Ancient Monuments

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Dinwoodie, settlement 425m east of

A Scheduled Monument in Annandale North, Dumfries and Galloway

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Latitude: 55.1973 / 55°11'50"N

Longitude: -3.402 / 3°24'7"W

OS Eastings: 310855

OS Northings: 590121

OS Grid: NY108901

Mapcode National: GBR 48PB.8Q

Mapcode Global: WH6X5.QM6K

Entry Name: Dinwoodie, settlement 425m E of

Scheduled Date: 31 March 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12661

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: scooped settlement

Location: Applegarth

County: Dumfries and Galloway

Electoral Ward: Annandale North

Traditional County: Dumfriesshire


The monument comprises the remains of a later prehistoric scooped settlement, surviving as a circular earthwork and associated buried deposits within unimproved pasture. It lies on the low-lying E side of Annandale, at approximately 80m above sea level.

The settlement is formed from a sub-circular, uneven platform cut into a gentle, NW-facing slope. The platform is enclosed by a substantial turf-covered stony bank defining an internal area that measures about 33m E-W by 25m transversely. The bank is interrupted on its W side by the slight remains of an entrance. The interior space is uneven. Archaeological survey indicates that at least two house platforms (about 8m in diameter) defined by stony foundations and a building (about 8m square) are visible in the interior. To the immediate north and north-east of the site are the remains of linear features that may be a combination of quarry cuts and cultivation remains. The relationship of these features to the settlement is unclear, however.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the remains described above and an area around within which evidence relating to the monument's 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

This is a well-preserved lowland example of an enclosed scooped settlement, which has largely survived the impacts of agriculture since its abandonment. It contains the characteristic features of a platform cut, enclosing bank and individual houses, and has the high potential to retain buried deposits from its construction and use. The remains can tell us much about this particular style of settlement and the techniques used to build them. Records indicate that there are two types of building stances present: a circular (later prehistoric) style and a square (probably historic) style, and this suggests a long sequence of use and re-use at the site. The immediate surrounds are likely to contain buried deposits from the domestic and agricultural activities of the settlement and its adjacent land.

Contextual characteristics

This is an interestingly small example of its class, a specific style of later prehistoric enclosed settlement of which over 180 are known of in S Scotland. Excavated examples date to the Iron Age with reused examples continuing into the later first millennium AD. They are found widely throughout E Dumfries and Galloway, where they tend to occur in clustered intervals along the sides of valleys.

What makes this monument all the more interesting beyond its architectural and archaeological character is its position in the wider landscape and its proximity to similar, contemporary settlement. The position of these scooped settlements appears to be influenced by the proximity of agriculturally viable land for cropping and animal husbandry (and possibly shelter from prevailing weather) and not the defensive qualities that other, often larger settlements seem to favour. This is the case at Dinwoodie where the fertile low-lying land has been quite densely colonised, presumably to exploit its agricultural resources (there are at least six enclosure-type monuments within 2km of this monument). There is also a wider landscape context to these lowland domestic settlements (whether enclosed or not) where they appear to co-exist with higher, larger (and probably defensive) enclosed settlements (such as the fort on nearby Broomhillbank Hill). It is clear that a wider system of organised land management was in place at the time the site was in use.

In some cases, scooped settlements overlie earlier defensive enclosures and this provides an interesting contrast to the situation at Dinwoodie where the opposite seems to have taken place. The squared building footprints recorded in the interior of the enclosure suggest a later re-use of the site, enhancing the interest and value of this site.

National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant addition to our understanding of the past, in particular the form and function of buildings and settlement that characterise the later prehistoric landscapes of S Scotland. It retains a number of key field characteristics in the structures, artefacts and ecofacts that are likely to survive and this can help us build up a picture of the daily lives, routines and agricultural economies of the communities that built the settlement and lived here. The old ground surface sealed by the perimeter banks and other upstanding remains may provide information about the nature of the contemporary environment when the settlement was first built. It contributes to the overall landscape character of lowland SW Scotland and its loss would significantly affect our ability to place domestic agricultural settlement in the wider context of later prehistoric society in Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS record the monument as NY19SW 29 (a copy of their short report is appended). Dumfries and Galloway Council Sites and Monuments Record records the site as MDG 9579.


Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland 1997, Eastern Dumfriesshire: An Archaeological Landscape. Edinburgh, The Stationery Office.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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