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Portfield Camp

Hob Uid: 44511
Location :
Lancashire
Ribble Valley
Whalley
Grid Ref : SD7458035500
Summary : An Iron Age promontory fort surviving as an earthwork. Excavation uncovered a Bronze Age hoard; pits containing Neolithic material and pottery from the Roman and medieval periods.
More information : (SD 745355) Settlement (NR) (1)

'Portfield Camp', Whalley is an Iron Age promontory fort, circa
three and a half acres, with its man-made defences on the
northern side. Excavation revealed two phases of construction; the
first consisted of a rampart circa 13ft thick, retained at the front with a kerb of large stones set on edge, with no associated
ditch. In the next structural phase this rampart was levelled and
a new rampart was constructed 20ft further north at the break
of slope. This 20ft thick rampart was revetted front and rear
with stone and had a clay core. Beyond it was a berm 20ft wide
and beyond this a ditch 15-18ft wide. The outer defences consisted of a bank of sandy earth about 14ft wide with another
ditch beyond. Tyson during excavations in 1958 found a cobbled
pavement which comprised the entrance through the main rampart. In a layer of stones over this pavement a fragment of pottery was found tentatively identified as Romano-British mid second century AD.

In the summer of 1966 a Bronze Age Hoard was found by workman lying a pipeline through the fort. It consisted of two socketed axes, part of a gouge, parts of the hilt and blade of a tanged knife, another knife blade and a tanged stud. Also with these bronze implements was a gold bracelet and a gold lock-ring of an Irish type of the Dowris phase. The hoard, dated to the Middle or Late Bronze Age, is now in the British Museum.
Excavations in 1970-71, prior to the destruction of the centre
of the fort by a water trench, revealed a number of stone packed
post holes, which formed no coherent plan: there was no evidence
of occupation debris. Body sherds were found with waste flint
flakes. Some plain coarse sherds from Bronze Age biconical
vessels were also found. (2-7)

The feature appears to be a variation of an Iron Age promontory
fortress with ramparts on the north and east, the remainder being
defended by natural slopes.

Surveyed at 1:2500. (8)

Additional reference and list of sources. (9)

Summary of excavations 1960, 1970 and 1972. (10)

SD 745 355. Plane's Wood, Portfield. Listed in gazetteer as a multivallate hillfort covering 1.3ha. (11)

SD 7459 3551. Portifield hillfort. Scheduled RSM No 27676.
The enclosure measures a maximum of approx 165m NW-SE by 110m NE-SW
and appears so flat as to suggest it has been artificially levelled.
The defences have been considerably mutilated in modern times but
survive best at the NW corner adjacent to the steep declavity to the
W; they consist of an inner bank up to 1.5m high outside which is a
berm 6m wide. Beyond this berm is a ditch up to 6m wide, then a
second earthen bank 4m wide, then another ditch with a third earthen
bank beyond. Elsewhere this defensive system may not have been so
comprehensive and a single scarp, part natural, may have sufficed.
Indeed, an early 20th century survey of the hillfort shows an
earthwork a short distance down the hillslope on the monument's S
side. Excavation has shown the site to have evidence of human
activity from the Neolithic to the present day. (12)

