Ell's Knowe Defended Settlement and Earlier Palisaded Site
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Late Bronze Age
Palisaded Hilltop Enclosure
County Council (Unitary)
Northumberland County Council
SJ872872 (387232, 627797)
A hilltop defended settlement and an earlier palisaded site situated on a promontory overlooking ground on all sides. Aerial photographs depict slight traces of ramparts, however on the ground they are most visible on the northern part of the site. The hilltop enclosure contains an area measuring 60 metres north-south by 70 metres east-west. Some limited excavations indicated that the settlement had originally been enclosed by a double palisade. It revealed that the process of construction of the palisade trench did not appear to be complete with a second phase of building apparent which including replacing the incomplete double palisade with approximately three stone ramparts on gentle slopes and a single rampart on steeper slopes on the east side. Some hut circles are visible within the south side of the enclosure, measuring between 6.1 metres and 7.7 metres in diameter. The site had been exceptionally rich in finds including hand made pottery, stone pounders, flint scrapers, a spindlewhorl and pieces of an iron furnace. The hilt and upper blade of an iron sword were found during the excavations. This indicates a substantial amount of activity taking place between the seventh and sixth centuries BC. Palisaded hilltop enclosures are small defended sites of domestic function dating to the Late Bronze Age or Early Iron Age. Their distribution is largely restricted to north-eastern England, the Borders and southern Scotland. Scheduled.