Ancient Monuments

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Johnston, unenclosed settlement 400m east of

A Scheduled Monument in West Garioch, Aberdeenshire

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Latitude: 57.3128 / 57°18'46"N

Longitude: -2.6926 / 2°41'33"W

OS Eastings: 358377

OS Northings: 824902

OS Grid: NJ583249

Mapcode National: GBR M9QD.777

Mapcode Global: WH7MD.MG09

Entry Name: Johnston, unenclosed settlement 400m E of

Scheduled Date: 1 March 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11523

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Leslie (Aberdeenshire)

County: Aberdeenshire

Electoral Ward: West Garioch

Traditional County: Aberdeenshire


The monument comprises an unenclosed settlement of prehistoric date, visible as cropmarks on oblique aerial photographs. It is situated in gently sloping ground in a cultivated field, 195-200m above sea level, in a valley 600m S of the Hill of New Leslie and 300m N of Gradie Burn.

The settlement is visible as three clusters of ring-ditches - at least 11 in total - measuring from 8-10m. Such ring-ditches represent the remains of timber roundhouses. The westernmost cluster is a circular, widely spaced grouping of two complete ring-ditches and one partially complete ring-ditch. The second cluster is in the NE corner of the field. Two complete ring-ditches and at least three curvilinear features (that look to be partial ring-ditches) form a quite tightly spaced, almost linear grouping. The most southerly cluster comprises a circular, quite tightly spaced grouping of one complete ring-ditch and two partially complete ring-ditches.

We often find other features, such as middens, hearths and boundary ditches near to prehistoric houses. There is no evidence in this instance that the settlement was ever enclosed.

The area proposed for scheduling comprises the remains described and an area around them in which associated evidence for their use and construction may be expected to be found. It consists of three circular areas of differing diameters, as marked in red on the accompanying map extract.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

The monument's archaeological significance can be expressed under two headings:

Intrinsic characteristics: The monument is unexcavated and has considerable potential to enhance our understanding of unenclosed settlements of the prehistoric period in NE Scotland: the construction of dwellings; how people planned or laid out settlements; and how people lived. Some of the ring-ditches could possibly be earlier, especially those in the NW corner of the field, which may suggest at least two phases of development.

Associative characteristics: The monument is a rare example of a low-lying, large unenclosed settlement. Therefore, the site has great potential to contribute to our understanding of this class of monument in NE Scotland, and to enable us to compare this with other settlement types. Lying just to the S of the hilltop enclosure at the Hill of Newleslie, one of the largest in the region, the monument is also part of a rich prehistoric landscape.

National Importance: The monument is of national importance because of its potential to contribute to an understanding of prehistoric settlement and economy. Its proximity to other types of monuments that are likely to be contemporary increases its potential to contribute to our appreciation and understanding of the development of the prehistoric landscape. Because of the rarity of an unenclosed settlement of this size in the region, our potential to understand this class of monument would be diminished if it was lost or destroyed.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



The monument is recorded by RCAHMS as NJ52SE29 and by Aberdeenshire Council SMR as NJ52SE0022.

Aerial photographs:

AAS, 1983, NJ52SE29, Littlemill, B92092/PO.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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