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earthwork, the main enclosure measuring 18 yards square, and the apparent addition or enlargement clinging to its side showing an area of 12 yards by 16.
No. 8. The last instance which I shall adduce though also on a small scale, is not so diminutive as that just described. It is situated in my own parish of Yatesbury, and measures about fifty yards in diameter, being a square in shape though with rounded corners: the bank and ditch which enclose it are of considerable size, the section showing no less than 15 feet, and they are pierced by many narrow entrances. It lies on the flat level plain, and on neither side is it sheltered in the smallest degree. It is also peculiar for the length as well as the number of banks and ditches, apparently indicating roads which lead up to it from no less than three sides, and these banks and ditches may be traced for several hundred yards. It also contains a slight depression in the centre, but I have failed to ascertain its object or to gain any clue to its intention, though I have thoroughly examined it by digging.
Such is the appearance and such is the diversity of these strange earthworks: they have puzzled many an antiquary and have given rise to a great variety of opinion, and a vast amount of discussion as to their intention. And as no positive proof of their object is forthcoming, the question is still undecided and likely to remain so for a long time to come. Under these circumstances, we (the archæologists of this county at least) naturally look for information to our great pioneer in Wiltshire antiquities, I mean Sir Richard Colt Hoare, than whom no one before or since has more diligently explored our downs in all directions, and that not cursorily and superficially but with painstaking and care. Sir Richard Hoare gives it as his opinion that these enclosures were the cattle pens of the early Britons: that was his decided conviction after ample examination of a great many of such earthworks: the conjecture seems at all events plausible, nor have I heard any sound argument in favour of a contrary view, though perhaps we may be wrong to attribute them all to this purpose: there may be exceptions, and some of the larger ones may (as I have already said) have had another origin, and been thrown up as military defences or to
protect a temporary or more permanent camp. Still the majority of them from their size and position forbid us to ascribe to them such an object, and we are glad to fall back on the theory of the cattle pen as the most plausible solution to the difficulty. Moreover we know that like other nomadic and little civilized people, the early Britons' chief occupation was centred in tending their flocks and their herds. Cæsar tells us that in his time their cattle was very numerous, "pecorum magnus numerus" [Bell. Gall. v., 12, 14]; and it is obvious that in pasturing them on the downs those early shepherds must have required some sort of pens wherein to fold them in safety, and so prevent them from wandering by night far away from home, and not improbably into the territory of a hostile or predatory tribe. Now what kind of enclosure easily made with material ready to their hand, and that in a district where neither building stone nor wood abounded, would at once suggest itself to the mind of the British herdsman and shepherd? Obviously a bank and a ditch, an earthwork of the required size and shape. This was the only kind of building they knew, but at this sort of work they were skilful and practised craftsmen. Witness the camps, the barrows, the trackways, the hollow roads, the pithouses, all of which testify to the readiness with which the early excavators executed the earthworks which were to serve such varied purposes. And so, without attempting to speak decidedly, on a question which cannot be proved, I think it most probable that the majority of these earthen enclosures were the cattle pens of the early Britons, who (as I have elsewhere shewn) inhabited the downs, when the vallies and lower plains were covered with forest and morass.
There is one more point I would just mention which has frequently struck me in connection with these earthworks, and which I do not think has ever been touched on by others: and that is, that they appear to me to abound in the immediate neighbourhood of Wansdyke, to the north of that mighty boundary, more than in any other locality. Indeed any one riding along the principal portion that remains of that noble boundary from Westwoods to Blackland Hollow, will observe a whole chain of these enclosures
at intervals of less than half-a-mile, and within a few hundred yards of the Dyke. They are not by any means confined to that district, for we may see them on every down and in all positions: but it is a fact worth recording and worth investigation, while we speculate on their origin, that we find them in the greatest number in immediate proximity to Wansdyke. This may possibly be the result of pure accident, arising from the elevated position of Wansdyke, which in the portion indicated runs along the crest of the downs, where it is impossible for the obliterating ploughshare to come: and so the enclosures still distinct on the primeval turf may only offer a sample of what was general throughout the downs, prior to the breaking of the land for agricultural purposes. Or if they are in truth more abundant in that locality, as I am inclined to think from a close examination of many other turf districts of the downs hitherto untouched; perhaps some may think this a strong argument in favour of their military character. I do not pretend to account for their abundance near Wansdyke; neither will the diminutive size of some of them suffer me to consider them in the light of camps, for however small a band of warriors. All I have ventured to do has been to point out their existence, their shape, their dimensions, and their position; leaving it to every member of our Archæological Society to adopt any opinion he pleases as to their origin, while I myself hold to the suggestion previously advanced, that the greater portion of them at least were the cattle pens of the early Britons.
