Inside Out Festival 2007 - Hambledon Hill Sunday 23rd September 2007

Bill Crumbleholme was commissoned to produce prehistoric pottery with local school children as part of the Inside Out Project, which featured "Enclosure" an event on Hambledon Hill on Sunday 23rd September.

During the event Bill fired a batch of Pottery in a bonfire at the foot of the hill.

Hambledon Hill is famous for Neolithic Grooved Ware.

This page gives details of what happened with the pottery.

Visit a page at this link with some images of Enclosure.

Visit the Inside Out Website.

This is the YouTube page for the Hambledon Hill performance :-


Neolithic Eggcup!

During June and July Bill visited primary schools for a day each at Shillingstone, Durweston and Child Okeford. Groups of about 8 young pupils were each given about 45 minutes to produce their versions of Neolithic Grooved Ware. One of Bill's examples is show above.

They all tried very hard to reproduce the style of Grooved Ware, some with more success than others! In such a limited time it was difficult for the beginners to get to grips with the clay, but several produced very acceptable replicas. The images below show the 150 pots out in the sun drying, before being fired.

Before starting their own attempts, they handled some of Bill's prehistoric replica pots and discussed the differences between the colours, decorations and textures of the Neolithic, Bronze Age, Iron Age and Roman pottery, examples of all of which have been found on Hambledon Hill. While they worked they discussed what the pots might have been used for and what sort of life the ancient people lived, what they ate, wore and used as tools. They gained an insight into how pottery was produced and how it was decorated using simple tools.

It is hoped that the pupils will visit the Hill with a fresh outlook after their experience with Bill. Many of them were already aware of the significance of the earthworks and understood the strategic importance of the location. Now perhaps they will be able to visualise it as a place where people lived, worked and traded.

Inside Out grooved ware

The pots have been fired in Bill's electric kiln and have been given back to the pupils. Each pot has the maker's name, school and date inscribed on the base, they will hopefully be treasured for decades to come as a reminder of the festival and the location!

On 23rd September, Bill fired some pots that he made at Durrington Walls, another important Neolithic site. Follow this link for details of that event. There follows a collection of images of that weekend.

Ash Log bonfire
The weather on 23rd September was highly unsuitable for bonfire firing pottery!
English Nature had kindly provided some ash logs for the fire, which smoldered wonderfully, providing a splendid radiant heat source in which to dry out the 4 large "Grooved Ware" urns.
Unfortunately, after an hour's pre-heating, Mother Nature added a sprinkling of fine rain and gustier wind, which dampened the pots and stoked up the fire. Suddenly one of the urns exploded as the side blew off, as a result of the damp turning to steam and expanding. Over the next half an hour the three other urns gave up the ghost and became a heap of shards. The small "Neolithic Egg-cups" made as demonstration pieces during the school visits were revealed from their hiding places inside the urns. However they had already been fired in an electric kiln and were undergoing a "ritual cleansing" by fire, so they survived the expirence.

Ritual use of Beakers
Part of the Ritual involved a group of Bill's beakers acting a vessels for crushed chalk, which was sprinkled and thrown up into the wind. Surely the most thought prevoking use of beakers for several thousand years!

Wicker Leg Ablaze
During the afternoon, Bill had started to construct a Wicker Man, which was ceremonially burnt on the fire after the audience returned from the Enclosure performance.
Due to time and space restraints, only one leg was involved, but it provided an epic end to the evening and pointed to greater things to come!

Sculpture in Flames
The swirling fire engolfed the willow and momentarily created a sculpture in flames.

Happy yurt
Bill's Yurt had been used as a changing and rest room by the performers, set up in one of the rampart hollows on top of the hill. Bill spent a very wonderful Saturday night sleeping in it, ticking off another pre-historically significant camping location.

Unhappy yurt
However after the ritual performance, the wind rose and the rain lashed down as a mini-hurricane swept the hill. Had the Ancestors been enraged by the interlopers?
This is an artist's impression of how the Yurt looked at 4am on Sunday night after a very strong gust capsized it. Bill took the hint and rolled it up and walked back down the hill and slept in his van! All credit to the design and manufacture of the Yurt that only one of the bamboo poles was bent and none of the canvas damaged. All of the pathetic gazebos at "base camp" were thoroughly trashed!

Visit this link to see some images of the ritual enactment.