Ancient Monuments

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Branthat Plantation, enclosed settlement 320m south east of Gill

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale South, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 54.9968 / 54°59'48"N

Longitude: -3.3746 / 3°22'28"W

OS Eastings: 312159

OS Northings: 567781

OS Grid: NY121677

Mapcode National: GBR 4BWN.6K

Mapcode Global: WH6Y5.4N9Q

Entry Name: Branthat Plantation, enclosed settlement 320m SE of Gill

Scheduled Date: 7 November 2007

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12089

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Cummertrees

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale South

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises a sub-circular enclosure, likely to be of Iron-Age date. The enclosure is situated at about 30m above sea level on low-lying land adjacent to Pow Water and the Solway Firth. We can interpret it as the remains of a farming settlement: houses, agricultural buildings, areas for keeping animals and undertaking other activities surrounded by enclosing banks and ditches.

Preserved as an upstanding earthwork, the sub-circular enclosure comprises a well-defined ditch up to 2.5m wide and 1.2m deep with well-preserved inner and outer banks, comprised of earth and stone, each up to 5m wide and 0.5m high. The banks and ditch enclose an internal area measuring approximately 45m NE/SW by 40m transversely. The entrance is 5.5m wide and breaks the line of the inner bank in the south-west, with gaps appearing in the outer bank to the north-east and south-west. A track and fence line runs immediately adjacent to the N perimeter of the enclosure, and a fence line runs adjacent to the SW perimeter. The monument currently stands in a plantation woodland, which is first marked on the Ordnance Survey 2nd edition map.

The area to be scheduled is a cropped circle on plan, to include the remains described and an area around within which evidence relating to their construction and use may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area extends up to, but excludes, the fence and track to the north, and the fence and adjacent field to the south-west.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

Preserved as a well-defined earthwork, the enclosure is a good example of a univallate, defended settlement, likely to date to the late first millennium BC or early first millennium AD, surviving in woodland within an area of high agricultural activity. Although the monument has been damaged by the root growth of trees both across the banks and ditch and within the interior, buried deposits inside the enclosure may preserve evidence relating to possible roundhouses, other potential domestic structures, and economy, which may enhance our understanding of the social structures and domestic architecture of the Iron-Age people who built and used this monument. Potential exists for the preservation of a buried soil both beneath the inner and outer banks and within the ditch, providing evidence of the environment within which Iron-Age people built the enclosure. The ditch may also contain deposits and archaeological features relating to the construction and occupation of the site, and its association with possible surrounding field systems.

Contextual characteristics

This monument has the capacity to contribute towards a better understanding of enclosures and defended settlements, particularly those sited in low-lying undefendable areas. Most similar enclosures in eastern Dumfries and Galloway tend to be lie along the sides of valleys and in close proximity to each other. Comparing and contrasting the enclosure to other nearby examples can enable an understanding of how Iron-Age farmers positioned such sites within the landscape, as well as provide enhanced contexts to improve our understanding of the 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 settlement 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 to Iron-Age enclosures that characterise the wider Iron-Age domestic landscape. It forms an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern along Pow Water and the Solway Firth. 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 provide evidence of native-Roman interaction. Archaeological deposits preserved within the ditch, beneath the banks, and within the 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 similar 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 NY16NW 3.



Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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