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Friday, 3 June 2011

Blog move

As of 3rd June 2010, only the Crickley AD Blog will be updated, which is over at:

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

More grotty pot

Lid or shallow bowl found in the surface of a silted-up post-hole of an Iron Age building (which would have appeared as a hollow in the ground by the LPRIA):

Friday, 4 March 2011

Still plodding on...

Just a note to say, I've not given up!

I've written a new draft introduction to the report, and I'm now part way through re-writing the chapter describing the contexts. I'm trying to make it a little easier to read and understand, outlining the features by cutting, and then summarising the buildings in a subsequent section. I'm also currently going through cross-referencing the finds from the buildings, though I anticipate that most of the info. will have to remain within the separate chapters (e.g. ceramics, metalwork, etc.)

Still after volunteers to help in producting matrix diagrams neat enough to go in the volume, and anyone fancy dong some nice reconstruction drawings / digitising plans?

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Matrices - the saga

It would be useful to put matrices within the report - we've thousands of contexts, the inter-relationships of which can be seen much more clearly in diagrammatic form

I first created a period site matrix diagram in 1997 using a roll of lining wallpaper - I think it was about 13' long, and an absolute nightmare. Then came the Harris programme - though it has problems, it's OK (mainly 'cos it's free). Better than wallpaper, anyhow, which eventually disintegrated.

I was able to save my efforts (as a bunch of TIFFs) on Omega zip disks, although when the Zip drive contracted the dreaded clickling death (before CD writers became readily available) I was no longer able to access these.

So, I had to start redoing the matrix diagrams, though I managed to procure a volunteer for a few days (thanks to Steve for helping out on this).

If anyone has time to help in continuiny this task, please contact me...


Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Check out the new pages (links to right of this page)

The 'data' page provides a link to the ceramics database (or click on the title to this post)


A new website is under development!

(Click on the title of this post to access the site, or click:

The finds image database will be available through that site, as will descriptions and interpretations of the Roman and Early Medieval archaeology at Crickley Hill


Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Volunteer opportunity

If anyone wants to volunteer for helping to develop the matrix (stratigraphy) diagrams, let me know - this will be a great help. The data can be accessed and worked with online, via the volunteer webpages.

If anyone would like to know more about matrices and stratigraphy, check out Harris' book - now available online:

And there's a free program available online, that I use for doing the Crickley matrices:

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Volunteers again

As last years volunteers have gone off to do there own thing, I'd welcome assistance in finishing a number of tasks, to get this report out there.

There are still plans to digitise, and if any one is based in north Gloucester (which I am not), several hunderd sherds of pottery need sorting and weighing.

If you have other archaeological skills to offer - please let me know!


Been a while... Update

It's been some time since I was able to concentrate on Crickley, due to the demands of other research, but I now have a few weeks in which I can again think about the site.
    After completing my other work, I'll now be able to include lots of (what to me at least are exciting!) discoveries in the CH hillfort reoccupation report. I've spent the last 10 years staring at plans of hearths etc., with questions of ethnic and cultural identity, so some of this may get into the P3c - 4 (LPRIA - Early Medieval) report - in small doses.

As for the report: I've started re-writing the introduction, in which I hope I'm now a bit more forceful in saying just how important this site really is!
   I'm finding the application of modern policies on archaeological report writing rather challenging (primarily due to the excavations being undertaken before these strategies were in place), but I'm finding the structure quite helpful. At the same time, I'm aware that I have to try to make this report a 'good read' - I have my work cut out, notwithstanding the  interesting nature of the site!

While I still have access to ArcGIS through Sheffield, I've also again been looking at the site in its wider context - hopefully I'll be able to have access to this programme in the future, although at present, the costs suggest not.

And I'm creating a website relating to periods 3c - 4, so that any one so interested may be able to have easy access to both data and interpretations. However, as a fully functional site that can contain databases will cost, and I'm not earning at present, this site will initially be limited to a basic version of what is to come when I've been able to secure the necessary funds. I'll post the address as soon as it's finished.


Friday, 20 November 2009

Volunteer achievment

Massive thanks to Mark for finishing entry of photos on the finds photographic database (and for making this a more cohesive and accessible document) - this was completed some time ago now (and very speedily), so I must apologise for the delayed gratitude.

This database requires a little more work from me (to fill in a few details from my research notes), but in the mean-time, please let me know if you would find it useful to take a look at it.

I'm hoping online access can soon be achieved...


Sunday, 19 July 2009

Volunteer update

Yeh - another volunteer joins the team!

