« PreviousContinue »
was observed at an average depth of 2 ft. 8 in. below the present surface. This old surface-if such it was-curved slightly downwards, and its greatest depth over the middle of the ditch was 3 ft. 5 in. from the surface, and this depth decreased to 1 ft. 6 in. at the edge of the ditch. A line of stones, which was cut through in trenches E, D, and F 10 ft. east of the east edge of the ditch, may have represented some sort of core to the rampart, but though present in each trench the indications were very slight, and the existence of a rampart on this side while very probable was not proved, and its exact position could not be discovered. It may be observed that no line of stones was found in trench B, and that the increase of depth in the disturbed soil in the western end of this trench was very slight-not more than three or four inches. This trench B was carried right up to the north wall of the field, but no indication of the rampart was found on this side. The subsoil rose gradually to the north, and its depth below the present surface became rather smaller as the wall was approached. It is certain, therefore, that if rampart and ditch existed on this side they lay wholly in the next field.
3. THE INTERNAL AREA. Here the trenches, with one exception, revealed nothing. The subsoil was reached at a depth of 12 to 18 inches, and the upper layer of disturbed earth was free from all evidences of occupation, such as building material, burnt wood, pottery, or any of the other remains generally met with on occupied areas. A very small quantity of modern pottery was all that came to light, except two pieces of coarse pottery-one in trench A and one in trench J-which were possibly, though not certainly, of Roman date. The presence of these can be easily explained by the fact that there is an undoubted Roman site near by-probably a little to the north-east. Trench G, in the south-east corner, showed the existence of an irregularly-shaped hollow of artificial origin some eight feet behind the rampart (see section G), which had apparently served to supply material for the corner of the rampart, where more earth would be needed than elsewhere. It was at first thought that it might represent another system of ditches, but further search failed to find further traces of it. Just inside the modern gate on the south side, in trench K, immediately under the turf, was found a layer of large cobblestones, 12 to 15 inches thick, containing one piece of modern brick. This paving did not extend across the area (trench G
failed to show any trace of it). It seems certain that it was put down in recent times to solidify the ground where it would be trampled most, the more so as it extended only over a width exactly equal to that of the gate. This trench (Kon plan) was carried far enough to cut into the bank on both sides of the gate. It was impossible to determine with certainty whether the rampart had originally been continuous, but it was thought to have been so.
It must be admitted that the results were almost entirely negative. It was ascertained that the enclosure consisted of a bank of earth on the south and east, and probably on the west, enclosed on all these sides by a V-shaped ditch of varying dimensions. There was, however, no indication of the date at which the enclosure was constructed or of the purpose it was intended to serve. The general indications which suggested a Roman origin received little, if any, support from the detailed investigation-the two pieces of pottery of possibly Roman origin have been mentioned above. The appearance in trench G of the irregular hollow (see above and section G) is hard to reconcile with the suggestion that the site had been a fort. However this may be, the complete absence of small objects makes it clear that the site was occupied by the Romans-if at all for an exceedingly brief period. The size of the still existing east rampart is too great to allow the enclosure to be explained as a temporary camp. a temporary camp. If, then, it is Roman, its construction must immediately have been followed by a change of policy or strategy which led to its abandonment.
In view, therefore, of the small results of the excavation, it was not thought desirable by those responsible for it to continue the work further; enough negative evidence seemed already to have been obtained. It has since been suggested that the site may be one of a class not unknown in the northern parts of Britain, which are generally supposed to be of post-Roman date, but which, like Adel, yield no evidence of occupation. If this is the case, it may be hoped that historical research in Yorkshire may yet succeed in explaining the presence of the enclosure; the present excavation has served at least to throw the gravest doubt on its Roman character, though clearly in such a case a definite statement is impossible.
PREVIOUS DISCOVERIES AT ADEL.
BY P. W. DODD.
At the request of the writer of the above report (at present absent in Italy), I append a brief summary of previous contributions to the knowledge of Roman Adel.
I. THORESBY'S REFERENCES. In the Ducatus Loidensis, in his published diaries, and in various papers contributed to the Royal Society (Phil. Trans., 282, 320), Thoresby is responsible for the earliest references to the site.
In the Diaries (Aug. 13, 1702), he records the accidental discovery of the considerable remains of a Roman town on Adel Moor. At the same time he refers to the Camp. "I viewed a Roman camp, which is yet very entire. There is another somewhat less on the said moor, and a third upon Bramhope moor." The measurement of the sides he variously gives as "about 5 chains on each of the 4 sides" (Diary, Nov. 5), and as 4 chains broad and 5 long" (Ducatus). "The agger is yet 22 feet high" (Diary). This last measurement is remarkable in view of the results of excavation. The two inscriptions, numbered 205 and 206 in CI.L., vii, are definitely stated to have come from the town and not from the Camp.
