Page images

adopted at the present day, which could have been conveniently carried out in the kilns at Ightham. They may have been pottery kilns for the baking of ware similar to that manufactured in the adjoining parish of Wrotham in the sixteenth or seventeenth century. If such were the case there was probably a false floor of tiles, perforated with holes, laid upon the low walls, or something answering the same purpose, on which the pots were placed, but no trace of such an arrangement existed. I am indebted to Mr. B. Harrison for promptly communicating this discovery, and it gives me pleasure to state that Mr. Hill caused the excavations to be made at his own expense. December, 1895.

OLDBURY CAMP, IGHTHAM.-Mr. Harrison also reports that he has secured an uninscribed British gold coin from within the camp, it being the third found there. December, 1895.

MEOPHAM.-The Rev. L. W. Lewis reports the discovery of potholes in the glebe meadow in rear of the vicarage. When digging for gravel from time to time Mr. Lewis's gardener finds holes about 2 feet wide and 4 feet deep; at the bottom of them he has found burnt matter, potsherds of distinctly pre-Roman date, and in one instance several small pieces of Sarsen-stone and lumps of clay. Poor as these remains are, they are of the highest importance as coming from a district which has hitherto yielded nothing that would enable us to understand its condition or to what extent it was populated in pre-Norman times.

The Meopham road which passes by the site of these discoveries runs into the British Way (Pilgrim Road) about four miles beyond, below Vigo Hill. (See Collectanea Cantiana, p. 152.)

THANET.-Mr. W. H. Hills kindly furnishes particulars of the discovery at Hollicondane, midway between that hamlet and Dumpton, south-east from Ramsgate, of a skeleton accompanied by four bronze armlets; three are very massive and ornamented with alternate incised spiral and oval-shaped markings, the other is a coil armlet of ten coils.

Mr. Hills also reports the discovery of several skeletons, with pottery and a silver coin of Gordianus, at Broadstairs, on the site of the New Home, opposite the Lantern House. January, 1896.

DARTFORD.—Mr. E. C. Youens reports the finding of an ancient well during excavations for sand and gravel adjoining Dartford Heath, a few feet from a presumed British Way. The well was 3 feet in diameter, lined with masonry 1 foot thick, composed of flints set in a mixture of clay and chalk. Mr. Youens has ascer

tained that during additions to the Telegraph Mills on the western side of Dartford Creek the foundations of several walls were met with, which are described as similar to those of Roman date. February, 1896.

Mr. Herbert Prall favours me with valuable information concerning discoveries made at Joyce Green on the eastern side of Dartford Creek. When the gravel pits were first opened there the workmen found several Roman urn-burials of the ordinary kind, consisting of small groups of urns here and there. These occurred near the road leading from Dartford to the marshes, and therefore help to establish the antiquity of the road.

HAM GREEN, UPCHURCH.-The Rev. C. E. Woodruff reports that he has obtained from a field called "Woodoaks," near Ham Green, the following objects from a Roman interment :---Two cups and three pateræ of Samian ware, a small square glass bottle with handle, height 43 inches, and a fine goblet of Durobrivian ware with long neck and flanged rim, height 93 inches, diameter of its pearshaped body 4 inches. The vessel is ornamented with five rows of rings formed of white paste upon a groundwork which shews traces of a green glaze. It may be compared with a goblet found in "Thompson's" field, Plaxtol. (Archæologia Cantiana, Vol. II., p. 6.) March, 1896.

FOLKESTONE.-Mr. John Ashtell, Curator of the Museum, reports the discovery in the grounds belonging to the Folkestone Water Works Company at the Cherry Garden, at the foot of Castle Hill, of a very fine and highly finished flint celt of the Neolithic period, measuring 63 inches by 24 inches. I am indebted to the Museum Committee for kindly giving instructions that a photograph should be sent to me of the specimen. April, 1896.

MEDWAY MARSHES.-In June 1895 the Rev. C. E. Woodruff, his brothers H. C. and John Woodruff, and myself, prosecuted further researches on the site of the famous Roman potteries below Upchurch, under the most favourable circumstances, thanks to the kindness of Messrs. Belsey and Woodhams, who generously placed their yacht the "Gem" at our disposal for three days. We anchored in Shaffleet Creek, slept on board, and spent the whole of each day exploring the "Saltings." Much time was devoted to excavating at the base of the great mound on the left of the "Strayway" leading from Ham Green to the Slay Hills. No whole vessels were found, but a large quantity of broken pottery, including a few pieces of Samian ware, was thrown out, and portions of kiln

bricks. At various places along the Saltings similar mounds may be seen; these we determined conclusively were the sites of kilns. Around one of them we found numerous potsherds that had been washed out by the tide, and several pieces were obtained with grains of flint mixed with the clay, similar in every respect to the class of pottery usually assigned to a pre-Roman period. Along the western side of Milford Hope many circular patches of burnt earth were detected upon the mud-flats which undoubtedly formed the bases of kilns. Mr. Cumberland Woodruff, some two or three years before, found at the base of the Stray-way mound what appeared to be the remains of the wall of a circular kiln; the section left shewed that the interior was originally about 3 feet in diameter; the broken-down wall was 1 foot high and 6 inches thick, being composed of a hard coarse concrete. Owing to the enormous difficulties attending any researches on the site of the Upchurch Potteries very little can be added to what is already known; all we can hope to do is to record periodically that which may be revealed by the action of the tide.

