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


Ordnance survey map of Carl Wark slight univallate hillfort
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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 mainly undressed. 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 1m. 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 stone debris. 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)

End of official listing