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Woodfield, enclosure 295m north east of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale East and Eskdale, Dumfries and Galloway

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Coordinates

Latitude: 54.9861 / 54°59'9"N

Longitude: -3.1457 / 3°8'44"W

OS Eastings: 326783

OS Northings: 566319

OS Grid: NY267663

Mapcode National: GBR 6BGS.RF

Mapcode Global: WH6Y8.NX8Z

Entry Name: Woodfield, enclosure 295m NE of

Scheduled Date: 16 August 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12029

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Gretna

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale East and Eskdale

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire

Description

The monument comprises a double-ditched sub-rectangular enclosure within a wide inner ditch and narrow outer ditch, with a ditched droveway approaching the entrance on the SE side, and ditched boundaries abutting the enclosure. Likely to be of Iron-age date, the enclosure is situated adjacent to the Solway Firth at about 20m above sea level. We can interpret the enclosure as the remains of a farming settlement: houses, agricultural buildings, areas for keeping animals and undertaking other activities surrounded by an enclosing bank and ditch.

Preserved as a buried feature and visible on aerial photographs, the well-defined inner ditch (2m wide) encloses a sub-rectangular area measuring about 55m NE/SW by 40m NW/SE internally. The outer ditch, which lies about 5m beyond the inner, is considerably narrower at less than 1m wide, and its line is broken in the east. The NW and SE sides of the enclosure are straight-sided, and the NE and SW sides are curved. A 16m-wide entrance is visible interrupting both the inner and outer ditches in the middle of the SE side of the enclosure. Approaching the entrance is a 9m-wide ditched droveway, of which a stretch 43m long survives. Abutting the outer ditch of the enclosure at the SW corner are two ditched boundaries, one running N/S and broken in places, and the other running WNW/ESE, with a further ditched boundary abutting the N corner of the enclosure running NE/SW. Only visible from the air, the enclosure sits in an undefendable location on a low-lying estuarine plain, with a smaller double-ditched oval enclosure and droveway lying immediately adjacent to the south. The field in which the monument is situated has been regularly ploughed in the past, and is currently under an arable regime.

The area to be scheduled is an irregular polygon on plan, to include the enclosure with its ditches, the ditched droveway approaching it, the boundary ditches adjoining the enclosure, 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 does not include the fence and hedge bounding the S and W sides of the monument.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

As a negative (buried) feature visible in the form of a cropmark on a range of aerial photographs, the enclosure is an excellent example of a multi-vallate sub-rectangular enclosure, likely to date to the late first millennium BC or early first millennium AD, surviving in an area of high agricultural activity. Although the enclosure has been cultivated, evidence relating to possible domestic structures and economy may be preserved as buried deposits inside the enclosure. It is likely that a bank would have lain inside each of the ditches, and potential exists for a buried soil to be preserved both beneath the ploughed-out remains of the banks and within the ditches, providing evidence of the environment within which the enclosure was built. The ditches may contain deposits and archaeological features relating to the construction and occupation of the site, and its association with possible surrounding field systems. The relationship between the ditched droveway and the entrance into the enclosure may provide evidence to further our understanding of the physical pattern of local settlement, and its inter-relationships.

Contextual characteristics

This enclosure has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of multi-vallate settlements, particularly those sited in low-lying undefendable areas. Unlike this monument, most enclosures in eastern Dumfries and Galloway tend to be circular or oval on plan, built on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys. Once thought to be a relatively rare component of the settlement record, recent use of aerial photography shows that sub-rectangular enclosures are more widespread than previously appreciated. Comparing and contrasting this enclosure to its immediate neighbour and other nearby examples can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape (and may indicate whether these sites are consecutive or contemporary), as well as provide enhanced contexts for the Iron-age economy and structure of society. Information gained from the preservation and study of this site can be used to gain an insight into the wider knowledge of Iron-age enclosed settlements across Scotland.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to inform us of a settlement type that characterises part of the wider Iron-age domestic landscape, forming an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along the Solway Firth. Domestic remains and artefacts from enclosures and 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 provide evidence of native-Roman interaction. Archaeological deposits preserved within the ditches and interior of the monument may provide information about what the contemporary environment looked like, and how it was being managed by the prehistoric farmers who used the site. 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 in low-lying undefendable locations) within the landscape both in eastern Dumfries and Galloway and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Iron-age social structure, economy, and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NY26NE 20.

References:

RCAHMS 1997, EASTERN DUMFRIESSHIRE: AN ARCHAEOLOGICAL LANDSCAPE, Edinburgh: HMSO, 54, 55, 57, 299, No. 670.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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