Books, Prehistory, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire, Section I Tumuli 1845
Section I Tumuli 1845 is in Section I Tumuli.
Section I Barrows Opened by Mr Thomas Bateman (age 23) in 1845.
The first barrow [Map] opened this season was a small one situate near Hunter-mere, on Ashford Moor, which was (on the 23d of April, 1845) divided into four sections, in order to leave no part of it unexplored; it was formed with great exactness having a slight ditch or depression surrounding the base and although so perfect and uninjured in its appearance it was found upon examination to have been previously explored; owing to this circumstance the contents were uninteresting; near the surface was found a small iron arrow-head probably of much later date than the original interments, of which the remains in the shape of small pieces of bone were found promiscuously in the tumulus. In the same manner were found five instruments of flint of no particular interest, sundry chippings of the same, a piece of smoothly-rubbed sandstone, and rats' bones as usual; on the surface of the natural soil there was a small quantity of charcoal strewed about.
On the 25th of April, 1845, in the forenoon, was opened a small barrow, called Stoney Lowe [Map], situate upon the more elevated portion of the Cold Eaton Farm, near Biggin [Map]. It was like most of the smaller barrows, composed of nearly equal proportions of earth and small stones; amongst the latter were many pieces of sandstone, which must have been conveyed for the purpose of constructing the mound from a considerable distance, as no rock of the same description of stone is known to exist in the neighbourhood of the tumulus. About the centre of the barrow several very large limestones were found lying upon the level of the natural soil, which in other parts of the barrow had not been disturbed; but upon removing the stones, the contrary was found to be the case in the centre, as about three feet beneath them a cist was discovered, sunk in the ground, and lined with thin flat limestones, placed edgeways; at each end of the cist were considerable remains of decayed wood, whilst instead of the expected interment in the middle was found an iron dagger, to which a knife of the same metal was attached, by the incrustation of rust in which they were enveloped, and which retained a very distinct impression of linen cloth, in which they appeared to have been folded. In one comer of the cist was a small heap of pure charcoal, unmixed with any other substance, and in another comer was one small piece of bone, apparently from some large bird, which was the only relic of organic life found in this tumulus, which, despite of this very unusual circumstance, had certainly never been before investigated.
In the afternoon of the same day a far more interesting barrow was opened, the name of which is Green Lowe [Map]. It is situated upon the tract of land known as Alsop Moor which has since proved very productive of ancient British remains. This tumulus had been heaped over a rocky and unequal surface, in which a hole had been cut in order to serve the purpose of a cist. In removing the upper portion of the barrow a few human bones, horses' teeth, and rats' bones were discovered, and on clearing out the soil with which the cist was filled, the skeleton of a man in the prime of life was laid bare; his knees were contracted and drawn up until they nearly approached the head; and immediately in the rear of the shoulders were placed an elegant and most elaborately-ornamented drinking-cup, a piece of spherical pyrites, or iron ore, before alluded to as being an occasional ornament of the Britons, a flint instrument of the circular-headed form, and a splendid flint dagger; a little lower down the back of the skeleton there lay three beautifully-chipped and barbed arrow-heads of flinty seven other instruments of the same material but of inferior workmanship and three instruments made from the ribs of some animal neatly rounded at each end and much like a mesh-rule for nettings or perhaps used as modelling tools in the construction of urns. Still lower down, close to the pelvis, lay the remains of an infant; across the pelvis lay a bone pin, made from the leg of a small deer, which had probably been used to secure the folds of some vestments in which the body had been enveloped previous to its interment. The contents of this barrow are highly interesting, as they present a striking degree of similarity to the contents of barrows discovered in Wiltshire, particularly to the relics engraved in plate 18, vol. i of Sir Richard Hoare's work. The drinking-cup there figured bears a characteristic resemblance to the one here discovered, which is quite different to any heretofore found in Derbyshire; indeed, had railways then existed, and communication with distant places been as easy as at the present day, we should have attributed both vessels to one designer and manufacture. All the flints here discovered had undergone the action of fire, and present a spotless white, which materially improves their appearance.
About half a mile from the village of Sheldon are two large barrows, placed about three hundred yards distance from each other, both of which were opened on the 6th of May, 1845. On cutting into the first tumulus [Map], which was the one nearest the village, it was found to have been previously examined, no undisturbed deposit or interment having been met with. The following articles were found promiscuously mingled with the earth and stones in the interior of the tumulus: fragments of two urns, a few burnt bones and charcoal, a skeleton pretty nearly complete, a few bones of a young person, bones of rats, polecats, and other animals, and chippings of a coarse kind of flint, none of which were of any marked or characteristic shape.
The second barrow [Map], which was much lower than the former, was untouched by any previous seekers of antiquities; yet having cleared the superincumbent strata from the floor of the barrow, nothing was discovered to repay the labour, until, on a close examination of the rock which appeared above the surface of the ground a circular excavation was perceived about the centre of the barrow which contained a large urn the upper part of which is ornamented, inverted over a deposit of burnt human bones, which, when viewed through a hole in the urn, presented a pleasing sight, being quite free from soil, and beautifully variegated with tints of blue and purple, from the action of heat. The urn is about thirteen inches in diameter, and fitted exactly the excavation made to receive it. In this barrow, as in the preceding, large quantities of rats' bones and chippings of coarse flint or chert were found.
