Kirknewton : Iron Age (700 BC – AD 70)
West Hill and St Gregory’s Hill overlooking Kirknewton village, both the subject of recent surveys by English Heritage (Oswald et al. 2000; Oswald and McOmish 2002; Oswald 2004) are attributed to the Iron Age, though there is no absolute dating evidence available for either. While both of these hillforts are clearly defended, evidence indicates that the best defensive use of the available situation had not always been made, and at St Gregory’s Hill the original gateway may have been comparatively unprotected. It may be that the ramparts were primarily intended to convey status, and that defensibility was of secondary importance (Oswald and McOmish 2002, 30).
One further possible site, visible in the aerial photographs taken in the course of this study, apparently comprises a sub-circular ditched enclosure situated in the flood plain to the east of the village. The enclosure is surrounded and partly obscured by numerous palaeo-channels of the Glen, suggesting the river has frequently inundated this area and changed course over the centuries. If the enclosure’s function was similar to that of the hillforts - perhaps using the marshy, frequently-flooded valley bottom as a natural defensive shield in a similar fashion to the steep hillslopes more commonly employed for this purpose in the Cheviots - then an Iron Age date for this site might be appropriate.