Welcome Mark - hope you enjoy getting involved!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Crickley buckle

The main dating evidence for the rampart settlement (providing a late 4th century - but more probably 5th century, consideering the wear and repair tpq) is the type IV buckle (bottom)

This is very similar to the only other example of this type from Britain, found at Catterick (top: photo taken through the cabinet at the BM). They also seem to have the same metallurgical composition. The crickley version has no frame, however, which may have been removed at some point - microscopic analysis would possibly demonstrate this

Friday, 24 April 2009

Volunteer update

Another volunteer has joined the team - welcome Mandy, who will be helping create a period 4 context database for the webpage!

Thursday, 2 April 2009

Grog / clay pellet tempered pot

Grog or clay pellet tempered sherds from the rampart settlement (top and middle), and one from a midden deposit near to the western (palisade enclosed) settlement (bottom). In an area of Period 4 activity, but possibly prehistoric.

The bottom sherd might be later 'soft pink grog tempered ware', but there a a few problems with this interpretation. For one, they felt handmade, not wheel-made. The bottom sherd felt soapy, the others more sandy; I can't recall micaceous fabric. In either case, I don't recall the inclusions being particularly angular (they may instead be clay pellets), or the presence of other inclusions, and the sherds were thick-walled. No grey core, either. Although within the distribution zone for 'pink grog tempered', it is outside that of 'late Roman grog tempered' (which is mainly S/SE); though the latter type is often described as 'soapy', the fabric is more commonly dark (grey, brown, or black). Possibly they're (or at least the sandy, buff sherds) earlier (C1) local grog tempered ware? Any ideas?

Saturday, 28 March 2009

Crickley buildings - in 3D!

Henry has agreed to produce some 3D reconstructions of the P4 buildings - can't wait!

Take a look what Henry can do, on his own website:

3D building reconstructions will really help show how buildings related to one another on the site, as well as visually represent hypotheses of the types of buildings that were in use during this time. This will tell us a lot about how people lived and interacted during the post-Roman period on this site

Henry will be using the data and interpretations from the initial report, as well as consulting previous CAD plans. Google SketchUp may be used to illustrate these buildings, and hopefully they will be publically accessible on a future website

When doing my previous interpretations, I consulted architects and civil engineers, as well as looking at previous building reconstructions, to try and determine the forms of the building superstructures, but there's still much unknown. It is hoped that we might use these computer models in future experimental archaeology

Thanks Henry!

PS there's still more CAD of the ground plans to be done, if anyone would like to volunteer for this task - training will be given. This would really help in producing the 3D illustrations

Sunday, 8 March 2009

Volunteer update

Welcome aboard Kathy!

Kathy's going to interpret the initial report to help complete the dark age context database (which will go in the appendix of the new report), and then (re-)produce some matrix diagrams for the report and a possible site website - thanks Kathy!

Friday, 30 January 2009

Saxon loom weights?

These fragments of grass-tempered loom weights come from the settlement activity in the area of the hillfort entrance, and look to me suspiciously like the Saxon examples from Bourton.

This of course alters the interpretation of activity within that particular area - particularly as sporadic middle Saxon metal work has been found on site

Or maybe the Crickley locals were so enthused by immigrant weaving techniques that they undertook a little industrial espionage?!

Does anyone know of other local parallels?

Sunday, 11 January 2009

Volunteer update

Welcome aboard Henry & Amanda!

Henry has already dispensed some good IT advice. We now have a Google Group - this provides greater storage capacity to make data more easily accessible to volunteers etc.

Pete is presently grappling with recreating the matrices in a readable format (I remember dealing with the matrices as a pretty intense job!)

Thanks to Steve for his recent proof-reading, and for trying to keep me on the grammatical straight & narrow!

I'm currently trying to convince Tom to do a reconstruction of the Dark Age village in oils, before he goes off to Ruskin - he's still reluctant (being a portrait, rather than landscape, man!). Maybe he thinks it'll be worth too much in a few years time?! ; )

Thanks again to all!

PS. from next week I'll be teaching for a few months, so may not be able to respond as rapidly as usual to enquiries, though will respond ASAP

Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Report Development

Chapter One of the report (draft) has now been completed, and is available online for volunteers, if required.

