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Sunday, August 2, 2009

How Lara Unger came to Crickley ...




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Lara Unger found the advertisement in 'Archaeology' magazine that led her to Crickley together with the prospectus she was sent for the Training Week. The piece in 'Archaeology' read:

"Crickley Hill (year- round, excavations July 6th to 20th August) Villages, fortresses and religious grounds dating from the Neolithic period to the Middle Ages have been discovered at this site. Archaeologists are examining the remains to gain further insight into both the secular and sacred life of the various settlements over time. Nearby attractions include hillforts, barrows and mediaeval towns in the Cotswolds. Getting there: take the train or coach to Cheltenham, Gloucestershire and a taxi to the site (about 4 miles); wheelchair accessible. No appointment necessary to visit the site (open daily). Accommodation and restaurants in town. Volunteers accepted. Write for application. Contact Philip Dixon, Department of Archaeology, University of Nottingham, Nottingham N97 2RD, England (tel.) 602 515151."

Taking her courage in both hands after reading that mildly confusing flyer, Lara wrote off: Tina Dudley replied, enclosing the Training Programme. Tina's letter is on notepaper with a Crickley Hill Excavations logo in the shape of the postholes of an Iron Age Roundhouse: very good!

"Training Week

The Training week is designed to provide a concentrated period of excavation and post excavation experience, and a general understanding of archaeological methods. The week includes site visits, practical experience in digging, finds processing, planning and post-excavation work, all accompanied by regular lectures and seminars. All members of the training week have the opportunity to take part in all stages of the excavation process during their stay and will be attached to staff members, in order to observe the practices and duties of the digging team, who will provide immediate help and advice. [C-H-M would like to see a cartoon from Mr Andrew Powell depicting training week members attached to staff members who are providing immediate help and advice ...] Those on the Training Week stay in the accommodation of the Crickley Hill Excavation team, and share with the team in their social activities. [Hmm... should this have said: all Training Week members are automatically inducted into the Crickley Hill Formation Drinking Team?] Full information about the excavation and about the site visits will be provided upon arrival at Ullenwood.

Proposed programme
  • Sunday 1 August on arrival you will be greeted by the Site Manager who will show you to your accommodation. All Training Week members will then assemble before dinner (7pm), which is followed by an introduction to the staff members and a lecture about the work at Crickley Hill over the past 25 years
  • Monday 2 August In the morning we shall visit the site, and have a discussion of the excavation and its results. The visit will include a full site tour and explanations of our archaeological methods. After lunch you will receive your initial practical experience in either digging or finds processing. A member of staff is allocated to provide advice and answer any questions. At 8pm there will be a lecture on excavation methods.
  • Tuesday 3 August Coach excursion to local sites of interest. This field trip is aimed at the earlier periods of archaeology. The timetable proposed for this trip is as follows: Leave Ullenwood at 9:00 am to travel to the late Iron Age hillfort at Uleybury Arrive at Neolithic Barrows of Hetty Pegler's Tump and Nympsfield. Minchinhampton earthworks: these probably belong to the late Iron Age Visit to Frocester Court which has something for everybody. The site has been excavated by its owner for over 30 years, and includes a Neolithic settlement, an Iron Age farmstead, a Roman Villa, and an important mediaeval grange, with a massive tithe barn. Visit to Cirencester, capital city of half of Roman Britain, and a well preserved mediaeval and early modern town; we may have a chance to visit the museum dependant upon time Return to Ullenwood for dinner. [Phew - there seems to be an element of time-travel about this day in the programme, but with Lofty at the wheel anything was possible...]
  • Wednesday 4 August Half your day will be spent digging on site and half processing finds. This is designed to ensure that all members of Training Week receive good, all-round experience. There will a lecture in the evening on prehistoric settlements.
  • Thursday 5 August Coach excursion to sites of interest on the Welsh Border. This field trip is aimed at the later periods of archaeology. Sites we intend to visit include: the 11th- century castle at Chepstow, a 12th century castle and 15th century manor house at Tretower, the rocky hillfort at Castell Dinas and the ruins of Tintern Abbey. Return to Ullenwood for dinner.
  • Friday 6 August Planning, surveying and drawing. This will be in the form of practicals and lectures. Evening lecture on Fringe archaeology.
  • Saturday 7 August Post excavation work, this includes the use of computers, processing of finds, site reports in the form of practicals and lectures. Evening lecture on publishing archaeological reports.
  • Sunday 8 August This is your last day and by now you should have established where your interest lies in the field of archaeology. You have the choice of digging, drawing, finds, computer work or planning.
The cost of the Training Week is £140. This covers all tuition and transport costs as well as accommodation and board. Paces are limited: if you wish to take part a deposit of £40 is payable (cheques made payable to the Crickley Hill Trust and sent to me at Nottingham). The balance is due when you arrive at Ullenwood at the beginning of Training Week. If you have any queries or problems write to me at the Department of Archaeology, Nottingham. Your address during your visit will be Ullenwood Civil Defence Centre, Greenway Lane, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Glos."

It almost makes me want to apply, especially the field trips ... to which I have now added some links.


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