Ancient Monuments

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The Hass, settlement 550m east of, Quhytewoollen Hill

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.1338 / 55°8'1"N

Longitude: -3.3367 / 3°20'12"W

OS Eastings: 314873

OS Northings: 582972

OS Grid: NY148829

Mapcode National: GBR 5942.DH

Mapcode Global: WH6XL.Q786

Entry Name: The Hass, settlement 550m E of, Quhytewoollen Hill

Scheduled Date: 16 August 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM11966

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive)

Location: Dryfesdale

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a large defended settlement measuring approximately 65m by 50m within a rampart with external ditch. Likely to be of Iron-age date, the settlement is situated just off the summit of Quhytewoollen Hill at about 215m above sea level, 550m E of the farm at The Hass.

Preserved as a series of upstanding earthworks, the settlement is defined by a rampart approximately 4m wide, which encloses an area measuring 65m E/W and 50m N/S, and is surrounded by an external ditch. To the south-west is a counterscarp bank, and a 4m-wide entrance passes through the rampart to the south-east. The rampart is best preserved on the downhill sides of the settlement, to the east, south, and west, and on the uphill side the rampart has been reduced to an internal scarp with no trace of an accompanying ditch. There is some suggestion of a second smaller rampart within the northern part of the enclosure, and there are faint traces of later rig-and-furrow cultivation visible across the settlement. A small, enclosed reservoir lies across the projected line of the counterscarp bank to the immediate south of the settlement, and to the west of this reservoir is a small water trough. The monument currently lies in a field of pasture, and is unlikely to have been extensively ploughed in the past.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular polygon on plan to include the settlement, its banks, and an area around within which evidence relating to its construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to, but excludes the enclosed reservoir to the south-east of the settlement. The scheduled area excludes the water trough and its immediate footings, to the west of the reservoir.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

Visible as a turf-covered rampart and counterscarp with the trace of a ditch between, the monument is a good example of a fairly large defended settlement, likely to be late 1st millennium BC or early 1st millennium AD in date, surviving in an area of light agricultural activity. Although the interior has been cultivated in the past, buried deposits inside the settlement may preserve evidence relating to potential domestic structures and economy. Potential exists for preservation of a buried soil not only beneath the rampart and counterscarp but also within the ditch, providing evidence of the environment within which Iron-age people built the settlement. The ditch may contain deposits and archaeological features relating to the construction and occupation of the site, and its association with possible surrounding field systems. Entrances into settlements usually open onto the farmyard and this area may preserve evidence of the agricultural regime.

Contextual characteristics

This monument has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of defended settlements, particularly those sited on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys, characteristic of the wider distribution of Iron-age sites in eastern Dumfries and Galloway. 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 and structure of society. We can use information gained from the preservation and study of this site to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-age enclosed settlements across Scotland.

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 a type of settlement monument that characterises the wider Iron-age domestic landscape. It forms an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along Dryfe Water and the River Annan. 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 ramparts and within the ditch and 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. Its loss would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments (particularly those on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys) within the landscape both in eastern Dumfriesshire and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Iron-age social structure, economy, and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the site as NY18SW 22.


Crawford O G S 1939, ?Air reconnaissance of Roman Scotland?, ANTIQUITY 13, 281.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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