On the 12th of May, 1845, was opened a very large cairn, or stony barrow, called Brier Lowe [Map], near Buxton; it was about six feet in central elevation, and about twenty yards in diameter. On approaching the centre, upon the level of the natural surface, it was found to be covered with rats' bones, amongst which were some small pieces of an urn, and some burnt human bones, which had doubtless been disturbed upon the occasion of the interment of a body, which was discovered in the middle of the barrow. This skeleton was laid upon some flat limestones, placed on the natural ground, with its head towards the south, and its knees contracted; it was very large and strong, and was accompanied by a bronze dagger, in excellent preservation, with three rivets remaining which had attached the handle: this fine instrument lay close to the middle of the left upper arm, and is the first of the kind ever found in Derbyshire. The skeleton was surrounded with a multitude of rats' bones, the remains of animals which had in former times feasted upon the carcass of the defunct warrior, which fact was satisfactorily proved by the gnawed appearance of the various bones, and from the circumstance of several of the smaller ones having been dragged under the large flat stones upon which the body lay, and which could not by any other means have got into that situation. This barrow is extremely interesting, as having produced conclusive evidence regarding the "quæstio vexata" of the cause of the perpetual occurrence of rats' bones in barrows in various places, which are the remains of generations of those unpleasant quadrupeds which have burrowed into the tumuli, in all probability to devour the bodies therein interred.
On the 15th of May, 1845, four barrows, [Note. These barrows have been consumed by Hillhead and Hind Low Quarries] situated at short distances from each other upon a tract of land denominated Hind Lowe, distant about a mile from the village of Church Sterndale, were examined. The first barrow opened was the smallest and the most perfect in appearance. On digging down the centre, part of a rude urn was found immediately beneath the surface of the barrow; a little lower down was a small square cist, formed of four flat limestones, placed on an edge, and covered with a similar stone, which contained the skeleton of an infant. Below this were found the remains of three more infants, part of the skeleton of an adult, a calcined flint arrow-head, various animal teeth, and many rats' bones. The second barrow had, at some former period, been almost entirely removed, a small portion round the outside of the circle, distinctly showing the former size of the mound, being all which now remains. Into this two small excavations were made, which produced numerous human teeth and bones, a small piece of an urn, a flint saw, and a spear-head of the same material, both of them calcined, and the usual adjunct of rats' bones.
The third barrow is about fifteen yards in diameter and four feet in height, and is formed of loose stones, with a slight admixture of soil. A cutting was made through the centre, without the effect of discovering the primary interment. Probably the labourers (being left to themselves) were not sufficiently carefull in their researches, and overlooked it. On this account, nothing of the slightest interest occurred, all that was found being the bones of two human skeletons, animal bones, and the remains of rats, in a confused heap just beneath the turf.
The fourth is a very large, stony tumulus, or cairn, owing to which and to want of time, it was by no means satisfactorily examined. Nevertheless, an excavation was made, ten feet in length and six feet in width, through the centre of the barrow, and continued downwards until the solid rock was reached, without finding any interment, the only articles found being some small pieces of an urn, human bones, both burnt and unburnt, bones of deer and rats, and a small bit of thin brass, of indefinite form, and probably of no great antiquity. The original interment is most probably still lying undisturbed in some part of the area of this huge barrow but certainly not in the centre. Owing to the shortness of time allowed by the length of the day after the opening of the other three tumuli, nothing decisive could be ascertained, except a conviction of the impolicy of attempting to explore so many barrows in one day.
On the 21st of May, 1845, was opened a barrow called Carder Lowe [Map], near Hartington, which is about fourteen yards in diameter, and, owing to the former removal of its summit, is not more than two feet in average elevation. In the process of excavation about eighty quartz pebbles and several instruments of flint were found, amongst the latter a very neatly-formed barbed arrow-head. These articles were possibly cast into the mound during its construction by mourners and friends of the deceased, as tokens of respect. In addition to these were a few pieces of a coarse urn, curiously ornamented.
About the centre was found the skeleton of the chiefs over whom the barrow had been at first raised. He lay upon the right side, with the head towards the east, and the legs contracted very slightly; at his elbow lay a splendid brass or bronze dagger, in a good state of preservation. It has three large rivets remaining, which had securely attached the handle, which was still easily traceable by the wood of which it had been composed having decayed into a black mould, which contrasted strongly with the light-coloured, clayey soil in which the body was imbedded. A few inches lower down was placed a beautiful axe- or hammer-head of light-coloured basalt of much smaller size than usual, and which was originally nicely polished. Close to the head was found a small piece of calcined flint, of no apparent design or form. The skeleton was surrounded with rats' bones, the undoubted remains of those four-footed cannibals who had preyed upon the body, and had endeavoured to devour the bones of this ancient British chief, many of the latter were half-eaten away. Rather nearer to the south side of the barrow, and on a higher level, another interment was discovered, which consisted of a skeleton of mighty size, the femur or thigh-bone measuring twenty-three inches in length, which would give a height to the owner, when alive, of six feet, eight or ten inches. Along with this lengthy individual, an iron knife and three hones of sandstone were deposited; also a few pieces of calcined bone. This was evidently a secondary interment, of later date than the one previously described, which was undoubtedly the original one.
The 23d of May, 1845, is an important day in the annals of barrow-digging in Derbyshire, as on that day was made the discovery, so long a desideratum, of the original interment in the large tumulus [Map], which forms one side of the southern entrance to the temple of Arbor Lowe [Map], and which had been unsuccessfully attempted on previous occasions by three parties of antiquaries: first, about 1770, by the occupier of the land whereon the temple is situated; secondly, in 1783, by the celebrated archaeologist. Major Rooke (see p. 31, 1st Jun 1824), who laboured with no effect for three days; and thirdly, on the 1st and 2d of June, 1824, by Mr. Samuel Mitchell (age 42) and Mr. William Bateman, who succeeded no better (see p. 31). But, to return to the narrative. Operations were commenced on the day before mentioned, by cutting across the barrow from the south side towards the centre. A shoulder-blade and an antler of the large red deer were found in this excavation, which also produced an average quantity of rats' bones. On reaching the highest part of the tumulus, which owing to the soil and stones removed in the former excavations, is not in the centre, but more to the south, and is elevated about four yards above the natural soil, a large, flat stone was discovered, about five feet in length by three feet in width, lying in a horizontal position, about eighteen inches higher than the natural floor. This stone being cleared and carefully removed, exposed to view a small six-sided cist, constructed by ten limestones, placed on one end, and having a floor of three similar stones, neatly jointed. It was quite free from soil, the cover having most effectually protected the contents, which were a quantity of calcined human bones, strewed about the floor of the cist, all which were carefully picked up, and amongst them were found a rude kidney-shaped instrument of flint, a pin made from the leg-bone of a small deer, and a piece of spherical iron pyrites.
