooking the floodplain of the River Ericht below.

The cropmarks, first recorded in 1989, show a small prehistoric complex including the remains of three roundhouses and two souterrains. Two of the roundhouses, those on the east and west, can be seen as ring-ditches up to 20m in diameter, with the third showing as an arc visible around 10m in diameter. The two souterrains are found on the north of the complex, and both show as curving linear features, one around 20m long and the other around 15m with an additional cropmark feature in the centre of the curve.

The scheduled area comprises two discrete areas; one irregular and the other circular with a diameter of 41m. 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 above ground elements of the post and wire fence within the area are excluded, to allow for their maintenance.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The national importance of the monument is demonstrated in the following way(s) (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 or appreciation of the past, or has the potential to do so, as an example of an unenclosed prehistoric settlement complex, likely dating to the Iron Age.

b. The monument retains physical attributes which make a significant contribution to our understanding or appreciation of the past. In particular, the archaeological remains indicated by the cropmarks are likely to hold evidence for the construction, use and abandonment of the prehistoric settlement.

d. The monument is a good example of a prehistoric unenclosed settlement, visible as clearly identifiable cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs over many years, and is therefore an important representative of this monument type.

e. The monument has research potential which could significantly contribute to our understanding or appreciation of the past, in particular, it holds the potential to enhance our understanding of prehistoric settlement practices within Scotland, and there is high potential for archaeological and paleo-environmental evidence to survive in and around the monument. It has also the potential to provide information about the economy, diet and social status of the occupants as well as contemporary economy and society.

f. The monument makes a significant contribution to our understanding of the historic landscape by its prominent location and its relationship to other contemporary monuments in the surrounding area and along the valley of the River Ericht. It has also the potential to increase our understanding of settlement hierarchy and changing settlement patterns along the valley.

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)

The monument is an unenclosed settlement, which has been recorded as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs and survives as buried deposits below the ploughsoil. It was first recorded in 1989, and has been visible in multiple years since that time. Although no features survive above ground, the different elements of the site and the overall plan of the monument is clear and understandable from the aerial photography.

Ring-ditches have been found on excavation to represent the remains of timber roundhouses of later prehistoric (Iron Age) date, while souterrains were semi-subterranean cellars of similar date, and are generally found in association with former timber roundhouses. Evidence from other similar sites have found roundhouses of the type visible in the cropmarks were in use from the Bronze Age through to the end of the Iron Age. The presence of the souterrains at this site suggests an Iron Age date for the complex, in common with other examples such as Newmill (Canmore ID 27006). The cropmarks may indicate that the Welton settlement underwent multiple phases of construction and use, as evidenced by the multiple roundhouses and souterrains. Archaeological evidence from the site may provide valuable information on the development sequence of the site over its lifetime.

There is 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 the roundhouses. This monument has the potential to add to our understanding of settlement, land-use and environment during later prehistory. 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 unenclosed settlements would enhance our understanding of the development sequence of this site and of prehistoric settlements in general.

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

Prehistoric unenclosed settlements and roundhouses are found across Scotland. This particular example sits on top of a steep scarp overlooking the floodplain of the River Ericht, and its location within relatively flat arable land gives the site long view in most directions, including to some other roughly contemporary settlements such as two other nearby settlement sites at Welton, one comprising barrows and a multi-vallate fort and the other including a palisaded enclosure (scheduled monuments SM7173 and SM7177) and an a further enclosed settlement with associated souterrains at Old Mains of Rattray (scheduled monument SM7210). Other settlements in the surrounding area include Mudhall (scheduled monument SM7321), Ryehill (scheduled monument SM7316) and Millhorn (scheduled monument SM7323), and there are further examples in Perth and Kinross of settlements with associated souterrains at Byres (scheduled monument SM7179), Parkhead (scheduled monument SM7732) and Pitroddie Farm (scheduled monument SM7219).

The monument therefore has the potential to enhance and broaden our understanding of the nature, development and the interrelationships of later prehistoric settlement, both along the valley of the River Ericht 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 later prehistory.

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 71366 (accessed on 07/08/2019).

Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 71367 (accessed on 07/08/2019).

Historic Environment Scotland http://www.canmore.org.uk reference number CANMORE ID 71368 (accessed on 07/08/2019).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MPK6477 (accessed on 07/08/2019).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MPK6970 (accessed on 07/08/2019).

Local Authority HER/SMR Reference MPK6971 (accessed on 07/08/2019).

MacSween, A. and Sharp, M. (1989). Prehistoric Scotland. London: B.T. Batsford Ltd.

Watkins, T. (1981b) 'Excavation of a settlement and souterrain at Newmill, near Bankfoot, Perthshire', Proc Soc Antiq Scot, vol. 110, 1978-80.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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