Samuel Carrington 1852

Samuel Carrington 1852 is in Ten Years' Digging.

Barrows, Mostly In Staffordshire, Opened By Mr. Carrington In 1852.

Books, Prehistory, Ten Years' Digging, Samuel Carrington 1852, Bitchin Hill

On the 4th and 6th of June we re-opened a barrow [Beechen Hill Barrow 1 [Map] or Beechen Hill Barrow 2 [Map]] at Bitchin Hill Harbour [Map], which had been partially excavated on the 8th of July, 1845. The present operations were directed to the south-east side, where, at the depth of about a foot from the surface, we found the contracted skeleton of a young person, lying on its right side^ and having a small vase, 6½ inches high simply ornamented, standing upright at the feet — a very imusual position in this part of the country, as the vessels are almost always placed near the upper part of the person. The vase was guarded by a flat stone, a foot square, set up by its side. A similar stone was set on edge by the skeleton, which was embedded in rats' bones, and was much decayed. About a handful of burnt bones was found at no great distance from it. More to the east we found the skeleton of an adult^ wanting the head, although the bones had not been disturbed; it lay in the usual contracted posture, with the shoulders towards the head of the other skeleton, and was accompanied by a boar's tusk of small size only. Amongst other animal remains observed in the barrow were bones of the polecat (Mustela Putorius, Linn.). It will be remarked that headless skeletons are not very unusual in tumuli in this part of England.

On the 5th of June we examined a mound [Bunster Hill Barrow [Map]] on Bunster Hill, by Dovedale, which, from being raised on a natural prominence, is very conspicuous. Its actual diameter is twenty-five yards, the height two feet. A road has been cut through the north-east side, without, however, injuring the centre; yet we were unsuccessful in finding any interment, although we made five parallel trenches, each five yards long, through the principal part of the tumulus, without seeing more than a little charcoal about the middle.

On the 29th of July, a barrow near Blore, in a field adjoining the Ashbourne road, was opened. Its diameter was twenty-six yards, and its height two feet six inches in the middle, through which we made a section, eight yards long and five feet wide, finding the material to be earth, slightly mixed with charcoal. At the south end of the trench we found a few calcined bones, lying together, about a foot beneath the surface, with a fragment of firmly-baked pottery at no great distance. We next dug a parallel trench at the north-west side, but found nothing, the mound being there wholly of earth. The opposite side of the tumulus being chiefly of stone, we were induced to make a large excavation, which, after all, produced only a few flakes of flint, and a shred of the glazed coraline pottery known as "Samianware."

Books, Prehistory, Ten Years' Digging, Samuel Carrington 1852, Throwley

On the 30th and 31st of July we re-opened the barrow on Arbor Hill [Arbor Hill Barrow [Map]], first investigated by us on the 20th of May, 1858, when we limited the search to the centre. On the present occaslion we began by sinking through the north-east side, which being done to the depth of six feet without affording anything of interest, we then undercut the side nearest the middle of the barrow, where the stones were larger and more open, and soon discovered a skeleton, accompanied by a deposit of calcined bones, laid without protection about a yard below the turf. The skull shows the individual to have been young, and the following articles were placed on a flat stone near the skeleton — a barbed arrow-head with a serrated edge, and a prism-shaped instrument of burnt flint, the latter polished; a small flat piece of wrought bone, that may have been part of a larger implement; and the root end of a horn of the red deer, which has been obliquely broken, and measures about nine inches in length. We examined the contrary side on the 31st of July, and found In the earth a very compact mass of black ashes, having amongst them part of a coarse um, in small pieces, accompanied by a few burnt bones and one flake of flint. Chippings of the same and pieces of firmly-baked pottery were found during the two days' excavation.

Books, Prehistory, Ten Years' Digging, Samuel Carrington 1852, Stanshope

On the 31st of August we opened a barrow near Stanshope, about 300 yards from Longlow, which covers a considerable surface, the boundary of which is ill-defined. We began by digging a wide trench from the south-west side, through earth mixed with stones, until we came to a well-built wall of flat stones, that presented so regular a front to the exterior of the moimd that we at first mistook it for a cist. The excavation was continued straight forward for eight yards, and was then turned round so as to form another parallel trench. As far as we uncovered the level on which the barrow was raised there was no indication of interment, though a pavement of flat stones had been carefuly laid down, on which was reared the core or nucleus of the moimd, composed of flat stones, placed on edge, with an inclination towards the centre. Above these the material, consisting of earth and stone, was heaped up without care. Amongst the latter, and occurring from the top to about half way down, we found number of rats' bones, pieces of human skull, and other bones (some calcined); fragments of two or three urns, including one of very hard black ware, and another of red pottery; two small pieces of bronze, ¥rarped bj heat; an iron awl, three inches long, which has been fixed in a wooden handle, like many others that we have found in the tumuli; and a piece of a very thick cup or bason of green glass, in an iridescent state, like the Saxon tumbler found at Cow Low in 1846 (Vestiges, p. 94), here reproduced.

In addition to these we gathered some pieces of unglazed pottery, medieval in appearance whence we conclude that the barrow was previously disturbed at what has now become an ancient period, perhaps by those in search of beads or stones to decorate objects of ecclesiastical display, as was frequently the case. An ivory diptych, of the eighth or ninth century, in the collection at Lomberdale, is surrounded by metal work of the thirteenth, enclosing several Roman gems, and a number of amethyst beads, precisely like a necklace engraved in Akerman's (age 54) "Pagan Saxondom," page 5, which are most probably the plunder of a Saxon or Frankish barrow.

On the 10th of September we opened the gravehill of a Saxon lady, at Wyaston, Derbyshire, the diameter of which is thirteen yards and the central height four feet; it is entirely of earth, overlaid with a few pebbles on the surface. We began by cutting from the south side to the middle, where was no indication of interment, either upon or below the natural level; but it was seen that a grave had been made on the east side of our trench, where from the surface to the depth of two feet the earth was much darker than in other parts of the mound. Bj digging in the direction thus indicated, we had the good fortune to discover the remains of a human skeleton, consisting merely of the enamel crowns of the teeth, which, though themselves but scanty mementos of female loveliness, were accompanied by several articles indicating that the deceased was not unaccustomed to add the ornaments of dress to the charms of nature. These comprise a handsome necklace of twenty-seven beads, a silver finger ring, silver earrings, and a circular brooch or fibula. Five of the beads are of amber, carefully rounded into a globular shape, the largest an inch diameter; the remaining twenty-two (two of which are broken) are mostly small, and made of porcelain or opaque glasS| very prettily variegated with blue, yellow, or red, on a white or red ground. The finger ring is made of thick silver wire, twisted into an ornamental knot at the junction of the ends. The earrings are too slight and fragmentary for description. The fibula is a circular ring, ribbed on the front, an inch and a half diameter, composed of a doubtful substance. The remains of the teeth show the person to have been rather youthful, and afford another instance of the extreme decay of the skeleton usual in Saxon deposits in this part of the country, whilst those which we have reason to reckon centuries more ancient are mostly well preserved.

A smaller barrow, at a short distance, was opened immediately afler, affording nothing. It was composed of thin layers of differently coloured earth, amongst which dark brown, approacliing to black, predominated.