sepulchral form, I determined to examine the ground in the immediate neighbourhood with minute care. As a consequence, I detected projecting from under a wall what appeared to me to resemble a portion of a large covering or coping-stone. A month ago I sought and obtained permission from the owner to open the ground at this point, which is some 20 ft. from the actual position of the reputed grave.

"I engaged a single labourer, and remained directing his work for some eight or nine hours. I soon found that what I had thought to be a portion of a large coping-stone was in reality but a comparatively small piece, and did not continue through the wall. However, on digging down to this depth (about 2 ft.), fragments of red brick and tile became manifest, and I decided to dig lower. Proceeding another 8 in. or a foot, I gradually uncovered portions of stones set in mortar, and carefully removed the soil on one side. I soon laid bare a solidlyconstructed wall, heavily mortared and faced, and upon clearing it to the extent of some 5 ft. in length and 3 ft. in depth, I found it contained a thin course or layer of red tile, bonded in about midway. I directed my efforts to clearing the soil in the immediate vicinity, and found adjoining the wall a curved or dome-shaped receptacle, with lines of mortar at intervals showing on its face, and the whole giving the appearance of an oven. The soil here was strongly impregnated with particles of red brick and brick dust, and I picked out a fragment of tile (marked A in the illustration) scored with lines. A small piece of lead (with a covering of white substance) about the size of a sixpenny piece, together with a number of bones, was also here brought to light. I then cleared the soil at the base of the wall (in the opposite direction to the presumed oven), and soon laid bare an aperture some 15 in. in height by 12 in. in width, surmounted by a large single stone or slab; above this was a layer of mortar about 3 in. in thickness, upon which rested smaller stones, and then again above these was mortar, and a number of slates of a claret colour-similar to the slate produced at the Dinorwic Quarries, near Llanberis, twenty miles or so distant. These slates were evidently roofing-slates ; for several of them were punctured with holes of a description not made in our modern slates, but which slaters inform me were evidently intended to connect the slate with the roof-beams by means of wooden or iron pegs.

“The sides of the aperture were evenly laid, and appeared to be set in mortar, and they were bonded at intervals with red tiles. I took out three of these tiles, and found they were thickly encrusted on one side with a dark substance similar to soot. I refrained from uncovering the aperture, but inserted a long piece of timber, and found it penetrated freely for a distance of 7 ft. There can be no doubt, in my

opinion, that this is a flue directly connected with the oven previously alluded to.

“I picked up some fragments of tile, and, on cleaning these, subsequently discovered that they were glazedl on one surface, while some of their edges were shaped or tooled. As I was not in a position to prosecute the work of exploration; and deeming it advisable to avoid interference by irresponsible people, especially as the site adjoins a busy high-road in a populous district, I decided to refill the portion excavated.

"Shortly afterwards I communicated my discovery to Professor Anwyl, of Aberystwyth University College, and he kindly consented to co-operate with me in any further work upon the site. The Professor came over about the end of September, when we again opened the soil at the same place, and he had the opportunity of viewing the hypocaust, and agreed generally with my views concerning its Roman character and construction. Two further fragments of scored tile (marked B and c) were brought to light. We also opened the ground some 10 ft. further away, in order to see if the wall extended from west to east, and found it did so. At this point we found fragments of tiles (marked D, E, F and g) scored with semicircular lines. I also obtained from near the “oven” fragments of flanged tiles, and two pieces of slag of iron, one of which was highly glazed. Lumps of concrete, formed of rough pebbles, and of a much darker colour than the mortar, were also found, together with a large quantity of oyster and other shells.

• Professor Anwyl agreed that it was advisable to restore the ground opened, pending an appeal to the Cambrian Archæological Association for help in prosecuting the work of excavation. We therefore refilled the ground opened, and took no photographs or sketches, as we felt it would be better to delay doing this till we had started our excavations in earnest.

“There is no recognised Roman road nearer this site than that running from Tomen-y-mur, near Trawsfynydd, through Maentwrog and by the pass of Aberglaslyn, in the direction of Segontium (Carnarvon), and this is distant fully five miles away. A hundred years ago the sea covered the land in the immediate vicinity of Glasfryn, and it was not until 1811 that the land was reclaimed by the erection of an embankment or breakwater opposite the port of Portmadoc. It may well have been that this site marked the entrance to the ford or passage-way which, tradition declares, existed across the Traeth Mawr (Great Sands) at low water."


1 If the glazing is not an accidental result of heat, these glazed tiles may possibly be of mediaval date. ---ED. 1906



The extension of the town of Carnarvon threatens to cover the site of the Roman city of Segontium, the walls of which were still visible about fifty years ago. Mr. Llewelyn Lloyd Jones, of Carnarvon, informs us that in excavating for the foundations of two new houses in a field opposite the Vicarage, he found at a depth of 18 ins. below the surface three Roman walls, about 3 ft. 6 ins. wide, running parallel with one another. The position of these walls, and of others which are known to exist, will be carefully marked on a plan, and as building operations extend, any future discoveries will be noted in the same manner.

