Prehistoric enclosed settlement known as South Kirkby Camp


Heritage Category:
Scheduled Monument
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Date first listed:
Date of most recent amendment:


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The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Wakefield (Metropolitan Authority)
South Kirkby and Moorthorpe
National Grid Reference:
SE 43504 10457

Reasons for Designation

The Pennine uplands of northern England contain a wide variety of prehistoric remains, including cairns, enclosures, carved rocks, settlements and field systems. These are evidence of the widespread exploitation of these uplands throughout later prehistory. During the last millennium BC a variety of different types of enclosed settlements developed. These include hillforts, which have substantial earthworks and are usually located on hilltops. Other types of enclosed settlement of this period are less obviously defensive, as they have less substantial earthworks and are usually in less prominent positions. In the Pennines a number of late prehistoric enclosed settlements survive as upstanding monuments. Where upstanding earthworks survive, the settlements are between 0.4ha and 10ha in area, and are usually located on ridges or hillside terraces. The enclosing earthworks are usually slight, most consisting of a ditch with an internal bank, or with an internal and external bank, but examples with an internal ditch and with no ditch are known. They are sub-circular, sub-rectangular, or oval in shape. Few of these enclosed settlements have been subject to systematic excavation, but they are thought to date from between the Late Bronze Age to the Romano-British period (c.1000 BC-AD 400). Examples which have been excavated have presented evidence of settlement. Some appear to have developed from earlier palisaded enclosures. Unexcavated examples occasionally have levelled areas which may have contained buildings, but a proportion may have functioned primarily as stock enclosures. Enclosed settlements are a distinctive feature of the late prehistory of the Pennine uplands, and are important in illustrating the variety of enclosed settlement types which developed in many areas of Britain at this time. Examples where a substantial proportion of the enclosed settlement survives are considered to be nationally important.

The late prehistoric enclosed settlement known as South Kirkby Camp survives well and contributes to the body of knowledge relating to late prehistoric settlement and land use in northern England.


The monument includes a prehistoric enclosed settlement at the east end of a low ridge 200m NNW of Kirkby Common Farm. The enclosure is defined by a bank and ditch. This survives best on the south west and east sides, where the bank is 10m wide and up to 1m high. The ditch is between 7m and 10m wide and up to 1.5m deep. On the south west side the ditch has been partly obscured by ploughing. Elsewhere the bank and ditch are less well-preserved. On the north and north west sides they are visible as a pronounced lynchet, partly obscured at its western end by the upcast bank from a modern ditch. On the south east side the line of the ditch and bank is marked by a slight lynchet. An annexe defined by a bank formerly existed south of the settlement, and is not included in the scheduling as there is no evidence that it survives. Excavations across the bank and ditch in 1949 produced pottery reported as Iron Age. Geophysical survey in 1997 revealed evidence of possible internal features, but failed to show the southern annexe.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.


The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

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Books and journals
'South Elmsall and Hemsworth Express' in South Elmsall and Hemsworth Express, (1949)
Report no. 546 Gradiometer Survey, Whittingham M, South Kirkby Camp West Yorkshire, (1997)


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

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