At the west end of the cist were two urns of coarse clay, each of which was ornamented in a peculiar and widely dissimilar manner. The larger one had fallen to pieces from the effects of time and damp, but has since been restored, and is a very elegant vase; the smaller was taken out quite perfect, and is of much ruder design and workmanship. In addition to these urns, one piece of the ornamented upper edge of another, quite distinct from either of them, was found. The floor of the cist was laid upon the natural soil and the cist was strewed with rats' bones, both within and without.
The first tumulus opened this year in Staffordshire was a barrow [Note. Possibly Wetton aka Taylor's Low [Map] but it is less than half a mile from Wetton.] about a mile from Wetton, commonly known as Taylor's Lowe and it furnished the subject of the frontispiece of "Barrow-digging, by a Barrow-knight" which is a faithful delineation of the scene on the 28th of May, 1845. About two feet from the surface of the barrow was a cist, formed of thin, flat limestones, containing the skeleton of a young person, probably a female, the knees, as is frequently the case in the more ancient barrows, being contracted. About eighteen inches from the surface, on the north side of the tumulus, was another skeleton; deeper down a small octagonal cist, containing a simple deposit of burnt human bones, was erected over a human skeleton, which lay in a large square cist, cut in the rock, thus presenting the anomalous appearance of a cist within a cist. There was nothing found with any of these interments; a few flint instruments and a small piece of an urn only occurring promiscuously. The most remarkable circumstance attending this barrow was, that although each skeleton was quite undisturbed, yet all the heads which lay towards the interior of the mound had been destroyed, by the central part of the tumulus having been some years ago removed, in order form a limekiln.
On the afternoon of the same day, a barrow [Map] at New Inns was opened; it is situated upon a ridge of high ground immediately overlooking the secluded hamlet of Alsop-in-the-Dale [Map]. The centre of the tumulus being reached, the original interment was discovered lying upon the rocky floor, upon its left side, with the knees contracted, and the face towards the south, without being inclosed in any kind of cist or vault; close to the back of the head was a beautiful brass dagger of the usual form, but with smaller rivets than common, which the appearance of the surrounding mould denoted to have been buried in a wooden sheath; about the knees two small brass rivets were found entirely unconnected, and as on a strict scrutiny nothing else was discovered, it is most probable that they had riveted some article of perishable material, wood for instance which had so completely decayed as to leave no trace. In the course of this excavation were found part of another haman skeleton, some animal teeth, and two instruments of flint, which had all been previously disturbed.
On the 30th of May 1845 a small barrow [Map], merely called the Lowe [Map], its prenomen being lost, was opened. It is situated upon a rocky ridge of land which overlooks the valley of Alsop-in-the-Dale, and is in the immediate vicinity of a previously-opened tumulus (12th of August, 1844), and had been previously ovooked on account of its very slight elevation, which in no part was more than one foot above the natural surface. In the centre was found a small cist, or round hole, about a foot deep, which was artificially sunk in the rock; it contained a small quantity of calcined bones, which probably constituted the original deposit in this barrow. A little more towards the south side of the tumulus was extended at foil length a human skeleton, which lay upon its back, with the head towards the west, with which the following articles were found: close to the left side of the pelvis lay the iron umbo of a shield, a little higher up the body was a broad-headed iron rivet, which, from the appearance it presented, had evidently been riveted through a piece of wood, covered with a thin plate of brass or bronze; near the neck was a thin flat piece of iron; all these articles were most likely component parts of the shield, and had been distributed by the action of the plough when the land was taken into cultivation. The most extraordinary circumstance connected with this interment was, that in the left hand of the skeleton there remained a common round quartz pebble, which, from the position of the finger-bones, it was clear had been placed within the hand at the time of burial; pebbles of this description are very frequently found in barrows, but very seldom in a definite position as in this instance.
02 Jun 1845. On the 2d of June, 1845, was opened a large and well-known barrow called Moot Lowe [Map], which is situate about half way between Alsop Moor and Dovedale; it is a large tumulus, about thirty yards in diameter, and about four feet in height, being perfectly level on the top, which is planted with large trees. On digging through the centre a large cist was discovered which was cut in the rock, having, on account of the dip of the strata, a sloping floor; at the west end of the cist and upon the lowest part of the slanting floor lay the skeleton of a middle-sized man, whose legs were drawn up; near his head lay a fine bronze celt of novel form; it was placed in a line with the body, with its edge upwards. The lower jaw of a small pig was also found close to the skeleton. At the other extremity of the cist, which was near five yards from the situation of the last-described interment, were found the skeleton either of a female or young person, and a few burnt bones, which had been disturbed and thrown together in a heap at some remote period, as the overlying soil was as firm aud solid as in any other part of the tumulus. During the progress of the excavation there occurred part of the antler of a deer, some horses' teeth, and their usual concomitant, rats' bones.
