West Hill, Uley, Gloucestershire, England

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Later prehistoric and Romano‐British ritual site and temple in the southern Cotswolds. The site was extensively excavated by Ann Woodward and Peter Leach in 1977–9. The earliest phase comprised standing stones or posts at the focus of an open‐ended enclosure, probably of the 4th millennium bc. In the 2nd or 1st century bc a sequence of ditched and palisaded enclosures were built around two shrines of timber construction that may have stood within a sacred woodland clearance. The central shrine was replaced on the same axis in the early 2nd century ad by a stone Romano‐Celtic temple dedicated to a cult of Mercury. Ranged around about were buildings in timber and stone, living quarters for the priests and accommodation for visitors. As well as fragments of a limestone statue of Mercury, finds included numerous lead tablets, many inscribed with curses, and animal bones, indicating the sacrificial remains of goat, sheep, and cockerels. Following modifications in the 4th century ad, the temple was levelled in the 5th century, and in its place a timber hall or basilican church was constructed on the earlier axis; this building was later reconstructed in stone and was used as a Christian place of worship down to the 7th or 8th centuries ad.


A. Woodward and P. Leach, 1993, The Uley shrines. London: English Heritage

Subjects: Archaeology.

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