Ancient Monuments

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New Mains, enclosures and ring ditch 580m west of West Cottage

A Scheduled Monument in North Berwick Coastal, East Lothian

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Latitude: 56.022 / 56°1'19"N

Longitude: -2.8012 / 2°48'4"W

OS Eastings: 350158

OS Northings: 681294

OS Grid: NT501812

Mapcode National: GBR 2R.SLLR

Mapcode Global: WH7TJ.YW8W

Entry Name: New Mains, enclosures and ring ditch 580m W of West Cottage

Scheduled Date: 26 January 1978

Last Amended: 9 September 2013

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM111

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: enclosure (domestic or defensive); Prehistoric ritual and funera

Location: Dirleton

County: East Lothian

Electoral Ward: North Berwick Coastal

Traditional County: East Lothian


The monument comprises an enclosed prehistoric settlement, a rectangular enclosure, a ring ditch, a semi-circular ditch and part of a third enclosure. These remains lie buried below the plough soil and are visible as cropmarks captured on oblique aerial photographs. The largest feature is the enclosed settlement, which dates probably to between 1200 BC and AD 400. It is surrounded by a sub-circular ditch with a concentric palisade trench on the inside, defining an area measuring 50m NE-SW by 43m transversely. The rectangular enclosure may be an unroofed timber structure dating to the Neolithic period (about 4500 BC to 2500 BC), while the ring ditch may be a barrow dating to the Bronze Age (about 2500 BC to 800 BC). These features occupy a low rise on the Lothian coastal plain and stand at about 20m OD. The monument was first scheduled in 1978 and the scheduling was amended in 1994, but the scheduled area did not include all the archaeological remains: the present amendment rectifies this.

The ditch of the enclosed settlement measures about 3-4m in width. The palisade trench is symmetrically placed relative to the ditch, lying about 2.5m inside the ditch edge. The rectangular enclosure is defined by ditches 1.2m-2m wide and encloses an area measuring 32m N-S by 17m transversely, including an annex at the S end. The ring ditch is 2.5-3m wide and defines an area measuring 10m in diameter; there is a possible opening on the E side. The semi-circular ditch may be part of another ring ditch. The third enclosure comprises two straight lengths of ditch each about 15m long and is not closely dated. Cropmarks show that areas of rig and furrow cultivation are also present.

The scheduled area 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 is of national importance because of its potential to make a significant addition to knowledge and understanding of prehistoric settlement in lowland Scotland. It is a rare example of an enclosed settlement with ditch and internal palisade lying in close proximity to several other features, including a ring ditch and rectilinear enclosure. It offers potential to compare settlement form and character over a long period of time and to compare settlement activity with potential funerary activity. The monument's importance is enhanced by its association with several other enclosures that lie within 3km of this site. Our understanding of the distribution and character of later prehistoric settlements in lowland Scotland would be diminished if this monument was lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



RCAHMS records the monument as NT58SW 23, 30, 59. The East Lothian Council Historic Environment Record references are MEL1359 and MEL1977.


RCAHMS Aerial Photographs B46041, B46048, B46052

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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