12. Dark Age Fort,
Mote of Mark, Rockcliffe
Map Ref: NX 845540

Follow the signposted footpath from Rockcliffe. There is a large car park at the entrance to the village.

© D&GC Sites and Monuments Record

The Mote of Mark is a defended hilltop overlooking the Urr estuary. It was the court or citadel of a powerful Dark Age chieftain, possibly one of the princes of Rheged. The site was occupied during the 6th century and appears to have been destroyed by fire in the 7th century.

The top of the hill was enclosed by a massive stone and timber rampart. Inside was a timber hall surrounded by a huddle of workshops and stables. This was a wealthy site with trading contacts across Europe. Finds from the excavations include glass beads and wine jars from central France and glassware from Germany. Local craftsmen produced elegant bronze jewelry in a distinctive Celtic style.

The tumbled remains of the ramparts can still be seen and an on-site interpretation panel has an atmospheric reconstruction of the fort.