Ten Years' Digging 1854

 Bole Hill

Ten Years' Digging 1854 is in Ten Years' Digging.

Books, Prehistory, Ten Years' Digging 1854, Monsal Dale

In April or May, 1854, some persons engaged in getting calcareous tufa, for ornamental purposes, a little way above the foot bridge in Monsal Dale, found a human skeleton in a natural cavity in that stone, about six feet below the surface. This accidental discovery being noticed in the local newspapers, led me to visit the place on the 1st of June, and the following is the result of observations then made:-

The bottom of the valley of the Wye, in that part of Monsal Dale, like many others in Derbyshire, presents in some places large masses of calcareous deposition or tufa, many feet in thickness, which have been formed by springs strongly impregnated with earthy matter supplying streams running through the vallies at a much higher level than at present. The summit of the tufa formation, where the skeleton was found, is about fifteen feet above the surface of the stream in its ordinary state, and between the base of the tufa bank and the present watercourse, a level plain or terrain, eight or ten yards wide, intervenes. In order to quarry the tufa with the least trouble, the men made an excavation in the face of the bank towards the river, at the height of about ten feet above the latter, and after removing a considerable quantity of tufa, arrived at a cavity naturally formed in it, partly filled with earth, and having its roof adorned with stalactites; within was the skeleton of a young person, near which lay some rough pieces of limestone or chert, and a circular instrument of light-grey flint. At our visit the place was carefully cleared out, and some of the bones not having been previously disturbed, it became evident that the body had been deposited in a fitting position. A variety of animal bones occurred amongst the earth that was thrown out, the most remarkable being the lower jaw of a cat, and the same of a fish, probably the trout. The tufa being perfectly solid for five feet above the cavity, it is evident that the interment must have been deposited by means of an opening from the face of the bank, which was unobserved until the bones appeared. They were at least twelve feet firom the outside, where the labourers first broke ground.

Books, Prehistory, Ten Years' Digging 1854, Bole Hill

On the 29th of September, we examined the remains of a large tumulus at Bole Hill, on Bakewell Moor, near that [Bole Hill Barrow [Map]] investigated on the 24th of August, 1843. (Vestiges, page 47.) By measurement with a tape, the diameter was ascertained to be exactly 23 yards; about eighteen inches only in height remained, the upper part having been removed at the time of the enclosure of the common for the sake of the stone. The remainder consisted entirely of small gravelly stone, the upper moiety having been much disturbed, together with all the later interments that had been deposited above the natural surface; of these we observed the remnants of at least two, some in their natural state, others calcined. We also found a few articles of different dates, the most modem being a small piece of kiln-baked pottery, of coarse texture, and red colour, and a circular stud of green glass, which may possibly have graced the centre of a fibula, as a fictitious gem; a more ancient object was the point of a very slender bronze dagger, much attenuated by frequent sharpening; it was in two pieces, which lay some distance apart: there were many bones and teeth of animals amongst the gravel, and when we arrived at a depth that left only six or eight inches of artificial ground above the natural level, we observed innumerable rat' bones, and in the gravel just below, near the centre of the barrow, we discovered the primary interment in a state of advanced decay; it was the skeleton of a man lying on his left side, with the knees drawn up and the head to the north-east; beneath the head was a very rude instrument of grey flint, nearly round, which was the only article of man's device found near him. From the unmanageable nature of the clayey soil on which the skeleton lay, and the friable condition of the bones, no measurement of the long bones could be taken, but fortunately so many pieces of the skull were recovered as to allow of its restoration. To us it appears a remarkable example, and may be described as having the calvarium long, narrow, and conveying the idea of lateral pressure; the forehead retreating, with the frontal sinuses prominent, the facial bones large, and the upper maxiilaries, together with the lower jaw, strong and wide.