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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)