Sources :
Source Number : 1
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : OS 1:10000 1975
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2
Source : Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society
Source details : J Forde-Johnson: The Iron Age Hillforts of Lancashire and Cheshire (pp9-46)
Page(s) : 26-Jul
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 72, 1962
Source Number : 10
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : P Beswick and DG Coombs (1986) Excavations at Portfield Hillfort 1960, 1970 & 1972; in TG Manby & P Turnbull (eds) Archaeology in the Pennines; British Archaeol Rep 158, 137-179 Oxford: BAR
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 11
Source : British Hillforts: an index
Source details :
Page(s) : 143
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 12
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : English Heritage Scheduling Amendment 22/1/96
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 2a
Source : Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society
Source details : N Tyson, JD Bu'Lock: The Iron Age Fortifications at Planes Wood, Whalley
Page(s) : 115-7
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 67, 1957
Source Number : 3
Source : Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society
Source details : CEP Rosser: Notes on some recent field work in Lancashire and Cheshire (pp139-42)
Page(s) : 139-40
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 68, 1958
Source Number : 4
Source : Transactions of the Lancashire and Cheshire Antiquarian Society
Source details : JD Bu'Lock: Some notes on the Planeswood Hoard of Gold and Bronze Objects of the Late Bronze Age
Page(s) : 218-221
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) : 75/6, 1965/6
Source Number : 5
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : VCH Lancashire vol 2, 1911, 513-4
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 6
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : Dept of Environment (1973) Archaeological Excavations 1972, p34 (HMSO)
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 7
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : AJ Challis, DW Harding (1975) Later Prehistory from the Trent to the Tyne; British Archaeol Rep 20 pt II, p34
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Source Number : 8
Source : Field Investigators Comments
Source details : F1 RL 02-OCT-61
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
Vol(s) :
Source Number : 9
Source : VIRTUAL CATALOGUE ENTRY TO SUPPORT NAR MIGRATION
Source details : B Barnes (1982) Man and the Changing Landscape; University of Liverpool Dept of Prehistoric Archaeology Work Notes 3 107 Wallasey: Eaton Press
Page(s) :
Figs. :
Plates :
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Monument Types:
Monument Period Name : Neolithic
Display Date : Neolithic
Monument End Date : -2200
Monument Start Date : -4000
Monument Type : Pit, Lithic Scatter, Lithic Working Site
Evidence : Find, Sub Surface Deposit
Monument Period Name : Bronze Age
Display Date : Bronze Age
Monument End Date : -700
Monument Start Date : -2600
Monument Type : Promontory Fort, Findspot
Evidence : Find, Earthwork
Monument Period Name : Iron Age
Display Date : Iron Age
Monument End Date : 43
Monument Start Date : -800
Monument Type : Univallate Hillfort, Promontory Fort, Multivallate Hillfort
Evidence : Earthwork, Find
Monument Period Name : Roman
Display Date : Roman
Monument End Date : 410
Monument Start Date : 43
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find
Monument Period Name : Medieval
Display Date : Medieval
Monument End Date : 1540
Monument Start Date : 1066
Monument Type : Findspot
Evidence : Find

Components and Objects:
Period : Neolithic
Component Monument Type : Pit, Lithic Scatter, Lithic Working Site
Object Type : LEAF ARROWHEAD, SCRAPER (TOOL), VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery, Flint, Chert
Period : Bronze Age
Component Monument Type : Promontory Fort, Findspot
Object Type : HOARD, AXE, GOUGE, KNIFE, STUD, BARBED AND TANGED ARROWHEAD, BRACELET
Object Material : Bronze, Gold, Flint
Period : Iron Age
Component Monument Type : Univallate Hillfort, Promontory Fort, Multivallate Hillfort
Object Type : ANIMAL REMAINS, VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Roman
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery
Period : Medieval
Component Monument Type : Findspot
Object Type : VESSEL
Object Material : Pottery

Related Records from other datasets:
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (County No.)
External Cross Reference Number : LA 45
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : Scheduled Monument Legacy (National No.)
External Cross Reference Number : 27676
External Cross Reference Notes :
External Cross Reference Source : National Monuments Record Number
External Cross Reference Number : SD 73 NW 22
External Cross Reference Notes :

Related Warden Records :
Related Activities :
Associated Activities : Primary, PORTFIELD CAMP/PLANES WOOD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1957-01-01
End Date : 1958-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, FIELD OBSERVATION ON SD 73 NW 22
Activity type : FIELD OBSERVATION (VISUAL ASSESSMENT)
Start Date : 1961-10-02
End Date : 1961-10-02
Associated Activities : Primary, PORTFIELD CAMP/PLANES WOOD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1969-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31
Associated Activities : Primary, PORTFIELD CAMP/PLANES WOOD
Activity type : EXCAVATION
Start Date : 1971-01-01
End Date : 1972-12-31