Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Blacketlees Cottages, enclosure 75m SSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale South, Dumfries and Galloway

We don't have any photos of this monument yet. Why don't you be the first to send us one?

Upload Photo »

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »

If Google Street View is available, the image is from the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the monument. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 55.0065 / 55°0'23"N

Longitude: -3.2722 / 3°16'19"W

OS Eastings: 318729

OS Northings: 568736

OS Grid: NY187687

Mapcode National: GBR 5BLK.C3

Mapcode Global: WH6Y6.QF08

Entry Name: Blacketlees Cottages, enclosure 75m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 16 August 2007

Last Amended: 23 September 2009

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12027

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Annan

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale South

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a rectilinear enclosure measuring approximately 70m SE/NW by an average 55m NE/SW within a 3-4m wide ditch. There is a possible entrance on the E side. Likely to be of Iron-age date, the enclosure is situated on a river terrace at about 25m above sea level, 75m SSW of Blacketlees Cottages. We can interpret it 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.

Visible as a slight depression, and preserved as a buried feature and visible on aerial photographs, the ditch encloses a sub-rectangular area with a bowed E and SE side. On the ground, the ditch is best defined on the N and E sides, but to the west a broad swelling of the ground just outside the ditch line may indicate an outer bank, whilst just inside the ditch an inner bank may be preserved beneath the hedgerow. Best visible from the air, the enclosure sits in an undefendable location on a low-lying river terrace. Excavation evidence from the 1950s reveals that the ditch is 2.5-3.3m deep, contains well-preserved organic matter, and is revetted in the SW corner. It also showed that a roadway approaches the E side of the enclosure on a causeway of undisturbed soil. 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 two irregular polygons on plan, to include the enclosure, its bank and ditch, 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 fence and hedge bounding the road that bisects the enclosure.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

Preserved as both a negative (buried) feature visible in the form of a cropmark and as a faint earthwork, the enclosure is an excellent example of a 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, buried deposits inside the enclosure may preserve evidence relating to possible domestic structures and economy, and excavation has revealed some worked animal bone within the ditch. It is likely that a bank would be associated with the ditch; evidence for this is visible on the ground in the form of a slight swelling outside the line of the ditch. Potential exists for preservation of a buried soil beneath the ploughed-out remains of this bank, providing further evidence of the environment within which Iron-age people built the enclosure. Excavation has shown the ditch to be revetted on the inner SW corner, and a post and packing were found on the outer edge of the ditch at the NW corner. The ditch is likely to contain further deposits and archaeological features relating to the construction and occupation of the site and its association with possible surrounding field systems. Excavation also revealed an entrance interrupting the ditch on the E side of the enclosure.

Contextual characteristics

This enclosure has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of Iron-age settlements, particularly those sited in low-lying undefendable areas. Most enclosures in eastern Dumfries and Galloway tend to be circular or oval on plan (rather than rectilinear, as in this instance), and to be built on the flanks of hills and along the sides of valleys. Once a relatively rare component of the settlement record, recent use of aerial photography has revealed that sub-rectangular enclosures are more widespread than we previously thought, and tend to lie in close proximity to each other. Comparing and contrasting this enclosure to other nearby examples can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts to improve our understanding of 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 River Annan. 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. As very few similar sites have been excavated in Scotland, archaeological deposits preserved within the monument may provide important 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 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



RCAHMS record the site as NY16NE 1.



Truckell A E 1957, 'Blacketlees, Annan', DISCOVERY EXCAV SCOT, 14.

Truckell A E 1957, 'An excavation at Blacketlees', TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC, 3rd, 35, (Addenda Antiquaria), 38-9.

Truckell A E 1962, 'Dumfries and Galloway in the Dark Ages: some problems', TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC, 3rd, 40, 89.

Truckell A E 1964, 'The archaeological collections of the Society', TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC, 3rd, 41, 1962-3, 61.

Williams J 1967, 'A medieval iron smelting site at Millhill, New Abbey', TRANS DUMFRIESSHIRE GALLOWAY NATUR HIST ANTIQ SOC, 3rd, 44, 129.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Other nearby scheduled monuments is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact for any queries related to any individual ancient or schedued monument, planning permission related to scheduled monuments or the scheduling process itself. is a Good Stuff website.