Carl Wark slight univallate hillfort
Heritage Category: Scheduled Monument
List Entry Number: 1017504
Date first listed: 12-Sep-1933
Date of most recent amendment: 23-Dec-1997
The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1017504 .pdf
The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.
This copy shows the entry on 19-Oct-2018 at 18:45:06.
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Sheffield (Metropolitan Authority)
National Park: PEAK DISTRICT
National Grid Reference: SK 25942 81455
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
Reasons for Designation
Slight univallate hillforts are defined as enclosures of various shapes,
generally between 1ha and 10ha in size, situated on or close to hilltops and
defined by a single line of earthworks, the scale of which is relatively
small. They date to between the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (eighth -
fifth centuries BC), the majority being used for 150 to 200 years prior to
their abandonment or reconstruction. Slight univallate hillforts have
generally been interpreted as stock enclosures, redistribution centres, places
of refuge and permanent settlements. The earthworks generally include a
rampart, narrow level berm, external ditch and counterscarp bank, while access
to the interior is usually provided by two entrances comprising either simple
gaps in the earthwork or an inturned rampart. Postholes revealed by excavation
indicate the occasional presence of portal gateways while more elaborate
features like overlapping ramparts and outworks are limited to only a few
examples. Internal features included timber or stone round houses; large
storage pits and hearths; scattered postholes, stakeholes and gullies; and
square or rectangular buildings supported by four to six posts, often
represented by postholes, and interpreted as raised granaries. Slight
univallate hillforts are rare with around 150 examples recorded nationally.
Although on a national scale the number is low, in Devon they comprise one of
the major classes of hillfort. In other areas where the distribution is
relatively dense, for example, Wessex, Sussex, the Cotswolds and the
Chilterns, hillforts belonging to a number of different classes occur within
the same region. Examples are also recorded in eastern England, the Welsh
Marches, central and southern England. In view of the rarity of slight
univallate hillforts and their importance in understanding the transition
between Bronze Age and Iron Age communities, all examples which survive
comparatively well and have potential for the recovery of further
archaeological remains are believed to be of national importance.
Carl Wark slight univallate hillfort survives well. The defensive features used to enhance this naturally defendable site are probably prehistoric in origin and remained in use during the Iron Age. It is also thought that the site was rearranged and reoccupied during the post Roman period. The relatively late reuse of such a site in this area of England is unusual.
Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.
The monument includes a fortified Millstone Grit outcrop set in moorlands and
overlooking the Burbage valley. The top of the outcrop forms an almost level
plateau. The monument utilises the natural defensive nature of the outcrop,
having steep, rocky sides, and is reinforced where necessary with unbonded
stone revetment walls. The date of the monument is uncertain, but it is
thought that it may have been built during the Iron Age and reused after
the Roman period. The entire fortified site is roughly rectangular in shape
and measures approximately 180m by 60m.
There is also evidence for stone quarrying around the slopes to the fortified
outcrop. The stone is likely to have been used for the construction of
millstones and grindstones for the emerging metal industries of Sheffield. The
evidence for millstone quarrying at the site is shown by a discarded millstone
to the west of the fortifications.
The natural outcrop is most accessible from its west end where an unbonded
wall has been constructed from blocks of local stone. The wall is about 3m
high and 40m long and has an earthen ramp to its eastern side. The wall
appears to have a battered back but this appearance may be due to subsidence
in the earthen ramp. The embankment wall is approximately 8m wide at its base.
It is topped with large semi-upright boulders up to about 1m in length and
0.45m wide. They appear to have been roughly dressed and some have tool marks
but are now well weathered. Some stone robbing appears to have taken place at
the north but more so at the south end of the wall; otherwise the revetted
wall is in good condition.
The north side of the fortification relies chiefly on the natural defensive
nature of the outcrop, being essentially a steep-sided rock face. In some
places where access would have been less difficult, the top of the rock face
has been reinforced with stone blocks, similar to those in the west wall, but
The eastern end of the fortification is formed by the impressive natural
defence of the outcrop but, as with the northern side, some rough stone blocks
have been used to reinforce small areas. In one place, a raised platform was
added behind a stone revetment to enhance the height of the defences by about
The southern side of the fortified area is less steep than the north and
east sides and the defensive position of the site has been enhanced by a stone
revetment wall for almost its entire length. The undressed stone blocks of
the south wall serve to raise its height by aproximately 1m to form a level
platform inside the site. For the last 30m of the western end of the south
wall, the revetment wall utilises dressed and more regularly placed
gritstone blocks near inturned entranceway. This entranceway is at the point
of easiest approach to the site on this side. The revetment wall is
backed by an earthen embankment.
The construction of the hillfort fortifications is unusual as normally they
have earthen ramparts rather than stone revetment walls. About 80% of the
interior of the fortified area is strewn with large, earthfast boulders, but
it appears to have been cleared of smaller material which was no doubt used in
the construction of the revetments. To the immediate east of the west wall,
and behind the entranceway in the south side, is a level area cleared of all
The plateau of the outcrop extends for about 50m to 80m to the west of the
substantial west wall of the monument, before falling away level with the rest
of the surrounding moorlands. Immediately outside of the fortified area are
the foundations of a small building at the south end of the west wall. It
appears that the material for the construction of the building was robbed from
the west wall itself. The foundations of the building stand to a maximum
height of about 0.6m with a wall thickness of 0.8m. It measures 6m by
4m and its interior is covered with stone debris including the broken
remains of a large millstone. Adjacent, to the south, is a rainwater
collection trough, hewn from a large boulder. The date of the building is
unknown but apparently pre-dates the millstone and post-dates the west wall of
the fortifications. To the north of the small building is a modern stone
pillar bearing a bronze interpretation plaque. To the south of the fortified
area in particular, there is evidence for stone getting in the debris
surrounding the site.
Excluded from the scheduling is the stone pillar and metal interpretation
plaque, although the ground below these features is included.
MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract. It includes a 30 metre boundary around the archaeological features, considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 29791
Legacy System: RSM
Books and journals
Forde-Johnson, J, Hillforts of the Iron Age in England and Wales, (1976), 280-1
Hart, CR, North Derbyshire Archaeological Survey to AD 1500, (1981)
Callis, A J, Harding, D W, 'British Archaeological Reports' in BAR No. 20, pt. 2: Later Prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne, , Vol. 20, (1975), 47
Welsh, T C, 'Yorkshire Arcaeological Journal' in Road remains at Burbage and Houndkirk Moors, Sheffield..., , Vol. 56, (1984), 27-31
Periodic revision, South Yorkshire SMR - Carl Wark Hillfort. Site No. 130, (1988)
This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
End of official listing