Ancient Monuments

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Pyatshaws Rig, settlement 965m north east of Meikle Whitriggs

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.1494 / 55°8'57"N

Longitude: -3.2336 / 3°14'0"W

OS Eastings: 321479

OS Northings: 584589

OS Grid: NY214845

Mapcode National: GBR 58VW.QW

Mapcode Global: WH6XG.9TFS

Entry Name: Pyatshaws Rig, settlement 965m NE of Meikle Whitriggs

Scheduled Date: 20 February 1963

Last Amended: 28 January 2010

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM2289

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: settlement

Location: Hutton and Corrie

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a later prehistoric settlement complex including both enclosed and unenclosed features. It survives as a series of low earthworks and buried deposits in rough grassland. It is located to the south of Eskdalemuir on a S-facing spur of Corrie Common at approximately 230m above sea level. The monument was first scheduled in 1963, but an inadequate area was included to protect all of the archaeological remains: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The largest component is an enclosure defined by a sub-circular earth and stone bank within a ditch that is about 55m in diameter. A single entrance is visible in the eastern half as a causewayed feature and a further gap in the S half is interpreted as damage. The remains of at least two circular structures in the interior have been interpreted as house sites and low platforms and ring grooves towards the inner edge of the bank are also thought to be the remains of individual houses. To the immediate north-west of the enclosed settlement lies a small group of four round houses, two of which measure approximately 15m and 11m in diameter respectively; in both cases evidence for an entrance in the SE quadrant is visible as are the faint remains of ring grooves within the circular bank that defines each. The remaining two houses are visible as indistinct ring ditches and very little can be seen on the ground.

The area to be scheduled is circular 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.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

These are the well-preserved remains of a later prehistoric settlement that displays an interesting development sequence in its unenclosed and enclosed components. The latter partly superimposes over the former, suggesting the unenclosed settlement phase came first. The structural remains of individual buildings are clear as are the enclosing works of the ditch and bank and these can help us understand the design and construction of such settlements as well as the use of the interior and exterior space (of both the houses and the enclosure). Artefactual and ecofactual deposits from the building phases and the occupation of the site are likely to be preserved below the ground surface and these can help us build up a picture of the physical conditions, environment and land cover that faced the builders and communities living here.

Contextual characteristics

The visible ground plans of the houses forming the unenclosed part of the site are similar in form to other examples in S Scotland and researchers have used this to broadly date the type to the first millennium BC. This unenclosed element to the overall monument is geographically limited in eastern Dumfries and Galloway to an area roughly between the Rivers Annan and Esk. The superimposition of the bank of the adjacent enclosed settlement indicates that the phasing of the site went from an unenclosed to an enclosed form and this can help us understand much about the enclosing of space and change in focus for settlement. The enclosed component is suggested by researchers as being indefensible in its function despite its position overlooking surrounding land in all directions. The act of enclosing a similar group of houses was a significant undertaking and indicates this change in focus. The monument therefore has the potential to tell us much about growth and change in prehistoric settlement and the significance of enclosing domestic space.

Associative characteristics

The remains are depicted on first edition Ordnance Survey mapping

National Importance

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to the understanding of the past, in particular the study of domestic architecture and the development of small communities living in later prehistoric SW Scotland. It is part of a wider contemporary landscape of settlement and therefore plays an important part in our understanding of prehistoric life and how the wider area of SW Scotland was settled and exploited by prehistoric communities. The loss of this example would significantly diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand later prehistory in Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the site as NT28SW 1 and NY28SW 57. Dumfries and Galloway Council SMR records the site as MDG 11097 and 11096.

References:

RCAHMS 1920, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland Seventh Report with Inventory of Monuments and Constructions in the County of Dumfries, HMSO: Edinburgh.

RCAHMS 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape, Edinburgh, The Stationery Office.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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