Saturday, September 12, 2009

The joining instructions for 1993

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Lara Unger has kindly sent me the background information sheet and the joining instructions that she received for the 1993 season.

The background sheet reads:

The twenty-fourth season of excavations will take place between 9 July and 17 August 1993.

The site is on a hilltop of the Cotswolds overlooking the Vale of Severn, with a wide panorama from the Warwickshire uplands to the Black Mountains of Wales. Excavations here began in 1969, and have continued each summer since. Remains of about twenty phases of occupation have been identified, ranging from the Neolithic (c.3000 BC) to the sub-Roman period (c. AD450). In the Neolithic a series of settlements, enclosed by ditches and banks, stood on top of the hill. After repeated attacks they were abandoned, and the site was occupied by ritual monuments - a stone circle and an earthen long mound. Much later, about 500 BC, two successive hillforts with substantial defences were built: each was destroyed by fire. Late in the Iron Age, just before 1BC, the hill was reoccupied, but without defences. After the Roman conquest of Britain the area was farmed, with a country house and a farmstead below the hill. At the end of the Roman period two separate settlements were built inside the old defences, probably during the fifth century AD. Both were burnt, and the hill was abandoned to pasture. An illustrated booklet describing excavations is available, price £2.50 (incl. p&p): please indicate on the form if you wish to receive Village, Fortress and Shrine, and enclose payment with your form.

During the 1993 season we hope to excavate in two areas: to the north-east of the Neolithic settlement, where surface indications suggest the complex rampart structure, and to the north of the western gate of the Neolithic camp, where excavations in 1992 showed an Iron Age roadway.

Accommodation for the team is in the Ullenwood Civil Defence Centre, which is less than a mile from the excavation site. Here we have dormitories for men and for women, washrooms and showers, a dining hall, kitchen and sitting room, and a lecture theatre, together with plenty of space for tents and caravans, set within a former army camp. The accommodation comes with full board (a cooked breakfast, sandwich lunch, an evening meal, and tea and biscuits during the morning and afternoon breaks) for an inclusive cost of £37.50 a week. Vegetarian meals are available by arrangement. We do not like diggers to cater for themselves in the camp, as our experience is that it is very difficult for the digger and distracting the staff, because of the problems of shopping. Lectures about the site and related subjects will be given normally on four evenings each week, and we hope to be able to organise a coach trip to visit monuments in the area during the training week. The excavation is run by a charitable trust and exists only with the aid of donations and sponsorship. All (including the director and staff) are unpaid volunteers. A few grants-in-aid, however, are available for those in special need, to cover part of the cost board and lodging. If you wish to be considered for one of these, please indicate this on your application form. We normally have to limit these to experienced workers.

On site we work six days a week between 9 am and 6 pm. Thursday are free days, when shops are open in Cheltenham and Gloucester. During the Advance period we shall be cleaning the camp and setting up the site huts, and making ready for the excavations. During the rearguard period we should be clearing up and putting away the tools. Note that board and lodging are free to diggers during these periods. Do not worry if you feel unfit: a wide range of jobs is available on site, from heavy digging to recording, drawing and finds processing. We hope that volunteers will be able to gain experience in as many different tasks as possible, and training and advice is provided by the supervisors and staff. Previous experience is not essential, but it takes about a week from the beginning to understand the work: try to join us at least at this period if you have never done before. We can, however, accept weekend-only diggers if they can make it a regular commitment. We are always ready to accept experienced diggers for shorter periods.

Training week: between 1 August and 7 August there will be a special training period, which will run in parallel with the normal digging. During this period those who enrol for training will receive additional lectures and tutorials and fieldtrips, and will be able to accompany the director supervisors at their tasks, in addition to some general digging on site. The cost of the trainees during this period will be £140, including full board and excursions. If you would like to receive further information about this, please indicate it on the application form. Note that during this period the normal digging programme will be available for non-participants in the training week at the normal rate of £37.50 per week.

If you wish to join us, fill in the application form and indicate the day on which you intend to arrive, the first meal you wish to take, and the day (normally the next day) on which you wish to start digging. If you find you enjoy it, you can normally arrange to extend your stay with us. Send your application, together with your deposit of £37.50 (which is your first week's board and lodging) to me at Nottingham, and I will send you a map, joining instructions, and some suggestions about what to bring with you.

Thank you for your interest in our work. Philip Dixon."

Said joining instructions are these:


Dear Lara
Thank you for your application to dig at Crickley Hill between 7 July and ......... We have accommodation/space for your tent/caravan from 6 July to ...........

The Site is above the Air Balloon roundabout (the junction of the upper road from Cheltenham to Stroud with the road from Gloucester, at Nat. Grid Ref. S0934162. Immediately to the NW of the roundabout, on the Cheltenham Road is a sign to Crickley Hill Country Park. Follow the tarmac road up the hill to the Car Park and the Park Information Centre, which is about 100 yards to the east of the excavation site.

