Ancient Monuments

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Whelphill, unenclosed platform settlement 390m west of

A Scheduled Monument in Clydesdale East, South Lanarkshire

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Latitude: 55.4689 / 55°28'8"N

Longitude: -3.6003 / 3°36'1"W

OS Eastings: 298926

OS Northings: 620618

OS Grid: NS989206

Mapcode National: GBR 3596.BC

Mapcode Global: WH5TL.NSRT

Entry Name: Whelphill, unenclosed platform settlement 390m W of

Scheduled Date: 6 July 1988

Last Amended: 10 November 2016

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Source ID: SM4531

Schedule Class: Cultural

Category: Prehistoric domestic and defensive: platform settlement

Location: Crawford

County: South Lanarkshire

Electoral Ward: Clydesdale East

Traditional County: Lanarkshire


The monument is the remains of an unenclosed platform settlement of the Bronze Age period.  It comprises a settlement consisting of at least eleven house platforms spread over a distance of about 600m westwards from Whelphill farmhouse.  The settlement is located in rough pasture on the south facing slopes of Mossy Dod, overlooking the Midlock Water at a height of about 300m above sea level.

A settlement consisting of at least eleven house platforms. From west to east the platforms are described as follows.  Four of them, measuring 19m, 15m, 13m and 12m in width respectively, lie between the east edge of an area of improved pasture and an unnamed tributary of the Midlock Water.  Almost immediately east of the tributary there are two more platforms, one above the other, which measure 15m and 18m in width.  A single platform, 17m wide, lies about 150m farther east.  Lastly, immediately west-northwest of Whelphill there are at least four platforms arranged in a line obliquely across the contours; they measure 19m, 20m, 17.5m and 17m in width respectively. 

The scheduled area is irregular on plan to include the remains described above and an area around in which evidence for the monuments 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 all modern boundary walls and modern fences.  The monument was originally scheduled in 1988, but the designated area includes an area where there is no evidence of the survival of nationally important remains: the present amendment rectifies this.

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

Statement of Scheduling

Cultural significance

The monument's cultural significance has been assessed as follows:

Intrinsic Characteristics

The monument is a domestic settlement of Bronze Age to Iron Age date known as an unenclosed platform settlement.  It is well preserved with all eleven platforms visible as earthworks.  The platforms were created by levelling an area into the slope and augmenting the front scarp, and each would have supported a structure, usually a roundhouse. There is no evidence of archaeological excavation at the monument and traces of these structures are expected to survive as below-ground features. These can inform our understanding of the domestic architecture of this period and living arrangements within such structures.

Environmental remains such as pollen and charcoal preserved within old ground surfaces sealed by upstanding remains can provide information about what the contemporary environment, how the farmers who lived there managed it, and how field systems may relate to structures.  The monument therefore has an inherent potential to inform our knowledge of the contemporary environment and land-use practices. The degree preservation of the monument also indicates that there is the potential for well-preserved buried features, such as pits and post holes, likely to contain archaeologically significant deposits/sediments. Such deposits have the capacity to further our knowledge of the inhabitants of the settlement and the society within which they lived. The monument may also have associated artefacts surviving within, which can add to our knowledge of the activities of the inhabitants.

Contextual Characteristics

The monument lies on south facing slopes of Mossy Dod within the valley of the Midlock Water.  The monument is located close to the watershed between the River Clyde and River Tweed.  To the immediate south of the monument is the junction of the Midlock Water and the Whelphill Hope.

Unenclosed platform settlements were first recognised as a class of monument by the Royal Commission of Ancient and Historic Monuments of Scotland during the survey of Peeblesshire in 1960s.  This is settlement type is concentrated in southern Scotland and are typically found along river valley sides, generally below 350m above sea level and more usually on south facing slopes.  Large groupings of tens of platforms can occur.  Excavations at some settlements have demonstrated that they can originate as early as the late 3rd millennium BC and that the settlement may be occupied with successive structures for several generations.  This is a relatively rare monument type to be found in South Lanarkshire.  Study and comparison of this monument with others, both within this area and across Scotland, has the potential to enhance our understanding of their distribution and any social hierarchy involved in their placement in the landscape.

Whelphill lies close to other unenclosed platform settlements such as those at Midlock (scheduled monument reference SM4757, Canmore ID 47391), Normangill Rig (schedule monument reference SM4756) 2.2km and 2km to the northwest respectively, and Campshead (scheduled monument reference number SM4603, Canmore ID 70829) 2.5km to the northeast.  The nature of any potential relationship between these possible contemporary monument settlements is unknown and this monument has the inherent capacity to inform further research into this area.

Associative Characteristics

There are no known significant associative characteristics which contribute to the site's cultural significance.

Statement of National Importance

This monument is of national importance because it has an inherent potential to contribute to our understanding of later prehistoric settlement and economy.  Specifically the monument has the capacity to inform us of a particular settlement type which forms an intrinsic but relatively rare element of the later prehistoric settlement pattern of southern Scotland.  Domestic remains and artefacts from settlements have the potential to tell us about wider prehistoric society, its architecture, how people lived, where they came from and who they had contacts with. The monument's importance is increased by its proximity to other monuments of potentially contemporary date. It therefore has potential to inform us about the nature of relationships between monuments of differing functions.  Spatial analysis of monuments may inform our understanding of patterns of landholding and the expansion of settlement.  The loss or diminution of the monument would impede our ability to understand the placing of such monuments in the landscape both in South Lanarkshire and in other parts of Scotland, as well as our knowledge of Bronze-Age and later prehistoric social structure, economy and building practice.


Source: Historic Environment Scotland



Historic Environment Scotland reference number 47401 (accessed on 27/06/2016).

West of Scotland Archaeology Service Historic Environment Record reference 10486 (accessed on 27/06/2016).


HER/SMR Reference

Source: Historic Environment Scotland

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