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when placed side by side with similarly recorded facts, they may perhaps in the end help to lead up to some great historical generalization in the hands of a future master mind. Besides these primitive weapons and tools, we have evidences of early tribes, in the stone circles and tumuli on many of our hills, as well as the outlines of pit-dwellings in some of the neighbouring woods. It might, I think, be assumed that the implements were manufactured long prior to Roman times; although instruments wrought in flint might have been in use among a certain class of the people after the Romans became dominant in England. Be this as it may, there is little doubt that they represent a period when the busy valley of the Upper Test was an untenanted and reedy swamp; when painted and half-clad savages wandered among the forest glades of Hampshire in search of food by hunting. The sites for flint making on the hills, were probably exposed places, favourable for yielding material, where these aborigines, as in the case of the Australian natives at the present day, made their working holes and fires, around which they wrought their flint cutlery of various kinds, with which they prepared their skins for clothing, cut up their food, formed rods for the purpose of building their temporary dwellings, made shafts for spears and darts, and shaped the weapons with which they attacked their enemies, and killed wild animals in the chase.
QUERIES RELATING TO STONEHENGE.
Some of the church towers in the southern districts of the county of Wilts, have for their foundations large blocks of sarsenstone. Can any information be given as to whether any of these were brought from Stonehenge ?
It is a subject of universal regret, that so many of the stones have been taken from this remarkable structure. When, and for what purpose were they removed?
Is there any confirmation of the report that a large "Altar stone" was taken to St. James's, in the time of James the First, in or about 1620 ? The Secretaries will be glad to receive any information on these points.
A Report of Diggings made in Silbury Hill, and in the Ground adjoining.
By the Rev. PREBENDARY WILKINSON.
EN December 13th, 1865, Mr. James Fergusson addressed a letter to the Editor of the Athenæum, for the purpose of repeating and enforcing the general argument of his article on Stonehenge and Avebury, in the Quarterly Review of July, 1860, but particularly with the view of showing that "Silbury Hill, a part of the Avebury arrangement, being situated on the Roman Road, proved that the whole belonged to a period subsequent to the departure of the Romans." The event which these works were intended to commemorate, Mr. Fergusson felt convinced was Arthur's twelfth and last great battle of Badon Hill, fought in 516 or 520; the parallel lines of stones were nothing more or less. than full sized plans of the battle, lithographed on the field where it was fought: the strategical position was one of the finest in this country. Avebury was the head quarters of the northern army, which on the morning of the battle was extended along the Kennet and Beckhampton Avenues; the position of Badon Hill was, however, outflanked, and there was nothing for it but to retire to the second line of defence on the Roman Road, where the final struggle took place and probably the General was slain, while Silbury was raised to commemorate the event. This Mr. Fergusson called "the recovery of a lost chapter in British History." To others it seemed a romance, particularly the attempt to assign an exact date to our Wiltshire monuments which was disputed by Sir John Lubbock and Professor Tyndall, the discussion turning greatly on the position of the Roman Road; Mr. Fergusson maintaining that the hill was on it, and therefore more modern than it; while Sir John Lubbock and Professor Tyndall agreed with Sir Richard Colt Hoare and others, that the road swerved to the south of, and did not pass under the hill. The correspondence ended with the expression of a hope by
VOL. XI.-NO. XXXI.
Mr. Fergusson that the members of the Wilts Archæological Society would perceive that a distinct issue had been raised, which might be wholly, or at least in part settled by diggings and a careful survey; Mr. Fergusson having at the same time the most perfect confidence as to what the result of these explorations would be. [Mr. Fergusson's letter to the Athenæum, 22 Jan., 1866.]
The Council of the Society have willingly joined issue with Mr. Fergusson on the point which he raised, on the quæstio facti, whether there are any traces of the Roman Road under Silbury Hill, and have taken the subject up in the practical manner he suggested, by diggings in the hill itself.