ALFRED CHARLES SMITH,
Yatesbury Rectory, Calne,
By W. L. BARKER, ESQ.
Read before the Society at the Annual Meeting, at Hungerford.
N laying before the Society a short sketch of the art of FishCulture, I shall give the results of my own small experiments as far as I can safely trust them, and, when they fail, I shall not hesitate to adopt the opinions of others, whose experience is ample, and whose word is beyond suspicion.
The production of Fish by an artificial method has of late years received much attention from scientific men in this country. The plan indeed is not a new one, but it had lain so long in abeyance, that when the French Government with its accustomed energy revived it a few years ago, it had all the charm of a new and important discovery, and one destined to take a high place on the long list of modern improvements.
"To Count Von Golstein, a German naturalist, the world stands indebted for having in the year 1758 conceived the first idea of producing Fish by artificial means and also for the experiment which proved its truth. A few years later, another German naturalist, Jacobi by name, made similar investigations with similar results; and at different times in Italy, in Scotland and in England successful trials were repeatedly made. But although ichthyologists had hit upon the novel idea of propagating Fish by artificial means, they considered their method to be a simple scientific experiment. They did not dream that it was of practical and commercial, political and social importance, inasmuch as it might be made new branch of commerce, which would add greatly to the national wealth, give employment to thousands, create an inexhaustable supply of cheap, nourishing and wholesome provision for all classes of the people, and be in short to rivers and waters what agriculture is to land." It is true that these great anticipations are not yet
1 The substance of this history of Fish-Culture was gleaned from a pamphlet which appeared some years ago, but which has now unfortunately escaped from my hands.-W. L. B.
fully realised, that salmon has not yet reached so low a price and become so common an article of food as to deserve especial mention in the indenture of apprentices as in days of old, that some of our so-called trout-streams abound in all kinds of Fish with the single exception of Trout; but the attentive observer of the signs of the times, will not fail to recognise in the silent growth of public opinion, and in the efforts of the Legislature, an earnest desire on the part of the English people, to restore the rivers of the United Kingdom to their original "pride of place," and to strengthen the hands of those able and intelligent men who devote their whole time and attention to the furtherance of an object, so simple in its management, so effectual in its working, and so universal in its application.
To return to the History of Fish-Culture. In the absence of recorded facts we advance from 1758 to 1841. For a few years previous to the latter date, a great diminution in the yield of trout was perceived by those of our French neighbours who dwelt on the banks of the Moselle, in the department of Vosges. Two humble fishermen named Gehin and Remy, inhabitants of an obscure village called La Bresse, made it their business to discover the cause of the evil, and to devise some means of checking it. After much careful enquiry, they resolved to adopt a plan whereby the frail germ of the future fish should for a time be protected from the operation of those unseen but deadly agents which beset its career, from the moment of its nativity to the time of its rupture and the escape of its contents. Their first experiment was made in the year 1841, and was crowned with extraordinary success. In 1842, 1843, and 1844, they repeated their experiments, and each year with increasing good fortune. La Société d' Emulation des Vosges gave them a bronze medal and voted them a sum of money. In the course of a few years, they succeeded in re-stocking the waters of the Moselle. It is to be observed that although the fecundation of the egg of fish by the means employed by Gehin and Remy was known to scientific ichthyologists, it was quite unknown to them. Too much praise can scarcely be lavished on the intelligence and zeal which they brought to bear on the discovery of so important