Accommodation is in Ullenwood Civil Defence Centre, Greenway Lane, Lech Hampton, Cheltenham, Glos (NGR SO 936174). Greenway Lane is a narrow road on the north side of the road from Cheltenham to the Air Balloon. [Take care not to go to Ullenwood Star Centre, which is an institution to the south of the Cheltenham Road, nor to Ullenwood Manor, which is a private house immediately to the west of Greenway Lane.] At Ullenwood CD Centre we have our dormitories, dining and lecture halls, kitchen and washrooms, and space for camping. Campers use the normal facilities of the Centre. Self catering is strongly discouraged, as there are no local shops. We can provide vegetarian meals. Those who use the dormitories should bring sleeping bags or sheets, or pillows and blankets. If this is difficult, we can supply pillows, sheets and blankets at the cost of their laundry.

Please arrive on the afternoon or evening before your first morning's digging with us. Cheltenham can be reached by coach or by rail. The camp is about 4 miles to the south of the town centre; many walk, since there is no convenient local bus service, but taxis are available: they should cost about £5. When you arrive, come either to the excavations (but not after 5 pm) or to Ullenwood camp, where most times of the day, and certainly after 6 pm, you will find members of the excavation. You should report your arrival at the earliest opportunity to the kitchen staff.

We will provide you with all meals at cost, which will amount to £37 50 per week: this includes a cooked breakfast, sandwich lunch, a full cooked meal in the evening, and biscuits and tea during the morning and afternoon breaks. On Thursdays, our day off, breakfast is confined to cereals/bread and jam, and lunch will not be provided: most of the team will be away in town or visiting on this day. Dinner on Thursdays is normally a cold buffet set out about 6 pm (and sometimes consumed by 6.30). During the rest of the week dinner will be served about 7 pm. In the evening after dinner (normally on Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Fridays) there will be lectures for any who are interested on a range of subjects including the weekly site lecture (on Sundays), the background to the site, and problems of archaeological techniques and interpretation. During the week from 1 to 7 August there will be additional lectures in the evening as part of the training week. During this period there will be a field trip by coach; this should cost about £5 or so per head. If you are taking part in the training week this trip will be free, and you will be given your supplementary programme of teaching and site visits when you arrive.

Digging will take place between 9 am to 6 pm daily, except for Thursday. We have an hour after lunch, and tea breaks in the morning and afternoon. Bring warm clothes, which you don't mind getting muddy, and something really waterproof. You will need waterproof footwear (but nothing with heavily serrated soles, which leave marks on the site) and light but comfortable shoes (e.g. old trainers, but not sandals or beach shoes, which give your feet little protection). The weather can be very hot on the hill, and the next day cold wet and windy, and so you may need gloves, sun hat, dark glasses, sun lotion and insect repellent. Most people bring two (old) mugs, one for the site and one of the camp. We have stocks of utensils, but you may wish to bring your own: a knife, fork, spoon, plate, soup bowl. If you do, do not bring anything precious, since things get broken and lost. Unless your hands are already tough you will certainly need surgical spirit and Elastoplast. You may find a kneeling mat or a piece of foam rubber useful. It is certainly softer than kneeling on the rock. You will need a trowel. This should not be gardening tool but a builder's pointing trowel, diamond-shaped, and with a shank forged in one with the blade. They cost from £4 pounds to £15, dependent on the make, and the cheaper ones break very easily. The size is important: 4" or 5" is best; 6" too long. You are advised to mark it as clearly as possible with your name, or paint the handle distinctively, since they are universal tools which people habitually leave lying on the ground, and others pick up. You will need to bring two or more hard pencils (4H or 5H) for drawing and one of normal (HB) hardness for writing, a pencil sharpener, eraser and coloured pencils (red, yellow and blue) for planning.

Medical: for any work which involves digging with the chance of abrasions, a tetanus inoculation is recommended, if you have not already had one. We have an excavation doctor in Cheltenham, and are accustomed to first aid on the site (mostly blisters!). If you have any question about these instructions, please telephone or write as soon as possible: telephone numbers and addresses are given below.

For urgent communications during the period of the excavations contact: Mr R. D. A. Savage, etc. While at Crickley your postal address will be c/o Ullenwood Civil Defence Centre, Greenway Lane, Leckhampton, Cheltenham, Glos, England. There is no telephone at our base (though outgoing calls can be made from a nearby public box). If you wish to contact me during excavation period, please use this address. Some people try to reach me at the University during this period. This is pointless, since I shall not be there. I enclose a map which shows the site, Ullenwood camp and nearby roads, and look forward to seeing you."

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