COBHAM-During the summer of 1895 the Earl of Darnley kindly caused an examination to be made of two mounds on the Cobham estate. The first opened was that called "The Mount," which is situate by the gamekeeper's house, a short distance to the south from the Watling Street. Unfortunately there is a large tree growing upon the summit of the mound, so that the trenches had to be cut by the side of it, leaving the centre unexplored. During the operations nothing was revealed beyond two fragments of coarse pre-Roman pottery and a few scraps of charcoal; these were found upon the natural soil at the base of the mound near the centre.

The second mound is on high ground in Randall Wood, on the north side of the Watling Street. As soon as we commenced digging, the foundations of brick walls were met with, which evidently belonged to "Randalls," the destroyed mansion of the De Cobham family, the ruins of which may be detected close by, extending over a considerable area.

1 am much indebted to Lord and Lady Darnley for their kindness and hospitality to me on this and other occasions when I visited Cobham, and to the Hon. Ivo and Mr. Arthur Bligh for their valuable assistance in piloting me over the estate. Although the result of the excavations was disappointing, by recording what was done future antiquaries will be saved the trouble of reopening the mounds.

ROCHESTER (WATTS'S AVENUE).-When excavating the cellar for Dr. Dartnall's new house, opposite St. Margaret's Churchyard, the workmen accidentally cut through an Anglo-Saxon interment, destroying everything but an iron spear-head which accompanied the skeleton. After the cellar space was cleared out my attention was directed to the spot by Mr. Hubert Homan. On the north and west face of the newly exposed chalk the outlines of two other cists were visible, both of which the foreman of the works, and Dr. Dartnall, kindly allowed me to explore. In the western cist, which was 5 feet below the surface, and 2 feet 10 inches wide, a skeleton was found at full length upon its back, the bones of the hand resting upon the pelvis. By the left arm, near the shoulder, was a spear-head, and at the waist, on the left side, an iron knife, on the right an iron girdle-buckle, and in the centre a very small buckle of bronze.

As the workmen proceeded with the trenches for the foundations of the house other graves were met with daily, which I was also permitted to clear of their contents. These will now be described in the order in which they were excavated. All the skeletons lay east and west, head to the west.

Grave 4. Skeleton, 5 feet long, with arms and legs straight, upper part curved towards south. An iron dagger-shaped knife lay upon the pelvis.

Grave 5. Skeleton of a young female, under 5 feet long, in an extended position. By the neck were three opaque glass beads, two red and one green; two red beads were also found by the left hand. It was interesting to note that the uncut wisdom teeth were visible through a fracture in the lower jaw.

Grave 6. Skeleton almost entirely decayed. On the left side of the skull an iron spear-head, by the left arm a long and short iron knife, the remains of a sword, and a pair of bronze tweezers. At the right hip was the umbo of a shield and the heads of four iron rivets by which it had been attached. When the interment took place the shield must have been laid upon the centre of the body. As the latter collapsed from decay the umbo fell half over towards the outside of the right arm, and was found on its edge, point outwards, with the rivet-heads and hand-bar beside it. Where the shield lay fragments of wood were met with, a portion being obtained with a silver-headed stud still remaining in it. By the right side a girdle-buckle, 2 inches in length, occurred of elegant design; the oval head is decorated with a row of concentric rings,

and the base of the buckle tongue was originally set with four garnets and two blue stones-two of the garnets, however, are missing; those remaining have underneath them reticulated goldfoil to give greater lustre to the garnets. The buckle is attached by a hinge, which is still in working order, to a triangular-shaped framework with a boss at each angle. These bosses were set with ivory, having a garnet in the centre, but one only is complete. The front of the framework is overlaid with a narrow band of gold on each side; one is adorned with a double row of chevrons, the other has a single row between two twisted rope-mouldings. At the back of the frame is a thin plate of gold, ornamented on the front with a braided strip-pattern in relief, the strip itself being embellished with a triple row of bead-moulding. The entire framework of this girdle-buckle is of speculum metal, richly gilt.

Grave 7. Skeleton 5 feet 6 inches long, at full length, the feet together. On the left side of the skull was a spear-head, and a small knife by the left arm.

Grave 8. This was cut through obliquely by the workmen without their observing it. At the head of it I found a fragment of the skull and an amber bead about the size and shape of an olive.

Grave 9. Shared the same fate, but a portion of the skull was found. The skeletons in both these graves must have been almost entirely decayed, otherwise the men would have noticed the bones.

Grave 10. Half this cist was accidentally destroyed-in the remaining portion the upper part of a skeleton was found without relics.

Grave 11. This contained a skeleton lying at full length, the bones of the hands lay upon the pelvis, the feet were together. By the right hip was a bronze girdle-buckle, slightly ornamented, and a small iron knife near it. The skull had become reduced to splinters; by the left side of it was a leaf-shaped spear-head. Without the skull the skeleton measured 4 feet 10 inches in length.

Grave 12. Skeleton at length, the right hand lay upon the right leg, the left upon the pelvis; by the vertebral column a small iron knife was met with.

During the widening of the road in front of Dr. Dartnall's house it was discovered that prior to the building of the wall which kept up the bank the latter had at some period given way, carrying with it portions of other graves. I cleared out the eastern ends of these which could easily be seen in the newly exposed bank.

Grave 13. The tibia only remained.

« PreviousContinue »