2. There is an interesting casual reference to the Camp in the Monthly Magazine for September, 1809. "At Addle, a village about five miles north of Leeds, is a Roman camp, until lately very entire, being surrounded with a single ditch. The present occupier, wishing to turn the ground to some profitable use, has begun to level it up with the neighbouring fields, and has already turned up a considerable number of millstones, about half a yard in diameter, which, from their size, must have been used for grinding corn by hand." Here is definite evidence of interference with the site, the extent of which it is impossible to conjecture.
3. WHITAKER. In his Loidis and Elmete (1816, p. 175), this writer records further discoveries on the town site, notably the other two inscriptions (C.I.L., 203, 204). His only reference to the Camp is in the following terms: "A camp, from its form and dimensions apparently Roman, had always been conspicuous on the slope of the hill north of Adel."
4. In 1865 some excavation was done on the hill to the east of the Camp, which was evidently the site of Thoresby's town. I am not aware of any published report, but it is said by
eye-witnesses that foundations of buildings were unearthed, apparently lining on a street, and that a quantity of Samian and other pottery was found.
I do not know of any other first-hand authorities. It is of interest to note that the absence of literary evidence for finds in the Camp area (with the exception of the mill-stones noted above) is corroborated by tradition, which associates discoveries with the site on the east of the road, where considerable remains may still exist under the soil.
[The Council has decided to reserve a small space in each Number for notices of Finds and other discoveries; and it is hoped that Members will assist in making this a record of all matters of archaeological interest which from time to time may be brought to light in this large county.]
ON A FIGURE OF ST. MARGARET.
In my account of representations of St. Margaret in the current volume of the Journal, p. 49, I forgot to mention a much earlier example than any that are there referred to, namely, one on the Norman font at Cowlam, in the East Riding, in which St. Margaret is shown with her heels disappearing down the throat of the dragon, and her head and shoulders bursting through the creature's back. St. Margaret has a 'pigtail," as have female figures on other fonts of the second half of the twelfth century. (See Bond's Fonts and Font Covers. 1908, p. 173.)
J. T. F.
STONE CIRCLES AT BLUBBERHOUSES.
Referring to the note at page 240, in which attention is called to this subject, Mr. Thomas Sheppard, F.G.S., writes that the site in question has not indeed escaped the vigilance of Yorkshire antiquaries; but that a modern enthusiast (well meaning perhaps but mistaken) has recently "put back” these vestiges into what he conceived to have been their original or typical form. He did not even stop short of using a handwindlass to assist him in his "restoration." For this reason, Mr. Sheppard says any scientific examination of the remains
has now been rendered impossible. Other members of our Society who have visited the spot express the opinion that whether prehistoric in their origin or not, the circles show evidence of having received attention at the hands of the iron smelters in very late mediæval times. The question, however, was one which was well worth ventilating; and it is just possible that further investigation may yet cast light upon the subject.
RUTHWELL AND BEWCASTLE CROSSES.
The Date of the Ruthwell and Bewcastle Crosses," by Albert S. Cook, Professor of the English Language and Literature in Yale University (Trans. Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences, Dec., 1912).
This long-expected essay has the great advantage of excellent illustrations by Mr. Tassell, of Carlisle, and the late Mr. J. P. Gibson, F.S.A., of Hexham. It contains also a collection of previous notices, and a minute description of the two famous monuments in Dumfriesshire and Cumberland, much more complete than in any other work. In the second part of the essay, Prof. Cook starts from certain difficulties, phonological and grammatical, in the runic inscriptions, and infers a late date for their language. He then compares the figure-sculpture with twelfth century examples on the Continent, and follows Rivoira in disallowing an earlier period to this class of work in England. The scrolls he dismisses as not characteristic of any given age, but the interlacings he thinks unknown in England before the development of Celtic art in the eleventh century. The chequers and sundial of Bewcastle Cross he believes impossible before Norman times, and goes on to suggest that both these "obelisks "-for he doubts that they were crosses—were erected about 1150 under David I by monks, indicating Rievaulx as likely to have exerted influence upon Ruthwell, which he connects by the similarity of the names, Ryvale being an old spelling of Ruthwell.
If this conclusion be accepted, it would be interesting to have further explanation of the reason why no decorative carving in a similar style has been found at Rievaulx, or in any twelfth century abbey or priory which was not on the site of a preConquest foundation; and why such stones have been found, as at St. Bees and Carlisle, built into Norman masonry with