Ancient Monuments

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Waterside Cottage, hut circle 230m south of

A Scheduled Monument in Inverclyde Central, Inverclyde

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.9329 / 55°55'58"N

Longitude: -4.7761 / 4°46'33"W

OS Eastings: 226678

OS Northings: 674574

OS Grid: NS266745

Mapcode National: GBR 0C.Z705

Mapcode Global: WH2MH.L4WL

Entry Name: Waterside Cottage, hut circle 230m S of

Scheduled Date: 1 March 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12811

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse

Location: Greenock

County: Inverclyde

Electoral Ward: Inverclyde Central

Traditional County: Renfrewshire

Description

The monument comprises the remains of a hut circle, probably of late Bronze Age or Iron Age date (first or late second millennium BC). The monument is visible as a well-defined circular earthwork, located in an area of rough grazing on a NW-facing terrace at around 215m above sea level.

The visible elements of the monument are a turf-covered earthen and stone bank. The bank is around 1.5m in width and forms a circle measuring approximately 10m in diameter. The bank has an internal maximum height of 0.4m and an external maximum height of 0.3m. There is a well-defined entrance on the east side measuring 2m.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, centred on the monument to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to its 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

The monument is visible as an upstanding earthwork of a form indicating that it is the remains of a hut circle likely to date to the later prehistoric period. The building is a single roundhouse and would have functioned as a domestic dwelling. The monument, which shows signs of being waterlogged, does not appear to have been disturbed and has the potential to contain deposits and sediments relating to its construction, use and abandonment. Cut features, such as post holes and pits, and other deposits may also contain artefacts relating to activities undertaken within and around the monument. There is also good potential forthe survival of associated remains, such as middens and evidence of cultivation and craft activities, in the area immediately surrounding the hut circle. The waterlogged soil has a high potential to contain preserved organic deposits. The monument has an inherent potential to further our understanding of its inhabitants, their daily lives, their diet, and contemporary society, economy and beliefs. Evidence from comparable sites elsewhere in Scotland has demonstrated the high probability that archaeological remains may also be preserved in and around the monument.

The monument may also preserve information about how the roundhouse was constructed and used, which can inform our knowledge of the design, layout and construction techniques used in domestic architecture at this time. All these elements have the capacity to inform our understanding of how domestic space was used and perceived and how it may link into cosmological beliefs and practices. In addition, the upstanding elements of the monument probably sit on a buried land surface, which has the potential to retain important environmental information. The monument has the ability to inform our understanding of the contemporary environment, how the landscape may have been used by later prehistoric farmers, and what it looked like.

Contextual characteristics

The monument is located around 215m above sea level in high moorland, some 2.2km SW of the narrow Clyde coastal plain. It is set upon a terrace on a NW-facing slope and has extensive views to the north and west. To the east the slope rises up to 235m above sea level and this steep rise provides shelter to the terrace.

Two further hut circles are recorded in the immediate vicinity of this example, one of which was possibly located around 40m to the SE within the lee of the steep NW-facing slope. There are 30 known sites of single or multiple hut circles recorded within the Inverclyde, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire area. Little is known about many of these and they are often poorly located. The majority are single examples, situated higher than 200m above sea level in rough grazing on moorland. It has been suggested that the construction of unenclosed settlements during this period accompanied an increase in the division of the landscape for agricultural purposes. This may have been due to a climatic decline at the start of the Bronze Age, which resulted in the abandonment of the consequent marginal land.

Upstanding remains of unenclosed hut circles generally survive in land where more recent cultivation has either been limited or has never taken place. As a result, the present distribution of hut circles in the area may not be a true reflection of past distribution and it is likely that hut circles were formerly located throughout the landscape. The presence of several crannogs, probably of similar date, along the foreshore of the Clyde indicate that the low-lying coastal plain was also occupied in prehistory. Hut circles are often found in loose groups or clusters and often in conjunction with the remains of field systems. This area has not yet been comprehensively surveyed, but linear earthworks have been noted and may prove to be the remains of field systems. At least seven round cairns are recorded on land some 2km to the SE of the hut circle. It is likely that all these monuments form an integral part of an extensive preserved prehistoric landscape.

Further study and comparison of these monuments may inform our understanding of settlement type and character in this area, including location, density, chronology, contemporaneity and phasing of occupation, and perhaps indicate social hierarchies. This in turn could add to our understanding of the regional character of settlement across Scotland.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to provide information about a settlement type that characterises the wider Bronze Age and Iron Age domestic landscape. The monument forms an intrinsic element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern in the high moorland to the south of the Clyde. Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us about wider society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. In this area in particular, analysis of domestic monuments and associated cultural material may provide evidence of native-Roman interaction. The old ground surfaces sealed by the earthwork remains and other upstanding remains may provide information about the nature of the contemporary environment and the use made of it by later prehistoric farmers. Spatial analysis of sites may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion or contraction of settlement. The loss or diminution of this monument would impede significantly our ability to understand the placing of such monuments within the landscape, both in this area and across Scotland, as well as our knowledge of later prehistoric social structure, economy and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS records the monument as NS27SE 7. The West of Scotland Archaeology Service records this site as 5939. Copies of these reports are appended.

References

Alexander, D Ed. 1996 Prehistoric Renfrewshire: Essays in Honour or Frank Newall Renfrewshire Local History Forum: Edinburgh

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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