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Bury Bank Survey 2016

In January 2016, Professor Gary Lock gave us a talk about the Atlas of Hillforts Project that he is involved with. This talk inspired us to conduct a survey of a Staffordshire hillfort, following the guidelines of that project. These required us to measure certain parameters of the hillfort, and record our findings on the project's form. We will then submit the completed form to Professor Lock.


The hillfort we chose for our survey is that at Bury Bank, to the north of Stone at the junction of the A34 and the A51. It has been described many times in print.

For example, here is a page from "The Natural History of Staffordshire" by Robert Plot, 1686


  Plot's Bury Bank

This page image is taken from Google Books copy of Plot's Natural History of Staffordshire published in 1686

Reference to Bury Bank can be found in many places on  the Internet. The most authoritative are those managed by what was English Heritage, now Historic England. Their PastScape site has a good description, as well as references to their other sites which list the monument - these include the Staffordshire HER on the Heritage Gateway site.


So, on Sunday 6th March 2016, a small team of SOTMAS members undertook a survey of the Bury Bank hillfort. We started by walking around the site anticlockwise from the north, until we reached the entrance on the W side: in this photo I am looking into the entrance from the W - it slopes upwards quite steeply.


Entrance from W looking E

In the next picture we have walked up the slope through the entrance, and the three members ahead of me are walking from N to S across the entrance "passage", although it is difficult to make out the form of the banks forming this passage due to the bracken which covers much of the site. The apparent feature to the right of Keith (holding the ranging rod) is a mossy old tree stump


Across the entrance passage

The next two pictures show us continuing our circumnavigation - in the first we are still on the W side, just beyond the entrance, in the second we are in the SE quadrant. Click on any picture to see a larger version



Now the team has walked into the interior of the fort, and are standing on the W side of the SW quadrant, looking out E across a stony area (I am looking roughly S)

Stony area

There are two small barrows in the interior, centrally in the S half of the enclosure. In the next picture, two members of the team are standing on top of the northern most barrow, looking S towards the other. The barrows are very difficult to make out in the photo because of the bracken covering the ground.


Some way SE of the barrows there appears to be a roughly square feature which four members of the team are standing on the corners of (not Rosemary in the maroon coat, nearest the camera)

Square feature


We used a GPS to estimate the width and length of the fort. Here we are using measuring tapes to measure the dimensions, which corresponded very well with the GPS estimates. Click on a thumbnail to see a larger picture

Measuring More measuring

Finally, here is a picture of the SOTMAS team. Our results will be submitted to the Hillforts Project, and then I will make them available on this page.


Report and results data

Report and survey data: [to follow]

Stoke-on-Trent Museum Archaeological Society, 28th March 2016