Ancient Monuments

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Woodend, palisaded enclosure 335m NNE of

A Scheduled Monument in Mid Berwickshire, Scottish Borders

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Latitude: 55.7595 / 55°45'34"N

Longitude: -2.383 / 2°22'58"W

OS Eastings: 376061

OS Northings: 651859

OS Grid: NT760518

Mapcode National: GBR C1SV.W6

Mapcode Global: WH8X7.CHGK

Entry Name: Woodend, palisaded enclosure 335m NNE of

Scheduled Date: 19 July 2011

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM12950

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: palisaded enclosure

Location: Langton

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Mid Berwickshire

Traditional County: Berwickshire


The monument comprises the remains of a palisaded enclosure, likely to date to the later prehistoric period. The monument survives as plough-truncated features, visible as cropmarks within cultivated land, and is located around 335m NNE of Woodend farm.

The cropmarks represent negative archaeological features, the fills of which retain more moisture than the surrounding subsoil, resulting in the enhanced growth of the crops above. The visible traces of the monument consist of a circular enclosure, approximately 45m in diameter, defined by a palisade slot approximately 1m wide. A gap measuring about 2m wide in the NW quadrant of the enclosure probably represents a simple entrance.

The area to be scheduled is circular on plan, to include the remains described and an area around them within which evidence relating to the monument's construction, use and abandonment may survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduled area runs up to but specifically excludes the fence on the N perimeter.

Cultural Significance

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The monument appears on a series of oblique aerial photographs taken in 1995 and is clearly visible as a series of negative features. Its form suggests the monument is a palisaded enclosure. Radiocarbon dating of palisaded monuments in this region indicates they were constructed throughout the first millennium BC and into the first millennium AD. The buried remains of this site offer excellent potential to further our understanding of their period of use.

The purpose and function of the enclosure is not clear. The absence of visible features within the interior may suggest that the monument was not constructed for occupation, but could equally due to the poor survival of domestic structures or their location in soils not as susceptible to cropmarks. Experience elsewhere has demonstrated that aerial photographs of the same location taken over a number years and in a variety of seasons and conditions often reveal very different features on different occasions.

The palisade slot and any other surviving negative features, such as potentially associated pits, have high potential to contain archaeologically significant deposits as well as artefact assemblages and environmental remains. The monument therefore has an inherent capacity to further our understanding of the activities undertaken within and around it and to inform our knowledge of the people who undertook these activities. The monument also has an inherent potential to inform our understanding of the duration of use, whether there were different and distinct phases of use, and the circumstances within which the monument was finally abandoned. Artefact assemblages in particular have the capacity to further our understanding of the nature of contact with other groups of people from within the region, or from further afield, such as the incoming Romans.

Contextual characteristics

Palisaded sites often enclosed one or more round timber houses. The palisade usually consisted of substantial wooden stakes, forming a closely spaced and continuous circuit. These timber posts stood in a narrow slot-like trench and usually there were stones to support each stake. While these stones are unlikely to survive at this site, the slot-trench appears as a cropmark.

The monument is one of only a handful of palisaded enclosures surviving in the lowland arable landscape of Berwickshire. In the immediate vicinity of the site, there are the remains of what may be a prehistoric field system, appearing as a series of long, curving ditch-like features and pits, interpreted as field boundaries. In the wider area around Duns, cropmarks preserve the remains of what may be a late prehistoric landscape composed of possible field systems, rectilinear and circular enclosures and ring ditches. Much of this prehistoric settlement may have hinged upon the fort at Duns Law, likely a central focus point in the later prehistoric period and early historic period.

Comparing and contrasting the palisaded enclosures to other examples both nearby and within the wider area can enable an understanding of how such sites are positioned within the landscape, 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 later prehistoric enclosed settlement across Scotland.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to make a significant contribution to our understanding of the past, in particular later prehistoric palisaded enclosures, their construction and use. The site significantly adds to our understanding of the wider prehistoric landscape around the hillfort at Duns Law, interpreted as a place of power or authority in the later prehistoric period. The monument also has the capacity to inform our knowledge of contemporary society, its economy and possible ritual life. The good preservation of negative features and their associated fills enhances this potential as much of the artefactual and environmental evidence is likely to survive. The loss of the monument would impede our ability to understand the nature of later prehistoric activity, not just in the SE Scottish Borders but across Scotland, as well as the value placed on such monuments by later communities.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland




Aerial photographs consulted:

C52419, 52420, 52421 & 52422 (on this file).

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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