Books, Prehistory, Proceedings of the Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club

Proceedings of the Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club is in Prehistory.

Books, Prehistory, Proceedings of the Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club Volume 3

Nympsfield Notes on an Ancient British Tumulus at Nympsfield [Map], opened by the Cotteswold Club. By James Buckman, F.G.S., F.L.S., F.S.A., &c., Professor of Botany and Geology.

Books, Prehistory, Proceedings of the Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club Volume 3, Nympsfield Skulls

Report on the Skulls from the Tumulus at Nympsfield [Map]. By John Thurnam (age 54), M.D., F.S.A.

The Osseous remains from the Chambered Tumulus of Nympsfield consist of one skull, one broken calvarium, and fragments of at least ten other crania.

No. 1. The large and finely developed skull of a man of middle age. Its capacity is represented by eighty-eight ounces of white sand, and the contained brain must have weighed about fifty-eight ounces avoirdupois. The type is dolichocephalic, with a full and prominent occiput. The only exception as to equable development depends on the presence of slight parieto-occipital flatness. The frontal region is rather narrow, but is moderately elevated and well arched where it joins the parietals. The parietal tubers are not prominent. The superciliaries are large, and form a central overhanging boss. The nasals are broken off at the roots. The superior maxillaries are short, especially the alveolar portions; as in other skulls from the chambered tumuli of Uley and West Kennet. Slight prognathism is exhibited in the prominence of the inter maxillaries. A greater number of the teeth, viz., two or three incisors and two or three molars, have been lost during life than in almost any other British skull I have examined. One molar and two premolars are in place; they are very much worn down, and have the dentine hollowed out. There is no lower jaw among the fragments which can be confidently attributed to this skull.

No. 2. A broken calvarium of still more decidedly dolichocephalic character than the skull No. 1. In this instance likewise, the supra occipital region is full and prominent. Behind the coronal suture is a marked depression, which extends down the sides of the skull, and suggests the idea of having been produced by the long continued use of a constricting bandage in early life. This peculiarity of form is one occasionally observed in ancient British skulls, and especially in those from the north of Wiltshire and Gloucestershire, the country of the Dobuni, as seen in many crania in my collection.

Nos. 3, 4, and 5. Frontal bones; all apparently of male skulls. They are characterized by their generally low, narrow, and receding form; as is likewise the frontal bone in the calvarium No. 2. This form prevails especially in skulls from the chambered long-barrows of Wilts, Gloucester, and Somerset. (See the description of the skull from Uley, in Crania Britannica, Plate 5. )

No. 6. Frontal and facial bones and lower jaws (all imperfect) of a female, probably of less than thirty years. The form is in no respect peculiar, except that the lower jaw is square and angular. The teeth are considerably eroded.

No. 7. Fragments of the frontal and facial bones of a male of about forty years.

No. 8. Upper maxillaries of, perhaps, a female, of about sixty years.

No. 9. Left upper maxillary of a male of about forty years.

No. 10. Left upper maxillary of a young adult, with two molar teeth, showing incipient attrition on the inner edges.

No. 11. Part of inferior maxillary of an infant, with two deciduous teeth in place.

No. 12. Fragment of lower jaw of an aged female, completely edentulous.

The fragments of two lower jaws of males, marked A and B, show in a high degree the broad and angular form of the ascending ramus, which is so marked a feature in the adult male British cranium. There are several fragments of burnt human bones, the largest being part of the occiput of a child. They are very imperfectly burnt, many of them merely charred, and are very different from the cinders of bone found when unambiguous cremation has been practised.

Devizes, Sept. 1862.

Books, Prehistory, Proceedings of the Cotteswold Naturalists' Field Club Volume 5

Page 277 On the Early Occupation of the Cotteswold Hills by Man. By G. F. Playne. Bead at Williton, October 5th, 1870.