On the 4th of June, 1845, another large flat barrow was opened, which is situated upon the level summit of a hill upon Alsop Moor, known by the name of Net Lowe Hill [Map]. This barrow is about twenty-five yards in diameter, and not more than two feet in height; it was opened by cutting through it in different directions, so as to divide it into quarters. In each of these trenches, on approaching the centre, were found horses' teeth and an abundance of rats' bones; and in one of them a small piece of a coarse urn. In the centre of the tumulus was found a skeleton extended on its back at full length, and lying on a rather higher level than the surface of the natural soil; close to the right arm lay a large dagger of brass (broken in two by the weight of the superincumbent stones), with the decorations of its handle consisting of thirty rivets, and two pins of brass. In vol. i, plate 23, of Sir Richard Hoare's "Ancient Wiltshire" a dagger is engraved of a precisely similar character the number of rivets or studs and pins being exactly the same; close to this dagger were two highly-polished ornaments made from a kind of bituminous shale known in the south of England as Kimmeridge coal and equally well known to the archaeologist as the material of the coal money and of many other ancient British ornaments. Those in question are circular and moulded round the edges having a round elevation on the fronts to allow of two perforations which meet in an oblique direction on the back for the purpose of attaching the ornaments to some part of the dress or more probably to the dagger-belt of the chief with whose remains they were interred. In vol. 1, plate 34, of Sir Richard Hoare's book a similar ornament of jet is engraved, which is smaller, and does seem to have a moulding round the edge. It is a singular fact that, although the skeleton had evidently been never previously disturbed, the lower jaw lay at the feet of the body. Along with the above-mentioned articles were numerous fragments of calcined flint, and amongst the soil of the barrow were two rude instruments of the same.
On the 7th of June 1845, was opened a large barrow near Wetton in Staffordshire, situated upon a piece of ground called the Three Lowes [Three Lows Barrow 1 [Map], Three Lows Barrow 2 [Map] or Three Lows Barrow 3 [Map]], which, as its name would signify, no doubt contains that number of tumuli; indeed there is a small one within fifty yards of the one now about to be described. In the centre was a cist, about eighteen inches deep, cut in the natural rock, which, the height of the barrow being included, was about five feet from the surface; in this cist was a human skeleton, which had evidently been interred in a sitting position, and whose left arm had been broken, and the bones united again in a very crooked form. By the side of this skeleton was a coarse urn in a very decayed state, having never been properly baked; dose to this nm lay a deposit of calcined human bones, amongst which was an instrument of flint, also burnt; a few inches above the cist, part of another urn, enriched with a lozenge-shaped ornament, and part of another human skull were found. In another part of the interior of the barrow were the remains of a large fire covering the floor for a considerable space; amongst which were many imperfectly burnt human bones, which had never been collected together, but had been left amongst the charcoal; upon this stratum of bones and ashes was laid the skeleton of a young person, aged about fourteen, with whom a rude arrow-head of flint was deposited; about six inches above this skeleton was another, which was that of an infant. In another part of this tumulus there was an adult skeleton, which had been previously disturbed; in various situations in the barrow, but more especially towards the outer part of the circle, were portions of red deer's horns and in one instance a perfect pair was found, which it was impossible to preserve complete, on account of their advanced state of decomposition; with them three flint arrow-heads of the rudest form were found, and in the immediate neighbourhood bones of dogs and rats; near the surface in the centre were collected remains of three ornamented urns, or drinking-cups, which had been destroyed by some former excavators, most probably lead miners, who had dug into this tumulus from a mistaken notion of its origin.
June the 9th, 1845, another small barrow in Painstor, upon Alsop Moor was opened, it proved to have been before examined, and its contents removed or destroyed; thus nothing was found on this occasion more interesting than the remains of two human skeletons, and some fragments of an urn of coarse red ware.
The afternoon of the same day was occupied in opening a barrow at Bostom [Map], near Dovedale. In the centre of this tumulus was a very large cist, the sides of which were formed of limestones, standing edgeways upon the rock, which served for the floor, whilst the cover was made by several large and heavy stones lying upon the upper edges of the side stones; nevertheless the cist when opened was found to be full of fine soil which being removed presented the following results: the most ancient interment was the skeleton of a man whose knees were contracted, accompanied by two rude instruments of flint; he lay upon the rocky floor at the extremity of the cist. About one yard distant from this interment and in the centre of the cist was a small hexagonal cist, containing a deposit of calcined human bones; these interments were both upon the floor of the cist and were of higher antiquity than those about to be described, though it is by no means clear that the former were deposited at the same time. On a higher level, within the cist, were two more human skeletons, in a fine and perfect state of preservation, one of which lay with its knees contracted, immediately above the small cist containing the burnt bones; the other, which was the skeleton of a female, lay in a similar position, midway between the small dst and the first-mentioned interment, at the extremity of the vault, but, as before stated, on a higher level. It is both remarkable and worthy of notice, that the female skeleton was without head, though undisturbed and perfect in every other respect, none even of the most minute bones being deficient. Neither of the two later interments was enriched by urns or ornaments, and nothing else was found but pieces of stags' horns and animal teeth. The rats' bones in this barrow were both numerous and in excellent preservation, their skulls being perfect, which is not usually the case.
On the 11th of June, 1845, a previously-removed barrow, upon Alsop Moor, was excavated. This step was caused by its deceptive appearance, the circular form being retained, owing to its having been raised upon a rocky knoll; consequently nothing of interest was discovered, but some pieces of human skull and the rats' bones, as usual, were found, which clearly proved the sepulchral intention of the mound.