It is the object of this report to lay the evidence before our readers, as the Jury, with such remarks as may be necessary, and then to leave them to consider their verdict. If the road were found under the hill, that direct evidence would be decisive as to the Post Roman date to be assigned to the hill. If on the other hand, the road were not found there, and yet more if it were found elsewhere, at least the direct evidence would be negatived, and the whole of the plaintiff's case would be materially weakened from the failure of that witness on whom he with such "perfect confidence" relied. He might afterwards indeed bring forward other evidence of a circumstantial and inferential character, on which the Counsel for the defence might comment, and the Jury might have to express their opinion.
On Tuesday, Oct. 22nd, 1867, Mr. Fergusson met the Secretaries of the Wiltshire Archæological Society, at Silbury Hill, and they agreed to commence their explorations at the foot of the hill, on the eastern side. Two openings were made at the supposed level of the original soil, one a little to the north, and the other a little to the south of the spot, where it was expected that the road might be found. The intention was to dig down till the old turf was found, then following that, to connect the two openings, and see if any traces of the road lay between them. Just below the existing turf in the more northerly of these openings, many blocks of chalk were found about one foot in diameter. Here also in a space of about four square feet, and about two feet below the surface, lay
six portions of antlers of red deer; three of these were shed horns, two of the others may have been used for implements-the bases having been rounded as if by use. Nothing else was found at this spot.
The selection of the spot for the more southerly opening was suggested by a depression which reaches nearly one third way up the hill, and would seem to have been caused by some disturbance at the foot. A digging here showed that a distinct semicircular space about ten feet in radius, had, at some period since the formation of the hill, been hollowed out. The surface was irregular, and on a ledge about eighteen inches higher than the rest, three feet square, and four feet within the hill, there was a deposit of wood ashes, in the middle of which, and lying side by side, were the blade of an iron clasp knife much
Blade of an Iron Clasp Knife. (Actual Size.)
Whetstone. (Actual Size.)
corroded, but still retaining the rivet, and a small whetstone of a fine micaceous grit, having a hole, countersunk on both sides at the smaller end.
Neither of these openings revealed the original surface, which would appear to have been pared and carried away in the construction of the hill. This conjecture is supported by the circumstance that when the Archæological Institute penetrated by means of a tunnel to the centre of the hill, in 1849, it was seen that the nucleus of the mound consisted of regular layers of turf and rubble taken from the surrounding ground. The curve of the strata there plainly showed the commencement of the accumulation.
One can hardly, however, suppose that materials would have been taken from any spot originally intended to form part of the mound, as there would have been the double labour first of removing and then of replacing material; but it is no improbable supposition that the existing hill covers a larger area than it was originally intended to cover, and so that it extended over ground from which materials had already been taken.
However this may be, the original turf was not reached, and no traces of the Roman Road discovered by the first day's excavations in the hill itself.
The search under Silbury being a failure, it was suggested that it might be well to look for the road to the south, on the brow of the adjoining ground, where Stukeley, Sir Richard Hoare, and the Ordnance Survey had marked it, and constant tradition had fixed it. The field here is arable, and had been recently harrowed. The rain which fell on the night of the 21st, had washed the chalk and flints so clean, that the track of the road was faintly shown by the greater accumulation of chalk on the surface of the ancient road, as compared with the ground right and left. (The chalk rubble had doubtless been thrown up from the trenches, dug in constructing the road.) Viewed from the top of Silbury, it had the appearance of a "milky way," similar to that observable in the Beckhampton fields, and on the eastern side of West Down, where the Roman Road has undeniably been ploughed up. To the westward of this field, and within 200 yards of it, the outline of the Road might be traced in slight relief above the general level of the ground, by the eye of one retiring a short distance from it, particularly in favourable conditions of light and shade. Further west, its course was shown in a field of Turnips, by the more vigorous growth of the plants, which occupied the deeper soil on each side of the road. But the main object was to ascertain the exact position of the Roman Road in the immediate neighbourhood of the hill. The indications on the surface being insufficient, it occurred to Mr. Cunnington that satisfactory evidence might be obtained by digging. Accordingly, on the morning of the 23rd, he directed that a trench should be dug across the spot,