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THE EXCAVATIONS ON PARC Y MEIRCH.--The ancient fortification on Parc y Meirch, which was visited by the members in September last, has recently been excavated under the direction of Mr. Willoughby Gardner. The site is described in Arch. Camb., 1912, p. 166, as a tree-covered rocky promontory over 500 ft. high, overlooking the vale of Clwyd, with an interior area of 6 acres, and evidently selected for the sake of the ready-made defences of steep slopes and rocky crags. The neck of the promontory alone needed fortification, and across this neck, therefore, there was constructed a massive rampart with a ditch outside it. In process of excavation it has been discovered that the highest rampart consists of a rubble core piled up on the original surface of the ground. The height of the rampart, measured from the interior area of the camp, was 16 ft. From the crest of the rampart there is a very steep slope down to the present surface of the ditch on the outside. This ditch has been re-excavated, and its bottom is found to be 9 ft. below the present surface, so that makes, altogether, from the crest of the rampart to the bottom of the ditch, a vertical drop of 45 ft. Along the crest of the rampart have been discovered remnants of the former wall of dry masonry which faced the rubble core at this point. There are reasons for believing that this masonry, which is now found to have fallen to the bottom of the ditch in front, originally stood about 8 ft. high, which would make the vertical depth from the top of the wall to the bottom of the ditch 53 ft. Thus, this rampart and ditch constituted a stupendous defence, and, with the other ramparts and ditches, the fortification must have been practically impregnable in the days when it was constructed. The ditch between the second and third rampart and the shallower ditch outside the third rampart have had sections cut across them, but the relics found at the bottom of these cuttings have been disappointingly small. In the middle ditch fragments of a human skull and tibia were found lying lengthwise.
The next thing was to investigate the gap in the ramparts to the south-east. After searching first on one side and then on the other traces of an original entrance were discovered. This has now been partially excavated, and shows dry masonry facing-walls made of large blocks of stone on either side of the passage, and the design and construction appear to resemble the entrances previously excavated at Pen y Corddyn. In the interior area, relics of a considerable resident population have been found. Large quantities of broken pottery continue to be unearthed. Much of this is conspicuously Roman, ranging probably from the first to the fourth century.1
The finds include fragments of jars, large and small bowls, saucers, dishes, and mortaria. These pots, &c., are met with in various kinds of ware-red, black, and grey. There are one or two frag
1 By a typographical error this pottery was stated in Arch. Camb., 1912, p. 166, to be 200 instead of at least 1200 years.
ments of the red Samian ware. Among the black ware is a piece of a somewhat scarce type of beaker or cup, with handle attached. Besides the pottery, small objects owned by former dwellers in the stronghold have been turned up, including a few bronze coins, ranging from the second to the fourth century. One of these is a Constantine the Great, of the Urbs Roma type, with the representation of Romulus and Remus being suckled by the wolf on the reverse. It bears the mint mark of Lugdunum. It was struck between the years A.D. 335 and 337. It is in fine, fresh condition, showing that it cannot have been long in circulation when it was dropped by its former owner upon the hill-top of Parc y Meirch.
ROMAN MILESTONES.-In a letter to Arch. Camb., 1883, Mr. Richard Luck, of Llanfairfechan, writing 2nd March, 1883, reports that "about ten days ago, a remarkably fine stone has been found in a field adjoining a branch road which runs into the Old Roman Road' [leading from Aber through a pass in the mountain range between Llanfairfechan and Aber, called 'Bwlch y ddaufaen'] at a distance of about two miles from Aber . . . The field was being cleared by the owner of boulder and other stones, when the labourers came in contact with the fine Roman milestone. Fortunately for its preservation, it was entirely buried in the earth, with the exception of a small bos at the base of the stone, which stood above the surface of the land. . . . The form is cylindrical and slightly tapering. Its entire length is 6 ft. 9 in.; diameter near the base, 19 in., at the summit, which is not entirely circular, 17 in. and 16 in. ; the circumference at or near the base is 5 ft., and at the top, 4 ft. 7 in. The whole of the inscription is within 16 in. of the top; and it would appear that the base for 16 in. had been originally sunk in the ground.
"The stone is conglomerate, or millstone grit, as are also the two stones in 'Bwlch y ddaufaen.' That kind of stone is not, I think, to be found in this neighbourhood."
The stone referred to is that known as "Hadrian's Milestone," now set up in the British Museum, and figured in Arch. Camb., 1912, p. 225, where the place of finding is incorrectly put as Rhiwan, instead of Rhiwiau.
In Arch. Camb., 1884, p. 244, is a letter from R. W. B., referring to a statement by Mr. Thompson Watkin of the discovery of "a second milestone, of which the upper portion was found in July following, about 10 yards from the site of the first one. Like the other, this milestone is of grit stone, and of the same diameter; but the portion found is only 1 ft. 11 in. in height." This is the stone inscribed with the names of Septimius Severus and M. Aurelius Antoninus.