A discovery, made in the month of June, 1845, of a large urn inverted over a deposit of calcined human bones, at the outer edge of a small barrow [Map] upon Harthill Moor, which was undergoing a process of demolition, in order that the land might he brought into cultivation, coupled with a knowledge of the very productive character of that neighbourhood in matters of antiquity led to a successful search for the whole contents of the barrow on the 12th of June. The elevation of the tumulus above the surrounding land was so slight as to be scarcely perceptible; and had it not been for the accidental discovery of the large urn, the other interesting remains would have probably remained in obscurity. But to return to facts: the remains of the large urn and its contents being carefully collected, it was found to be of very coarse material, and singular workmanship, presenting a strong contrast to the remains of two elaborately-ornamented and really elegant urns, which were found on cutting a short distance into the mound, lying amongst a confused stratum of calcined bones. On arriving at the centre of the tumulus, a very large sandstone was perceived, on the south side of the excavation, which was at first supposed to be a rock. Close to the edge of this stone was found an interment of calcined bones, accompanied by two broken incense cups, of novel form and very superior workmanship, and on examining the bones two rude instruments of flint were discovered amongst them. On clearing away the earth from the side of the large stone, the upper edge of one of smaller dimensions was perceived, which proved to be one side of a very perfect cist, measuring from the floor to the under side of the cover three feet from end to end four feet six inches and about three feet in width; the immense stone which formed the cover was about two feet in thickness and about seven feet square on an average. This cist, divested of the surrounding earth, would present to view the erection usually denominated a cromlech. It was found to be almost entirely full of fine and beautifully clear sand, amongst which were large quantities of calcined human bones, some small pieces of an urn, and upon its floor were very evident remains of heath. (A correct view of this cist, as it appeared when opened, forms the vignette in the title-page of "Barrow-digging by a Barrow-knight," 1845.)
On the 14th of June, 1845, at a very short distance from the preceding barrow, another small cist was discovered, at a short distance beneath the surface, measuring two feet in length, about one foot in width, thus forming a perfect parallelogram. It was found to contain a large quantity of human bones, which had undergone cremation, and a few pieces of pottery, one of which formed part of the edge of the large urn which is mentioned in the preceding account as having led to the discovery of the others. No other antiquities were found, although the excavation was continued for a considerable extent in the immediate neighbourhood.
Also on the 14th of June, 1845, was opened, at Castern [Map], about a mile and a half distant from Wetton, a large barrow, measuring about thirty-five yards in diameter, and from four to five feet in height. About four yards from the centre, on the south side of the mound, a small square cist, constructed of thin limestones, was discovered. It contained the skeleton of an infant, which lay amongst the mould in the upper part of the vault; whilst upon the floor of the cist was a deposit of calcined human bones, accompanied by two bone pins, also burnt, one of which is perforated with an eye, and a fine spear-head of flint, with a small arrow-head of the same material. On the natural level, in the centre of the tumulus, lay the skeleton of a female with the knees contracted, completely imbedded in rats' bones, amongst which was found the upper mandible of the beak of a species of hawk. In a deep cist, cut in the rock, beneath the last-named skeleton was another interment evidently the skeleton of a man who had been buried in a sitting posture with whom was deposited part of a flint spear-head. In other parts of this tumulus were found portions of skeletons pertaining to two children and one full-grown person; the various bones of two human feet in a perfect and undisturbed state pieces of stag's horn, horses' teeth, a small whetstone, a large piece of rubbed sandstone, a circular instrument, and various chippings of flint, and the handle of a knife, composed of stag's horn, riveted upon the steel in the modern way; nevertheless it must be of considerable antiquity, being found eighteen inches deep in the barrow, and where the soil was as solid as though it had never been removed. Still its high antiquity is doubtful, though some future discovery may decide the question favorably. In Douglas's 'Nenia Britannica,' plate 19, fig. 4, one very similar is figured, which is of undoubted antiquity, having been found with the interment in one of the barrows upon Chartham Downs, in Kent.
On the 16th of June, 1845, the researches at Arbor Lowe were resumed, by cutting through the part of the tumulus [Map] still remaining unexplored. But as nothing more than a few pieces of stag's horn were found, it is reasonable to suppose that the cist and urns previously discovered formed the primary and only interment in this immense and (from its connexion with the druidical temple) most important barrow.
On the 19th of June, 1845, a very interesting barrow, called Stand Lowe [Map], was opened, which is situated upon an elevation, opposite to Moot Lowe [Map], on the other side of the Dovedale road. On digging towards the centre of the barrow, numerous chippings of flint were found, amongst which were six rude instruments, mostly calcined, one of which had been used as a saw, and is very curious; about the same place was found a broken whetstone. The centre being gained, an iron knife was found, of the kind attributed to the Saxons by the modem school of antiquaries, which was immediately followed by a bronze box, of a circular form and much decayed, ornamented by rows of little indented dots, and having a moveable handle, wrought into the form of a serpent's head, the eye being perforated through for convenience of suspension the hinge of the lid is very perfect, and of workmanship which would not disgrace a Birmingham artisan of the present day; near this box lay a small knife which appears to have been protected by an iron sheath, two bronze rings, which had evidently been used as buckles or fibulae, and some other articles of iron, which bear evident marks of having been folded in linen, and are now so shapeless from the effects of rust, that it is difficult to assign a use for them. About the same place was found a small piece of a ribbed vessel of thin yellow glass. There being no indications of bone, or change of colour in the soil, the scrupulous care, so necessary on these occasions, was not used; consequently, the hack was struck amongst a quantity of glass-beads, fortunately, one only was broken; on examination were found eleven glass beads of various shapes and sizes, three of which are remarkably variegated; a bead made of silver wire twisted in a spiral form, and diminishing in the size of the whorls each way from the centre; and a silver needle, with a curiously-formed eye. Amongst the beads were picked up the remains of twenty-six human teeth, consisting merely of the enamel or crown of the tooth; which, owing to some cause perhaps the nature of the soil were the only vestiges of the primeval beauty over whose mouldering remains this barrow had been raised by the hand of affection. At the time of interment the beads were doubtless placed round the neck and from the position of the box, knives, and rings, it is equally evident that they lay on the left side of the body. In Douglas's "Nenia Britannica," plate 18, page 72, a somewhat similar box, containing thread, and a similar needle are figured, which were found in a barrow at Sibertswold, in Kent, opened by Dr. Faussett, about the year 1767. The fact of finding instruments of flint with an interment of this comparatively modem description is rather remarkable, but not by any means unprecedented.
