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The Bank, settlement 485m south west of Kirkhope

A Scheduled Monument in Tweeddale West, Scottish Borders

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Coordinates

Latitude: 55.5617 / 55°33'42"N

Longitude: -3.2771 / 3°16'37"W

OS Eastings: 319546

OS Northings: 630521

OS Grid: NT195305

Mapcode National: GBR 54K4.93

Mapcode Global: WH6VH.MGNN

Entry Name: The Bank, settlement 485m SW of Kirkhope

Scheduled Date: 20 October 1971

Last Amended: 21 March 2012

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM3050

Schedule Class: Cultural

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

Location: Manor

County: Scottish Borders

Electoral Ward: Tweeddale West

Traditional County: Peeblesshire

Description

The monument comprises a complex of Iron Age settlement remains, dating probably from the first millennium BC or early centuries AD, overlain in places by the remains of relatively recent walls and buildings. Researchers have noted three groups of early settlement features, some clearly superimposed. These are (1) three levelled house platforms in an oval enclosure surrounded by a stone wall; (2) four scooped homesteads, three with clearly defined house platforms and associated yard areas; (3) the remains of two circular stone houses associated with three walled yards. Together, the early settlement features cover an area measuring 125m NNW-SSE by 95m transversely. The site lies on a gentle NE-facing slope at the foot of a spur that separates the Newholm Hope Burn (80m to the NW) and the Manor Water (240m to the ESE). The monument was first scheduled in 1971, but the documentation does not meet modern standards: the present rescheduling rectifies this.

The area to be scheduled is irregular on plan to include the remains described above 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.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

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

Intrinsic characteristics

The first group of early settlement features comprises three house platforms, the largest measuring 10.5m in diameter, that researchers associate with an oval enclosure measuring 64m NW-SE by 46m transversely, bounded by a stone enclosure wall. The wall is 3m thick with a facing of boulders and a rubble core and there is an entrance on the E, partly blocked by a modern stone dyke. The second group of features, the four 'scooped homesteads', represents a later settlement. Three of these features are contiguous and partly overlie the wall of the oval enclosure, while the fourth is situated 36m to the SE. The westernmost measures 24m by 18m, is bounded by a rubble wall, and is laid out on two levels: an upper level largely filled by a house platform 6.6m in diameter; and a lower level where there is a sunken courtyard measuring about 17m by 14m. The two adjacent homesteads are smaller but of similar form, but the example to the SE is less distinct, visible as a low scarp partly overlaid by a later, sub-circular walled enclosure, 18m in diameter. The third group of features, the remains of two circular stone houses with walled yards, lies largely within the original oval enclosure. Like the scooped homesteads, these remains are later than the original enclosure. In the 1960s, researchers believed that the stone houses and their yards were the latest prehistoric settlement features here, but this cannot be confirmed as they have no physical relationship with the 'sunken homesteads' that lie to the SW and SE.

The form of the monument suggests that this is a complex, multi-period settlement dating to the Iron Age. It is well preserved and survives in good condition, with upstanding walls and earthworks supplementing buried archaeological remains. The presence of later features constructed over the top of the original oval enclosure wall clearly demonstrates a development sequence and the site preserves evidence for a range of structures including timber roundhouses, stone roundhouses and both level and scooped yards. The upstanding and buried remains can help us to understand more about the design, construction, phasing and use of the enclosure, yards and buildings, helping to inform our understanding of the character of late prehistoric settlement, including local variations in domestic architecture and building use. Potential exists for the survival of buried land surfaces beneath the walls and building remains and these could preserve information about the environment before the monument was constructed, adding to the time-depth represented by the remains. Cut features, such as postholes and pits, may lie within or outwith buildings and have the potential to contain groups of artefacts and ecofacts that can develop our understanding of society, ritual, economy, agriculture and domestic architecture. Organic elements may survive in the sunken parts of the settlement and may support scientific analyses, including radiometric dating. The monument also has an inherent potential to inform our understanding of the duration of occupation, whether there were breaks between distinct phases of use, and the circumstances within which the monument may have functioned and been 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, including the Romans, who may have entered the area during the site's use.

Contextual characteristics

Two other prehistoric settlements lie close to this site, sharing its location near the head of the steep sided valley of the Manor Burn. They are a scooped homestead 540m to the NNE and a settlement 775m to the ENE. In addition, there is a very extensive area of settlement 3km to the NE in the valley of the Glenrath Burn, a tributary of the Manor Burn. The presence of these other sites offers the potential for future study of the prehistoric settlement pattern here, enhancing the value of this monument. Potential chronological, functional and social relationships between the sites are as yet poorly understood, but further analysis of this monument and comparison with others may reveal their chronology and enable an understanding of the local settlement hierarchy. Spatial analysis of the Iron Age settlement pattern has the potential to further our understanding of settlement location, the structure of society and economy. We can use information gained from preservation and study of this site to gain wider knowledge of Iron Age settlement in the Scottish Borders and across Scotland.

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 Iron Age domestic settlement. The monument contains a variety of different types of prehistoric building and these structures, together with their associated artefacts and ecofacts, have the potential to tell us about how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. This monument is of particular importance because of its spatial relationship with other prehistoric settlements in the vicinity and future analysis has the potential to develop understanding of the Iron Age settlement pattern. The loss of the monument would diminish our future ability to appreciate and understand Iron Age settlements, the placing of such monuments within the landscape, and Iron Age social structure, economy and building practices.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Sources

Bibliography

RCAHMS record the site as NT13SE 11.

References

RCAHMS, 1967, Peebleshire: an Inventory of the Ancient Monuments. Edinburgh.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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