« PreviousContinue »
field to suggest that Roman remains exist so near the surface; certainly the spot where they occur is on a very slight eminence, but this is all. There is nothing whatever of a military character about the place, unless it be the far-reaching view over Holderness.
I again visited the site in company with Mr. St. Quintin, the owner of the land, and Mr. H. O. Piercy, his steward. The former gave me me permission to excavate, and as sundry persons visiting the place from time to time were taking away fragments of tessalated pavement, which were forced up with sticks, I thought the best course to take was to begin work at once, and arrange for some sort of protection if there was really anything of historic value.
I accordingly procured the services of several reliable men from Harpham and Burton Agnes; one, Herbert Duke, a most careful and enthusiastic excavator, I appointed chief of the workers whenever I could not be present myself. Circumstances proved that a better man could not have been chosen, as he noted everything. We began our work by digging trial pits in various parts of the eminence, and in every case but one, we found rough chalk, salmon-coloured mortar, sometimes a bone or two, and occasionally a few loose tesseræ. Finding no walls or anything to guide us, we decided to remove the soil from the place where fragments of pavement had been taken away, and we very soon came upon the remains of the pavement (Fig. 7), and then we followed the lines of tesseræ. The red tessera which I had noted on my first visit to the place proved to be a patch on a pavement of red and white; for some cause or other the original pavement had been broken and a patch of coarser and larger tessera than the originals had been laid therein to mend the hole, this patch was about five feet long with a width varying from a few inches to two feet. The pavement lay almost due east and west. Eastward of the patch there was very little remaining,
but westward it extended many feet, the piece when quite uncovered (for it was only a fragment of a large floor), measured twenty-seven and a half feet in length by five feet, gradually narrowing to about one foot, in breadth. The edge of this large fragment of pavement towards the north was fairly intact, but it was impossible to say how far it had extended in other directions on account of its being so very much broken. by the plough. The hard bed on which the tessera had been laid remained for some distance southwards. During the removal of the soil from this pavement we found bones (apparently of red deer), some coarse black pottery (apparently the fragments of a large vase), oyster shells and broken stone roofing tiles, together with blocks of chalk and plaster with the colouring in some cases quite bright, greens and red being the prevailing tints.
About fifteen yards southward of this fragment of pavement, we found a quantity of solid mortar in one of the trial pits, and in extending the sides of this hole somewhat, we struck another pavement (Fig. 4). Deciding to follow the lines of tessera as in the first case, we soon came to the edge of the floor, then working away from this base we eventually uncovered the whole pavement, which (except for the holes caused by driving in stakes for supporting sheep nets, &c.) was perfect. This floor measured roughly sixteen feet by seventeen, the centre piece was a kind of quatrefoil composed of very small tesseræ of red, white, blue, and yellow (Fig. 5), the rest of the pavement was made up of bands of brown and white tesseræ forming a maze with all its angles, right angles. This maze was framed in broad bands of similar colour to the rest of the pavement. On this pavement we found quantities of flat roofing slabs of sand stone from the West Riding. In these slabs were holes for nails, and in one instance the nail remained fast in its position. Many iron nails were found, some having large flat heads, the largest tile (imperfect) measured