Crickley related talks and academic papers

'The significance of Crickley Hill for late antique Britain', Reading University, Late Antique Research Group, 2011 (TBC)

'Telling Tales? Myth, memory and Crickley Hill' TAG, University of Bristol, 17th - 19th December, 2010 
Co-presented with Dave Hollos


This paper will focus on Roman and post-Roman period activity at Crickley Hill: activity that strongly suggests a significant role for oral tradition and ritual practices in maintaining the significance of the site in the landscape over many centuries.
Long Abstract

Crickley Hill (in the Vale of Gloucester) has intermittent settlement and ritual practices from the Neolithic through to the modern day; this paper focuses upon activity at the Iron Age hillfort during the Roman and post-Roman periods. In the early and later Roman periods, ritual monument initially constructed in the late Neolithic - Early Bronze Age (the 'Long Mound') formed the focus for sporadic votive deposition. During the 5th century, the hilltop was reoccupied (perhaps by the nearby villa estate community), and the monument became incorporated within the post-Roman elite sector of the settlement.

Although possibly representing an earlier (2nd century AD) monument, it is argued that it was during this post-Roman phase of activity that the 'Short mound' - a smaller mound modelled upon the Long Mound - was constructed on the periphery of the settlement. The replication of Long Mound features, that lay buried until their excavation in the 1970s, suggests the existence of mechanisms for retaining knowledge over many centuries. The current explanation is that this must have involved the development of oral tradition, and possibly ritual performance, but to what extent might associated memories have been 'social' - and might there be other explanations?

This site gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between community and landscape during the 5th century - commonly seen as a time when religious systems, beliefs, and ritual behaviour, underwent radical change and renegotiation. It provides an opportunity to consider notions of continuity and transformation, and the inter-relationship of memory and power.

Ritual in the Everyday at Crickley Hill’, University of Sheffield, Archaeologies of the Everyday Conference, June 2008

Extensive excavation has uncovered the majority of the late antique hillfort settlement at Crickley Hill, Gloucestershire, making it suitable for detailed analysis of daily practices: diachronic contextual study has revealed the contiguity of ritual and domestic activity. The early Iron Age hillfort ramparts contained an array of monuments and ritual deposits constructed over the millennia. However, far from representing ‘separate’ domains, these features were fully integrated within late- and post-Roman life. A unique late Neolithic/early Bronze Age long mound was incorporated within the ‘elite’ settlement zone, its later- or post-Roman replica strategically placed to ensure the inscription of its significance in daily, routine activity by the non-elite population. Late pre-Roman Iron Age ritual deposits were incorporated within the domestic/industrial structures of the lower status zone. Domestic buildings dating from the 5th century AD or after seemingly replicated pre-Roman cosmographies, demonstrating the embedded nature of ritual within every day activities; buildings also referenced the Roman past in their alignment, daily bodily movements ritualising their communal significance. Links with the ancestors were emphasised by the incorporation of their remains within focal features of domestic/industrial buildings. Artefacts from the Roman and pre-Roman past were also curated, and placed within significant, everyday contexts, movement in relation to which would have perpetuated relationships with previous generations.

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