On the 21st of June, 1845, an attempt was made to open a large barrow near Alstonefield, Staffordshire, called Steep Lowe, measuring about fifty yards in diameter, and about fifteen feet in central elevation which is constructed almost entirely of loose stones. It was found, on reaching the place, that some of the neighbouring villagers had already, in a vain search after imaginary treasure, found near the apex of the mound, the body of a Romanized Briton, extended on its back, accompanied by an iron spear-head, a lance-head and knife of the same, placed near the head, and three Roman coins, in third brass, namely; one of Constantine the Greats one of Tetricos, the other illegible firom the friction of sand-paper applied by the finder, in the delusive hope of making evident its golden character. They also found some pieces of a highly-ornamented drinking-cup, a curious piece of iron ore, and various animal bones, amongst others, horses' teeth, and rats' bones. All the antiquities discovered by these enterprising individuals were ceded to the writer, on their being reimbursed for their labour and loss of time. On continuing the excavation, there was discovered close to where the spears were found a small stud or circular ornament of copal amber, perforated with a double hole at the back for attachment, in a similar manner to the two ornaments found on Alsop Moor on the 4th of June. In the opposite direction was found a large plain urn of globular form, with four holes through the upper edge, containing a deposit of burnt human bones, two quartz pebbles, and a piece of flint; it was not more than one foot six inches beneath the surface. An attempt was made to penetrate to the floor of the barrow, but owing to the great depth, and the loose nature of the stones, of which the mound is composed, it was found advisable to desist, on account of the hazardous nature of the undertaking, when the excavation had reached the depth of about six feet. It is evident that there yet remains the original interment, and it is by no means unlikely that there may be many more in the interior of the tumulus, which could not be thoroughly examined without a great deal of time and labour being expended.
On the same day, another small barrow [Note. Either Gratton Hill Barrow [Map] or Gratton Low Barrow [Map]] was opened which is situate upon a mountain called Gratton Hill, about half a mile from the preceding cairn. In the centre was found a cist cut in the rock, which contained a skeleton, accompanied by some fragments of a rudely-ornamented urn; on a rather higher level was a deposit of calcined human bones, amongst which were two arrow-heads of flint. Incidentally upon the floor of the cist were horses' teeth, the skull of a polecat, and an infinity of rats' bones. Near the surface of the barrow the remains of another human skeleton were found, which had been previously disturbed, and a small piece of brass, probably of much later date.
On the 26th of June, 1845 was opened a small barrow [Map] [Hollington Barn Barrow [Map]] situate upon Hollington pasture near Tissington. Its appearance was deceptive, owing to its being raised upon a natural elevation, and gave every indication on the outside of having been never disturbed, but, on removing the turf, it became apparent that most of the artificial part of the mound had been removed, and that the natural soil came to within a few inches of the surface; this being the case, it was evident that very little could be expected; indeed nothing was found more than a few pieces of human bones, one small bit of an urn, and various chippings of flint, sufficient, however, to prove the original funereal intention of the structure.
The afternoon of the same day was occupied in opening a much larger barrow [Map] [Bassett Wood Barrow [Map]] at Basset Wood, near Tissington, which (though seldom found to be the case in this county) was entirely formed of earth, and was as compact as though it had been a mound formed by nature, instead of a tumulus raised by the hands of the early inhabitants of these parts; owing to this appearance of the soil, attributable doubtless to the high antiquity of the structure, it was for some time considered doubtful whether it had ever been before disturbed, until the discovery of a regular floor of large limestones neatly jointed, set the question at rest. This floor was found to have been placed upon the level of the natural soil, to have been strewed with charcoal, and then to have been covered to a depth of six feet with the sepulchral mound, in the centre of which it was entombed. No remains being apparent upon the upper side of the floor, it was removed, and was found to cover a small round cist, about a foot in diameter, of the most primitive description, being nothing more than an excavation in the earth; it contained burnt bones, the remains of one person, and a good deal of charcoal. There were a few traces of animal remains a few inches above the limestone floor, but of such an indefinite nature, that it would have puzzled even Cuvier to have made anything intelligible of them, being no more than a lights coloured earth, amongst which the cellular structure of the interior of bones was apparent.
On the 28th of June, 1845, a small barrow upon the most exposed summit of Gratton Hill [Note. Either Gratton Low Barrow [Map] or Gratton Hill Barrow [Map]], near Wetton, Staffordshire, was the object of attention; the day was wet and cold, and the situation was one which afforded no shelter; yet there was a continued sequence of discoveries which kept up the excitement, and the inclemency of the weather was disregarded. The barrow was about six yards in diameter, and contained several interments, mostly approximating to each other, yet evidently undisturbed, which renders it extremely uncertain which was the primary or principal one; it will therefore be the most intelligible plan to describe them in the same order as they were brought to light in the progress of cutting through the centre of the barrow from the south to north; near the middle, about a foot above the floor of the tumulus, the skeleton of a female was found whose head lay northwards; immediately underneath this lady was a large urn, curiously ornamented, although the material was but coarse clay badly baked; it was inverted over a deposit of burnt human bones, carefully placed upon two thin slabs of limestone; amongst the bones a spear-head of calcined flint was found. About a yard further to the north, another ornamented urn was brought to view; it lay upon its side, and was crushed to pieces by the settling of the mound which inclosed it; around it were scattered numerous calcined human bones, probably once its cherished contents: during the process of disengaging the fragments of this urn from the earth with which they were surrounded, a skull was observed, which on examination was found to belong to a skeleton which lay on its left side, with the legs contracted, and the head nearest to the interior of the barrow. Close beneath the surface, on the eastern side of the mound, another ornamented urn was discovered, with a deposit of burnt bones similar to the others; from its superficial covering, and exposure near the surface, it was, as might be expected, much decayed and much broken, yet the zigzag ornament with which it had been adorned was very visible. With none of the above-named interments were weapons or ornaments discovered, if we except the calcined spear-head before mentioned. One small piece of a stag's hom and the usual rats' bones in abundance were noticed.
