Bury Archaeological Group

Est. 1953

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 Planes Wood (SD 745355)

The Iron Age promontory fort above Planes Wood at Portfield, one mile south east of Whalley, stood 121m above OD. On its west side the site overlooked a steep scarp to the river Calder 90m below. Only on the north side were the earth rampart defences clearly defined until 1969, when they were bulldozed level.

Between 1953 and 1974, four pipelines laid through the site from north to south caused considerable damage to the archaeology.

During the 1960s B.A.G. carried out small scale excavations on site, summarised in Beswick and Coombs (1986).  These excavations produced useful information and a few finds, notably a crudely executed glass paste intaglio depicting Ceres, a deity associated with agricultural prosperity (Henig 1974 No. 270 pl. IX Series A).

A watching brief on a pipeline in 1966 was rewarded when one of our members recovered a Bronze Age hoard, now in the British Museum.

Further participation in 1970, with P. Beswick and the late J. Hallam, gave members the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the earlier use of the site by recovering Mesolithic flints and Neolithic pottery.

Refs:  Beswick. P. and Coombs D. G. (1986) ‘Excavations at Portfield Hillfort,  1960, 1970 and 1972’ in Manby T. G. & Turnbull P. (eds)  Archaeology  in the Pennines. British Archaeological Reports  Rep. 158. 137-179.

 Henig. M. (1974) ‘A Corpus of Roman Engraved Gemstones from the  British Isles’. British Archaeological Reports Rep. 8.

 Longworth I. H. (1967) ‘A Bronze Age hoard from Portfield Farm,  Whalley, Lancashire’ in British Museum Quarterly 32. 1-2, 8-14.