Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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1 Ironshill Farm Cottages, settlements, barrow and pits 250m SSW of

A Scheduled Monument in Arbroath East and Lunan, Angus

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Latitude: 56.6382 / 56°38'17"N

Longitude: -2.5339 / 2°32'2"W

OS Eastings: 367347

OS Northings: 749729

OS Grid: NO673497

Mapcode National: GBR VW.QX1K

Mapcode Global: WH8RX.1DMW

Entry Name: 1 Ironshill Farm Cottages, settlements, barrow and pits 250m SSW of

Scheduled Date: 7 July 1994

Last Amended: 16 January 2015

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM6057

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: hut circle, roundhouse; Prehistoric ritual and funerary: barrow

Location: Inverkeilor

County: Angus

Electoral Ward: Arbroath East and Lunan

Traditional County: Angus


The monument is the remains of enclosed and unenclosed settlements dating to between 1800 BC and AD 400. It also includes pits and a probable barrow potentially of earlier date. The settlements and other features lie buried beneath the ploughsoil and are visible as cropmarks captured on oblique aerial photographs. The monument lies at about 25m above OD on relatively flat, slightly elevated farmland S of the Lunan Water.

Towards the E of the site is a palisaded enclosure with two overlapping construction phases, both sub-circular and each enclosing an area about 40m in diameter. Within this two-phase enclosure lie several intersecting dark marks representing the remains of houses and yards. An annex or further phase of enclosure lies to the N. Beyond are numerous unenclosed roundhouses, many with sunken ring ditches or floors. Some of these sunken features are surrounded by ring grooves, interpreted either as wall trenches or the footings of palisades tightly enclosing the houses. Other curvilinear marks represent either roundhouses or souterrains. To the W of the area, a circular ditched feature with no entrance is probably a funerary barrow rather than a house, and a scatter of pits aligned N-S and extending for about 100m suggests possible earlier prehistoric activity.

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 is expected to survive, as shown in red on the accompanying map. The scheduling specifically excludes the above-ground elements of a post-and-wire fence that crosses the area from NNW to SSE to allow for its maintenance. At the E end of the S side, the scheduled area extends up to but excludes a post-and-wire fence aligned ENE-WSW. The monument was first scheduled in 1994, but the documentation did not meet modern standards: the present amendment rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

The monument is of national importance as one of the most complex and extensive areas of prehistoric settlement evidence in eastern lowland Scotland, with high potential to make a significant addition to knowledge and understanding of prehistoric rural settlement and economy in Scotland. The number, extent and variety of the features preserved here is rare and the dark crescent- and disc-shaped marks indicate the presence of deep and relatively robust remains with the potential to retain excellent structural characteristics and assemblages of artefacts and ecofacts. The monument offers high potential to compare settlement form and character over a long time period and its importance is enhanced by its association with the wider archaeological landscape of unenclosed settlements and enclosures in the lower Lunan Valley. Our understanding of the distribution and character of later prehistoric settlements would be diminished if this monument was to be lost or damaged.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Other Information

RCAHMS records the monument as NO64NE 11, 14, 41. The Angus Sites and Monuments Record references are NO64NE0011 and NO64NE0014.

RCAHMS Aerial Photographs DSC1700, DSC1707, AN3550, AN5590, AN5591


McGill, C, 2003, 'The excavation of a palisaded enclosure and associated structures at Ironshill East, near Inverkeilor, Angus', Tayside and Fife Arch Jour 9, 14-33.

Pollock, D, 1997, 'The excavation of Iron Age buildings at Ironshill, Inverkeilor, Angus', Proc Soc Antiq Scot 127, 339-358.

RCAHMS 1978, The Royal Commission on the Ancient and Historical Monuments of Scotland. The archaeological sites and monuments of Lunan Valley, Montrose Basin, Angus District, Tayside Region, The archaeological sites and monuments of Scotland series no 4, Edinburgh, 16, no 93; 20, no 140.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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