On the 2d of July, 1845, a barrow was opened, situated about midway between Wetton and Ham, Staffordshire, at about a distance of two hundred yards to the left of the road. This tumulus is near twenty yards in diameter at the base, its height could not accurately be ascertained, as a considerable portion of the summit had been removed for agricultural purposes, by which means two interments (the remains of which were on this occasion noticed) had been destroyed: one was that of an adult, the other a child, whose under jaw remained entire; amongst these debris were three instruments of flint, of no great interest; some fragments of an ornamented urn, and an iron pin, similar to the awl used by the saddlers of the nineteenth century. (One precisely similar found in a barrow on Middleton Moor, 1824.) This bespeaks one of the interments of a much later date than the primary one, which was discovered in a cist cut in the rock, at a depth of seven feet from the summit of the mound: it was doubtless an interment of a very remote age, not being accompanied by ornaments, or even the rude flint weapons of the hunter, to which profession it is highly probable the deceased belonged, as an interesting discovery was made of the skeleton of a dog, which lay at the feet of the skeleton of his former master, whose knees were drawn up according to the most primitive usage. This circumstance may claim an excuse for the introduction of the following lines, which are singularly appropriate, as man in a savage state, whether a native of one hemisphere or the other, is actuated by the same impulses, and is influenced by similar superstitions:
"Lo I the poor Indian, whose untutor'd mind Sees God in clouds, or hears him in the wind; His soul proud Science never taught to stray Far as the solar walk or Milky Way: Yet simple Nature to his hope has given Beyond the cloud-topp'd hill a humbler heaven, - Some safer world, in depths of woods unbraced, - Some happier island, in the watery waste. Where slaves once more their native land behold, No fiends torment, no Christians thirst for gold; But thinks, admitted to that equal sky. His faithful dog shall bear him company."
On the 5th of July, 1845, a large barrow [Map] [Newton Grange Barrow [Map]], about nine feet in height and forty yards in diameter, was examined; it is situated in a field called Gorsey Close, at Newton Grange, near Tissington, and is a conspicuous object on the left hand side of the road from Buxton to Ashbourne. The tumulus was found to consist of a mass of solid earthy without any admixture of stones and in this respect it closely resembled one opened at Bassett Wood [Map] on the 26th of June. The excavation was continued without success until the surface of the natural soil appeared nothing being discovered, save a few bits of oxydized iron of indefinite form, which were picked up about a yard below the surface of the tumulus. Notwithstanding this discouraging termination to the day's labour, the curious and entirely novel manner in which the barrow was constructed repaid the trouble of opening it. To the height of about four feet from the bottom the soil was interspersed with alternate layers of moss and grass, both of which in a great measure retained their original colour and texture; the number of these alternations was twelve, and upon the lowest one, which was upon the undisturbed surface of the ground, were many pieces of wood, hazlesticks still retaining their glossy bark, fungi, and "mirabile dictu" beetles, whose elytræ still shone with the metallic lustre usual to these insects. The proofs of ancient occupation were also found upon this level; these were several rude instruments of flint, one small piece of a coarse urn, and several pieces of charcoal; the imperishability of which was, in this case, rivalled by substances of the most fragile and evanescent nature.
On an elevated piece of ground, about midway between Wetton and Ilam, Staffordshire, known by the not very euphonious name of "Bitchinhill Harbour," [Note. Beechenhill [Map]] stand two small barrows, situated about three hundred yards apart, both of which were opened on the 8th of July, 1845. The one nearest the road [Possibly Beechen Hill Barrow 1 [Map]] was first explored, without much success, as it proved to have been rifled of its contents at some former period; still a square cist was visible in the centre into which the skeleton had been thrown by the former excavators; amongst the bones were found a few pieces of flint and part of a bone instrument, of no great interest. In another part of the tumulus a deposit of calcined bones was found; which, though lying close to the surface, had been overlooked by the previous explorers; amongst them were discovered three instruments of flint, of neat work-manship, and part of a stag's horn, which had been cut in various places, apparently by flint saws. In the course of the excavation a small fragment of earthenware (probably an urn) was picked up near the surface.
The second barrow [Note. Possibly Beechen Hill Barrow 2 [Map]] is on a much higher site than the preceding; but like it had not escaped previous observation the whole of the upper portion having been removed; nothing, therefore, could be expected to remain in its original situation in the interior. The following articles were discovered in the course of digging: the remains of a coarse and rudely-ornamented urn, with its deposit of burnt bones, which lay about a foot beneath the surface; a third brass coin of Constantino the Great, of an extremely common type, and some pieces of stag's horn, were found close under the turf.