Thursday, 18 December 2008

Finds Photos

Photos of diagnostic finds are now accessible online (entry of these finds into the finds database is in progress). If you are interested in viewing these finds pre-database completion, please contact me

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Dark Age Contexts Database

The basic Dark Age contexts database (under reconstruction) is now available online - please contact me if you would like access to this data before it is completed


Two Volunteers engaged to help with finishing the databases etc. - thanks very much to Steve & Pete!
If there any other students of related subjects also wish to voluteer (& gain valuable archaeological post-excavation experience in the process!) - particularly to help finish digitising plans - please contact me

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Grass tempered pottery

For Dark Age enthusiasts, I've posted pics of the rather enigmatic grass-tempered pot - is it 'Saxon'? Is it 'British'? Does it have any ethnic sugnificance at all? What is its economic role? What is its date? These questions have puzzled students of the 'Dark Ages' for some time now, so I'd like to hear from anyone doing reserach in this field.

This particular sherd looks very similar to the one sherd from 'British' sites that I've been able to come in close contact with in my search for comaprisons (from Cad Cong, pinned to the the wall of Bristol Museum). The Crickley e.g. has mica-rich fabric, and was not found within the 'lower-status' settlement. I'm wondering if this fabric was seen as elite?

Other sherds are (according to Alan V) of macroscopically different fabric to the sherds from 'Anglo-Saxon' sites, though thier globular form is perhaps more 'barbaric' that RB forms. This pot (there were at least 2 of this type) has a leathery surface - quite tactile, in fact!

So, how does this compare with GT from AS sites? I've only really been able to access later wares from the region, which were much harder fired and often sandy, though I'd be interested to hear about earlier local finds.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Crickley Reunion - useful pics and plans

Check out the Crickley Hill Reunion blog - there are some useful Crickley maps & APs, particularly:

(There's a link to the CHR blog in the blog list to the bottom right of this page)


To speed up finishing the report, I'm after volunteers to help with completing the P4 context & photo databases, and with digitising the plans. Preferably, you will have some archaeological experience (though this is not absolutely necessary), and you also need to be based in the UK Midlands, unless you're willing to travel a long way (I'm afraid I can't pay any expenses).

If you're doing a BA in archaeology, perhaps this could count towards your archaeological experience instead of field work?? Also, if anyone is a whiz with ACad, and fancies doing some digital reconstruction drawings, let me know!

Friday, 31 October 2008


Nothing much to report - still working on the finds database. However, the discovery of a piece of daub from one of the western settlement enclosure fence postholes leads me to question the finish of this palisade. This had clearly been wrapped around wattle, and was unusually made of the same ceramic fabric as the P4 phase A pottery found across the site. I shall re-examine any daub from the fill of other fence postholes in due time, but has anyone come across anything similar on a contemporaneous site?

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Images of Crickley

Short Mound ceramics - parallels?

Looking for parallels for the ceramics over which the Short Mound was stratified: (Romano-British) wheel-turned, local grey ware 'imitation BBI' bowl, with incised interior decoration. Sandy, hard fired fabric, possibly comparable with the later Gloucester T5 fabric? If there's anyone out there undertaking work on local grey wares that may have come across something similar, please let me know!

Here's what I've found out so far (please let me know of any errors!):

Analysis by Ruth Leary of Trent and Peak Archaeology determined that being wheel-made, it was not of the BBI Dorset typology and was atypical due to its internal obtuse lattice decoration. Examples of internally decorated Black Burnished ware are infrequently noted in finds reports, although a local, unprovenanced, example (Malvernian fabric) exists in the archive of Gloucester City Museum, although this has additional lattice decoration on the base and. This example is in a form that perhaps pre-dates early Roman BBI,[i] giving a 2nd century t.a.q. However, its form is incomparable to the Crickley bowl, and is produced in Malvernian fabric, whereas the Crickley is macroscopically similar to the late Gloucester T5,[ii] a non-local sandy, hard fabric, although more certain T5 from Crickley (CH77 4218) differed microscopically, in the density of mica within the fabric. This suggests that this sherd was a regional import, whereas the bowl is likely to have been produced locally, fitting the local fabric group.[iii] It was therefore concluded that this was more likely to be a local imitation, as opposed to an early descendant of BBI. A further example of internal lattice may be found on an local BBI bowl from Henley Wood, Somerset, executed in a local grey ware. Although unstratified, comparison with vessels in a similar fabric suggests a 3rd/4th-century date (Leach and Watts 1996: 98, figure 95, p.105, no. 25).

The site report for the Roman Tilery site at St. Oswald’s Priory, Gloucester (Heighway and Parker 1982: 25-77), indicates the presence of local wheel-made BBI pottery in hard, sandy fabric from sub-Roman levels (ibid. 46). Further examples of later local BBI were sought. Local production of Roman pottery has been noted with increasing frequency at the end of the Roman state in Britain, possibly continuing in some regions into the 6th century, with 5th century forms of BBI recognised (Dark 1996: 58-59; 2000: 108, 141; Gerrard 2004).

