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
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
This page gives details of what happened with
This is the YouTube page for the Hambledon Hill performance :-
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.
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
On 23rd September, Bill fired some
pots that he made at Durrington Walls, another important Neolithic site.
this link for details of that event. There follows a collection of
images of that weekend.
The weather on 23rd September was highly unsuitable for bonfire firing
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.
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!
During the afternoon, Bill had started to construct a Wicker Man, which
was ceremonially burnt on the fire after the audience returned from the
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!
The swirling fire engolfed the willow and momentarily created a sculpture
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.
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!
this link to see some images of the ritual enactment.