Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Dr Phillpotts's earliest published work ...

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Dr Phillpotts sends me a interesting note: "It is an account of my experiences of the 1972 season which I wrote for the newsletter of the Bristol Archaeological Research Group to which I belonged whilst still at school, and which met at Bristol Museum under the leadership of the renowned veteran archaeologist Leslie Grinsell. I suppose it might count as my first published piece about twelve years before my first serious piece on Agincourt."

Chris is referring to his 1984 piece in the English Historical Review "The French plan of battle during the Agincourt campaign" a copy which may be downloaded here.  Well worth a read.   But here's Dr Phillpotts on CH72:

"This summer I assisted in the fourth season of excavation at Crickley Hill, near Cheltenham.  This is an Iron Age promontory fort on the edge of the Cotswolds, containing a Neolithic causewayed camp.  In the first three seasons the Iron Age entrance had been excavated, revealing two periods of building, the second much more sophisticated, and an intermediate repair job built after the burning of the first entrance.  Excavation of the Neolithic area had uncovered causewayed ditches comparable to those at the Windmill Hill site.

At the peak period there were about 70 volunteers working on the site, though this dwindled to about 40 in the last days.  When I arrived I was dismayed to find that the accommodation was a disused civil defence barracks.  Even this was overcrowded, with one unfortunate sleeping under the sink.  Every morning we were taken to the site in a decrepit coach driven by the caretaker, a giant of Eastern European extraction, known as 'Lofty'.  It was difficult to grasp the significance of the work we were doing as we seemed so isolated.  Contacts with the outside world were restricted to Thursdays.  

It was, however, an important site.  We stripped nearly an acre of ground down to bedrock, making three vast cuttings.  This revealed the potholes of a street of Iron Age longhouses, tailing down to a small ones straddling a Neolithic ditch - nicknamed 'Fred's Place' and a later Iron Age roundhouse along with some smaller buildings.  These two sets of buildings were almost certainly associated with the two building periods of the entrance.  All this showed up extremely well on the air-photographs.  In the Neolithic area  we uncovered the longest piece of uninterrupted Neolithic ditch in Britain, and Neolithic house and several less readily identifiable features.  Finds were unspectacular but extremely plentiful.  A couple of flint axe heads and lots of arrowheads came up, but most of the finds were animal bones and fragments of daub and pot, some of a revolting coarse-gritted variety that crumbled when you tried to wash it.  it is planned to open up an even larger area next year, and several more seasons are planned.  This is an extremely interesting site which should continue to produce good results.  Chris Phillpotts"

Well, the Chronicler got over his first impressions of Ullenwood: I wonder who was sleeping under the sink?

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