Various centres have produced examples of BBI in local Grey Ware fabric, including the Thames Estuary region and a separate fabric noted in the South of Britain (Tyres 1996: 182). Distribution of BBI had reached the South, West, and lower Severn Valley by the late 4thGloucester, with manufacture in Severn Valley Ware fabric. Distinctive fabrics were noted from Cirencester (type 49 and 74) and Gloucester (type TF4, TF11B, TF11D, TF17, TF220) (ibid. 185; 197-9). century, with distribution of South Eastern Dorset BBI reaching

It has been established that the Oxford Ware industry had developed a tradition of imitation BBI (Young 1977: 205) to include the ‘dog-bowl’ form similar to that from Crickley. Later versions included the type R53, which bears a similarity to the form of the Crickley bowl, and has been dated to AD 240-400+ (ibid. 221, fig. 82). However, the Crickley example bears traces of a second beading on the rim, of which the most comparable example is from Birdoswold, dated to c. AD 350-400 (Gillam 1968: 71, no. 321), although this form is deeper. This latter form gained popularity during the later Roman period, with all kiln finds extant from the end of the 4th century or later, with local production possibly limited to the end of the Roman period (Young 1977: 206). Kiln sites include Cowley, St. Luke’s Road, Allen’s Pit, Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre, Churchill and Foxcombe Hill, Dorchester and Garsington, Sandford and Shakenoak, Oxfordshire, the latter datable to c. AD350-420 and AD350-400 (ibid. 247, 248, 252, 352).

Further examples of BBI from late 4th – early 5th century levels are not unknown, the most notable examples being located at Poundbury, Dorset (Sparey-Green 1996: 123). Sparey-Green also notes the association at Colliton Park, Dorset of late Roman coin hoards with BBI, in 5thBarnsley Park, including two examples of good imitations. The phase 10 (5th century) levels yielded 2196 sherds of BBI, with sherds of local BBI and Grey Ware of similar form to the Crickley bowl (Webster and Smith, 1982: 156-164). The conclusion to be drawn would be that a date after the 5th century should be considered for the Short Mound. century deposits (ibid.142). Nine-hundred and fifty-six sherds of BBI from the phase 9 levels (c. AD 400+) were located from the Gloucestershire villa site at

[i] Pers. comm. Phil Greatorix, Gloucester Excavation Unit.

[ii] Pers. comm. Alan Vince; J. Timby (1986: 63). Non-local grey coarse ware, wheel made micaceous. C3 introduction into Gloucester, increasingly found in the 4th century. Many forms copies of BB1. See also the Wiltshire fabric c (see Rogers and Roddham 1991: 55-56).

[iii] Pers. comm. Ron Firman.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Thoughts on the Short Mound

Having a few thought on the ritual monument known as the 'Short Mound'. This smaller version of the prehistoric 'Long Mound' on the hilltop - see the above slide show - has been difficult to date, but has an early Roman period TPQ. However, considering the construction of the mound - in particular, questioning where the soil came from (and remembering that on the hill-top, the topsoil is not very deep) - may give clues to when it was built?
Considering the inclusion of occasional local grey ware sherds within the fabric of the mound, perhaps from the (re)construction of the buildings in the rampart settlement during phase 2 of period 4 - constructed as 'scoops' within the ground surface - provided material for the mound? This would place the monument within the post-Roman period. There are few other finds, although this might be expected given the general 'poverty' of the site?

Any comments?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Finds catalogue

Having gone through several hundred sherds of pot etc., again, I'm compiling a database of key finds, complete with photos. If you do read the initial report, and wish to follow up a find, let me know, and I'll see if it's available through the database. I hope to make the database publicly accessible online (depending on the receipt of relevant permissions), when the report is completed.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Shield / helmet bindings or cup mounts?

In the initial (MA) report, a number of pieces of semi-circular copper-alloy binding were listed as cup mounts, although are perhaps as likely to be Roman period shield bindings, or even from military helmets, i.e. trim from neck-guards and cheek-pieces, dating to the 1st century AD (notwithstanding comparable e.g.s from post-Roman sites in the west).
This has implications for the dating of the buildings in which fragments were found in the rampart settlement, and for the significance of military equipment in ritual deposition (considering the presence of fragments in the Long Mound)