FIND OF BARROWS NEAR LLANFIHANGEL NANT MELAN.--Hearing of a find of barrows near Llanfihangel-Nant-Melan I at once proceeded there, and took a brief survey of the ground, which I fancy is one of the most important burying grounds in Radnorshire. It is situated on the south side of a hill called Gilwern, which lies to the north of Caety Traylow. It is due west of Pentre Tump and east of Black Yat.
It is surrounded on the north-west and east by a vallum and fosse. This vallum, at present 4 ft. high, is faced on the fosse side with stone, and is backed with earth, 8 ft. broad, enclosing a rectangular piece of ground about half-a-mile long. To the south is a very steep dingle (Cwm y Bont). The entrance is on the west side by a deep hollow-way, 10 ft. broad, leading in a south-westerly direction. About two miles west is a stone circle. An old trackway on the west side outside the vallum runs to Gladestry. To the north-west is a large pool of water.
The spot is specially interesting on account of the long graves, which are exactly similar to, but, owing to the nature of the soil, not in so good preservation as the so-called Giants' Graves discovered at Builth. Such structures are more common in Radnorshire than is generally supposed.
These graves are dotted about the hill. I counted thirty-six on the average, from 42 ft. to 72 ft. long, and though the majority run north and south, a few run east and west. They are all about 14 ft. broad, and in most cases it seems as if there was a central chamber which had given way.
Down the centre to half-way down the hill runs a broad track, 10 yards wide, on each side of which is a small vallum. This stops at the outer vallum, and from this point a very large barrow on Wimble can be seen exactly north-east. Where this ends is a large excavation in the hill running north and south.
The hill side has been cut away and earth thrown out to form two large platforms. Similar structures of smaller dimensions occur both to the east and west.
Another curious building is met with in an excavation on the extreme west near the gate, possibly the remains of the hut of the guardian or chief priest, though it is exactly east and west, and might be a tomb. Round this are some high mounds of earth differing from the other barrows, and some dry walling, 2 ft. high and 2 ft. broad. The inside measurement is 32 ft. long by 9 ft. broad. The wall round the cemetery or burial ground is now used as a boundary, but it is of extremely ancient date and does not look like an ordinary fence.
There are no camps in the immediate vicinity, and the early builders may have either come from the camps round Builth or, has been suggested, dwelt in crannogs in the valleys.
BRONZE CELT, CRICKHOWEL. In the volume of the Cambrian Archeologia for 1905, page 260, "Notes and Queries," is a question about a bronze celt found at Crickhowel, and now in the Rugby School Museum. I can, I think, clear up how it got there. It was given me by my grandfather, the late Joseph Joseph, F.S. A., of Brecon, who was for some time your Treasurer, and I gave it some twenty-five years ago to the Rugby School Museum.
JAMES BUCKLEY, Capt.
Castell Gorfod, St. Clears.
THE ANNUAL MEETING will be held at Cardiff July 22nd to 27th, under the Presidency of the Earl of Plymouth. The following is the Programme of Arrangements :-
Monday, 22nd July.-Meeting of the Committee of the Association, at 6 P.M., in the Committee Room of the Y.M.C.A. (opposite T.V.R. Station), to receive the Annual Report and for other business. Reception in the City Hall, at 8.30 P.M. Tuesday, 23rd July.-Camp, Witla Court; St. Mellon's Church; Druidston (Standing Stone); Caerleon; Y Gaer (Tredegar Park); Churches of Wentloog (St. Bride's, Peterston, Marshfield); Wentloog Castle; Castleton; Cefn Mabli.
8.15 P.M., Evening Meeting-President's Address.
Wednesday, 24th July.-By G. W. R. to Bridgend, thence by motor to Ewenny Priory; St. Donat's Castle; Llantwit Major; Llancarfan (Camp, Church, Holy Well, etc.); Dyffryn (Camp, Cromlechs); St. Lythan's.
Thursday, 25th July.-Caerau super Ely (Camp); Llandough Church; Llandaff Cathedral; St. Fagan's (Castle, Church); Capel Llanilltern (Inscribed Stone); Caerau (Llantrisant); Castellau; Llantwit Fardre; Caerarfa, near Creigiau (Cromlech).
8.15 P.M., General Meeting of Members of the C. A. Asso-
Friday, 26th July.-By train to Caerphilly (Castle and outpost);
Saturday, 27th July.-(By invitation of the Rhondda Naturalists'
WE regret to record the death, at the advanced age of 84, of Mr. H. Clarence Whaite, the President of the Royal Cambrian Academy, who so courteously received the members, on our visit in August last, at Plas Mawr, Conway. He was the founder and first president of the Royal Cambrian Academy, the doyen of the Manchester Academy of Fine Art, and one of the best-known figures in northern artistic circles. He was a regular exhibitor at the Manchester Royal Institution. Of one of his pictures Ruskin was pleased to remark, "Very good in almost every respect, and take it all in all perhaps the most covetable picture of the year." David Cox went specially to see Mr. Whaite, and complimented him warmly: "Well, Mr. Waite, yours are the finest pictures I have seen in the Principality." Two of his pictures are in the Cardiff Museum.
THE name of the writer of the article in the April number, on "Prehistoric Remains, Llanbedr, Merionethshire," was unfortunately omitted. The author is Mr. Leonard Dudley Buxton.