I dug at Crickley Hill in 1993, but began research on the Crickley Hill archive in 1997, as part of my MA in Archaeological Research at the University of Nottingham. My dissertation would focus upon the late- to post-Roman activity on the site, and provide a platform from which I could continue research in order to publish Volume 6 in the series of site reports. This report will cover the late pre-Roman Iron Age (‘Period 3c’), Roman, and Early Medieval (‘Period 4’: also called the ‘Early Middle Ages‘, or ‘Dark Ages‘) phases of occupation and ritual within the Early Iron Age hill fort. In this post, I’m going to provide a brief outline of work on the Crickley Hill archive
I have continued to work on the archive since the completion of my MA in 1999, although as this has been in a voluntary capacity, I have only been able to do so during my free time. (As I have worked and studied for a PhD at the University of Sheffield over the past 12 years, this has often been limited.) Since finishing at Sheffield last year, I have been able to dedicate more time to the project, although there is still much work to do. I have recruited volunteers to support this work, and I have just begun to work with one volunteer to create digital plans for the site. Another volunteer has recently agreed to provide some reconstruction drawings, to illustrate the site. And a further volunteer has come forward to discuss the prospect of developing 3D images for the site, and website development.
The project, directed by Prof. Philip Dixon, was previously associated with the Department of Archaeology at the University of Nottingham, although since his retirement from the University, it has continued independently. Prof. Dixon has already produced the first report in the series, whilst Dr Nicola Snahsall (National Trust archaeologist at Avebury) has undertaken the research on the Neolithic activity; David Hollos has investigated a prominent prehistoric monument on the site – the ‘Long Mound’; and I have continued the work on the Roman and Early Medieval phases. This process has also involved my examination of the late pre-Roman Iron Age activity, as it is often difficult to distinguish between the pre- and post-Roman activity.
Due to the vast archive (consisting of well over one hundred thousand finds – the finds database containing 135321 entries – and many excavation plans and records for thousands of contexts), it will be some time yet before this research is completed. This is why I have made photographs of notable Period 4 finds (and a database containing information of their contexts) available online, and why I run a Blog to keep any one who might be interested up to date. I have begun a website, where I had hope to present findings. However, as there is very little funding available, I used a free website service, that is soon to be withdrawn. So (with the help of volunteers) I will develop a new site later on this year. I have also created a summary of Period 4 activity, which I intend to make available today, which may also become accessible via the website of the Southwest branch of the Council for British Archaeology (CBA SW).
I have used the knowledge that I gained in examining the archaeology of southwest Britain from the late Iron Age to Early Medieval period to contextualise Crickley Hill; my research on identity in this region during these periods has also informed my investigation of the site.