Ancient Monuments

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Hangingshaw Hill, unenclosed settlement, field system and cairn

A Scheduled Monument in Kelso and District, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.4158 / 55°24'57"N

Longitude: -2.3698 / 2°22'11"W

OS Eastings: 376685

OS Northings: 613608

OS Grid: NT766136

Mapcode National: GBR C5WT.QD

Mapcode Global: WH8YZ.K4QH

Entry Name: Hangingshaw Hill, unenclosed settlement, field system and cairn

Scheduled Date: 19 December 2002

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM10746

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: cairn (

Location: Hownam

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Kelso and District

Traditional County: Roxburghshire


The monument comprises the remains of at least ten timber roundhouses dating from the late Bronze Age or early Iron Age (c.1000-400 BC), visible today as a series of circular ditches. The houses lie within a contemporary field system. The monument also includes the remains of an earlier prehistoric burial cairn.

The monument lies at a height of around 300-310m OD, on a broad ridge running SW from the summit of Hangingshaw Hill. The circular houses are spread along the ridge, with a tight cluster of four buildings at the N end, close to the summit of the hill, and a looser distribution along the rest of the length of the monument. The houses range in size from 8m to 10.5m in diameter, and are defined by ditches around 1.5m wide and 0.3m deep, some with a low external bank.

When the buildings were standing, these ditches would have run immediately inside the timber walls of the houses. The physical relationships between some of the houses, particularly those in the northernmost group, imply that they might not all have been in existence at the same time, which indicates that the settlement may have had a long history of use.

The field system between and around the houses comprises narrow rigs of a type known as 'cord rig'. The individual rigs are about 0.7m wide and 0.1m high, and could have been created either by ploughing or by spade cultivation.

The prehistoric burial cairn is located at the southern end of the ridge, where it commands extensive views over the valley of the Kale Water. From this position it may be intervisible with a number of other burial cairns in the surrounding area. The cairn is circular, measuring 6.2m in diameter and standing up to 0.4m high. Three kerbstones are visible on the W side. Although it has obviously been robbed of some stone in the past, the cairn shows no other sign of disturbance and may preserve its burial deposits intact.

The area to be scheduled comprises the remains described and an area around them within which related evidence may be expected to survive. It is roughly rectangular on plan, with maximum dimensions of 419m from NE to SW by 104m transversely, as shown in red on the accompanying map.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance for its potential to enhance our knowledge of prehistoric settlement, architecture, agriculture, economy, social organisation and burial and ritual practices. The remains appear to be exceptionally well preserved, especially the field system: and the different phases of use of the site, and the relationships between the individual elements, lend further interest and importance to the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT 71 SE 70 and 76.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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