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Monday, October 5, 2009

Dig unearths ancient times

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My thanks to Joanne Milroy who writes "Last year - at the 2008 Reunion - Pauline Dumbrill gave me a file of newspaper cuttings and other material that had belonged to Don Mickley who had served as Chairman of the Friends and had recently died. Here is a feature in the Cheltenham AdMag to mark the famous Royal Visit to mark the 20th Anniversary of Crickley. Very bizarrely when I was scanning these articles in on the heavy duty office scanner - one of my colleagues said "Crickley Hill?....my sister dug there." Perhaps someone remembers an Imogen Bush in 1990/91 - I work with her sister Magdalen. There was an Imogen in earlier years - who was Julian Thomas's sister, I think - but this seems to be another one."

"HRH the Duke of Gloucester visited the Crickley Hill Archaeological Dig, on Monday, stamping the royal seal of approval on 21 years [sic] hard digging. After arriving by helicopter the Duke was presented with a replica bronze cape pin found on the site [Really? Why wasn't it with the rest of the finds?] and was then shown around the excavations by Dr Philip Dixon who is the director of the project. During his tour the Duke viewed a mysterious long mound on the hill, believed to have had a ritual purpose in prehistoric times, a sacred circle and a cremation burial site. He also talked to supervisors and volunteers about Iron Age remains and watched them sift through the soil for fossils or pottery. [Iron Age fossils?] "As an architect, the Duke was particularly interested in the type of houses they lived in,"His visit is indeed a tribute to the 4,000 volunteers who have worked on the dig for 21 years." The Duke said "This is a very interesting project which has brought so many people together and at the same time it builds up our knowledge about our prehistoric forebearers [sic]." [Eh?] Crickley Hill, a nine acre site has rewarded archaeologists with a range of finds over two decades of work. Among the finds have been the earliest battlefield in this country, dating from 2,500 BC, a neoloithic [sic] causewayed enclosure, a Bronze Age ceremonial site and two Iron Age hillforts and a Dark Age Chieftain's settlement. [Each of those finds must have been a struggle to get into a plastic finds bag. I wonder where Richard found some big enough ...] This year's excavations, which began on 1 July, will concentrate on two areas of the hill. At the western end of the site the dig team will try to unravel the history of the prehistoric long mound with its related sacred circle and burial site. to the east of this the team will also be investigating the remains of an Iron Age village which dates from 700BC to 450BC. The dig, which this year is sponsored by the Cheltenham and Gloucester Building Society, is open to the public every day except Thursday."

Photo captions:

The Duke hears something of the long history of the site from dig director Dr Philip Dixon and area supervisor Sue Content

The Duke learns something of flint working from archaeologist John Gale

Worker meticulously mark every find and carefully sweep away the dirt as the Duke poses some searching questions of his own [Groan ...]

The Duke admires a memento of his visit, a replica Bronze Age pin

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