The 12th of July, 1845, was devoted to the examination of a very large barrow [Map] [Note. Probably Ilam Tops Low [Map]] upon Ilam Moor, Staffordshire, which was found to be composed of alternate layers of earth and loose stones, some of considerable magnitude; these strata were clearly defined, there being no admixture of stone with the earthy layers, or of earth with the stony ones. At a distance of two yards from the centre, the cist, or vault, over which the mound had been originally piled, was discovered; it was excavated in a square form, about three feet deep in the solid rock, and was covered by several large blocks of stone, laid over the sides of the cist, the ends being raised, and meeting together so as to form a kind of cyclopean arch over the vault; these stones being removed, the cist was found to be filled with stones, amongst which were found the skull of a child, and a few scattered bones of a person of mature age; the floor of the cist was covered with a layer of charcoal, at least two inches in thickness, apparently produced from the combustion of oak timber; upon this stratum lay the head of a bull, un-burnt, and various other bones of the same animal, which were partially charred; near these, but not quite so low down, were the remains of two urns, one rudely, the other very neatly ornamented; a small brass pin pointed at each end; and a few bones of deer and dogs. Precisely in the centre of the tumulus, at about a yard from the surface, lay the skeleton of a dog, with which was a small chipping of flint; with this exception, nothing more was discovered in this very remarkable barrow, although no pains were spared in removing a large area of the artificial soil, until the rock came to view, upon which the whole fabric was raised. A somewhat similar instance of the discovery of a bulls head in a sepulchral cist is recorded as having been made in 1826 upon one of the cliffs at the bay of Worthbarrow, Dorsetshire, a place famed as the greatest depository in England for the well-known "Kimmeridge coal money" (See Miles's History of the Kimmeridge Coal Money, page 41.)
On the 16th of July, 1845, another small tumulus upon Ilam Moor, distant from the preceding one about a quarter of a mile was opened; this barrow was raised two feet higher than the surrounding land, and was found to cover a grave dug to the depth of four feet in the natural soil, which was roughly walled round in order to form the usual kistvaen, or stone chest; in this lay the original interment, a male skeleton placed upon its left side, with the legs drawn up close to the thigh-bones. As is frequently the case in these very early interments, the body was unaccompanied by either urn, weapon, or ornament; the only noticeable circumstance in this case was the great thickness of some of the bones. Near the surface of the barrow were two later interments, consisting of calcined bones; with one of these was the skeleton of a polecat, which appears by former discoveries to be no unusual circumstance. Incidentally were found two indifferent arrow-heads of flint, and various animal bones, amongst which were the seldom absent rats' bones.
On the 28th of July, 1845, a small barrow [Map] [Note. Wetton Hill Barrow [Map]] upon the extremity of Wetton Hill, in the direction of Alstonefield, was examined; upon this elevated situation the ground is uneven and rocky, thus affording an opportunity to the constructors of the barrow to make a cist in the side of a projecting rock without much labour, and by a slight covering of stones and soil the barrow shape was easily attained. The cist situated at the outer edge of the mound was lined with thin flat limestones, and was found to contain a skeleton, as usual with the knees drawn up; at the head were deposited a rude instrument of calcined flint, a rib of some large animal, apparently designed as a spear-head; and another large bone, possibly used as a hammer; nothing further was found in a definite position; but incidentally was found another instrument of calcined flinty which had been broken. At this point the discoveries of the summer of 1845 terminate.
On the 23d of December, 1845, a barrow, in the neighbourhood of Thorpe (called Lid Lowe [Map],) was opened by Mr. Price, of that village; it had been disturbed in the previous summer by some of the neighbouring villagers, who found three human skeletons, one of them of a female; all which they destroyed, with the exception of the jaws and teeth, which were distributed as great curiosities. The result of Mr. Price's labours was the discovery of the skeleton of a man, accompanied by the bones of a dog, and a small urn, of the usual coarse material, about four inches in diameter at the mouth. It would seem that this was the principal and earliest interment in the tumulus, as the skeleton and urn were inclosed in a cist formed of three upright stones, exactly in the centre of the barrow; the space within the cist was not more than three feet each way, consequently the body at the time of interment must have been placed in a sitting or contracted position. As is usual in the Derbyshire barrows, the bones of the deceased were mingled with those of the rat, and a few casual remains, unconnected with the preceding, were found in the progress of excavation; namely, a few teeth of a young person, one of an adult, and a horse's tooth. The tumulus appears to be of the form of the long barrows, described by Sir Richard Hoare as being generally unproductive of relics of any interest; its dimensions being twenty-four feet wide and thirty-six in length; in this respect it differs from the great proportion of the Derbyshire barrows, almost all of which are of the circular or bowl-shaped form.
During the summer of 1845, a person engaged in getting stone near Taddington, Derbyshire, accidentally broke a way into the cist of a small barrow, where he was much astonished to find a human skeleton lying at length; having, both at the head and at the feet, a perfect upper stone of a quern, or hand-mill, one of which was unfortunately broken soon after its discovery; the querns were both alike in their form, though one was of much finer stone than the other; the shape was conical, very similar to a bee-hive, with an excavation at the top communicating with a round hole, perforated through the stone to act as a hopper for the grain, which would, by these means, run down between the upper and lower stone. They were turned by a handle placed in the side of the upper stone, the hole for which is very apparent.
A small and neat urn of badly-baked clay, of undoubted British fabric, was discovered in cutting a drain in Stanton Park, Derbyshire, towards the end of the year 1845. There was nothing in the immediate neighbourhood to indicate that its purpose was sepulchral, although such might have been found to be the case by a more searching examination than was made at the time.
In the latter end of May, 1846, a tumulus at Deepdale, near Wetton, Staffordshire, was opened, which had been previously much disturbed. In addition to the usual quantum of dislocated human and animal bones, portions of a very elegant drinking-cup of imperfectly baked clay, and a piece of lead wire in the form of a bracelet, for which purpose it had probably been used, were discovered; to which may be added a few rude instruments of flint, some of them little better than mere rough chippings.