Segontium was the starting-point of the Eleventh Iter, the route running from that place to Deva (Chester), by Conovium, which some identify as Caerhun, in the valley of the Conway, and Varae, which has been placed at Bodfari, the pass through the range of mountains which bound the Vale of Clwyd.


The exceptional dryness of the past summer has been the cause of an interesting discovery at Colchester. In the Castle Park, near the band-stand on the north side of the Castle, certain portions of the grass were particularly affected, and marks appeared which seem to show that beneath are the remains of a large Roman villa, or other important building. Six rooms of varying size are plainly discernible, and there are indications that this does not exhaust the possibilities of the site; the ground is sloping, and probably the foundations extend further to the south, east, and west. The tesselated pavement, which was discovered and preserved in situ when the Castle Park was laid out, is only a few yards away, and possibly belongs to another part of the same building.

The markings have been carefully planned, and an excavation of the whole site will be carried out ; but at the present time the work is delayed by the necessity of allowing the grass to recover from the effects of the drought before the turf is removed.


In the early part of August a considerable find of Roman coins was made at Colchester, and about fifty of them have been recovered by Dr. Laver and deposited in the Museum, together with the fragments of the vessel in which they were found. This vase, which has been skilfully restored by Mr. A. G. Wright, is about 6 ins. in height by about 51 ins. at its widest diameter, and its mouth is just wide enough to admit the coins. The coins recovered are all “third brass,” of the reigns of Gallienus, Victorinus, and Tetric


An interesting article on this subject by Sir Norman Lockyer, K.C.B., F.R.S., appeared in The Times of July 30th, 1906. The work done by Sir Norman in Egypt some fifteen years ago proved, as it is claimed, that the Egyptians carefully oriented their temples so that the rising and setting of the stars, and of the sun at certain times of the year, could be watched along the temple axis by the priest in the sanctuary ; and the same methods of study have been applied here, the theory being that, from an astronomical point of view, there is the strongest resemblance between the Egyptian temples and British Stone Circles.

“In densely populated and rich Egypt a temple was devoted to the rising or setting of one heavenly body, whether star or sun, the place of rising or setting being indicated by the long temple axis, and each sacred place contained many such temples, because there were many heavenly bodies to be watched. Now, to carry on this method of observation and worship where the population was scarce, the best and cheapest thing to do would be to build a circle to represent a sanctuary, and from its centre to imitate the various temple axes by sight-lines marked out by a stone or barrow.”

An examination of a number of circles in the West of England has led to the conclusion that Arcturus was used as a clock-star, to watch the flow of time during the night, at these circles between B.C. 2330 and B.C. 1420.1

Another purpose was the indication of the rising or setting places of the warning or morning stars, i.e., stars rising or setting " heliacally," or an hour before sunrise, such observations being necessary to enable the priests to know when to prepare for the morning sacrifice at the chief festivals. The Pleiades were observed rising and Antares setting, and the dates given by an examination in connection with these stars are about the same as those found in connection with the "clockstars.” Stones, or barrows, are also found, indicating the direction in which sunrise or sunset was to be looked for at the critical times of the year—the beginning of May, August, November, and February.

1 The circles referred to are Tregaseal, The Hurlers, Merrivale, Fernworthy, Stanton Drew, and Merry Maidens.

The May sunrise is thus provided for in all the circles surveyed except The Hurlers. Sir Norman summarises his conclusions as follows:

“If we accept the dates thus astronomically revealed, several interesting consequences follow. The British circles were in full work more than a thousand years before the Aryans or Celts came upon the scene, if the time of their arrival favoured by archæologists is anything like correct. Stoneheuge began as a May temple -a British Memphis—and ended as a Solstitial one, like that of Amen-Ra at Thebes. Another conclusion is that, whatever else went on some four thousand years ago in the British circles, there must have been much astronomical observation and a great deal of preparation for it. Some of the outstanding stones must have been illuminated at night ; so that we have not only to consider that the priests and deacons must have had a place to live in, but that a sacred fire must have been kept going perpetually, or that there must have been much dry wood available. The question, then, is raised whether dolmens, chambered barrows, and the like, were not places for the living and not for the dead, and therefore whether the burials found in some do not belong to a later time."

Discoveries at Old KILPATRICK, DUMBARTONSHIRE. The examination by Mr. Ludovic MacLellan Mann, F.S.A. Scot., of the ancient structure of wood and stone at Old Kilpatrick, on the Clyde, has been carried on from June to September. The area covered by the structure (the precise nature of which is yet by no means clear) has turned out to be much more extensive than was at first conjectured, and indeed its limits on the side farthest from the present river margin have still to be determined. The position of the kitchen midden (and it is possible that one existed in connection with the structure) has unfortunately not being ascertained, Perhaps the most important object yet recovered is the fragment of the rim and upper portion of a vessel of dark-coloured earthenware, possessing features which may be sufficiently distinctive to enable experts to determine its age, and thus to furnish some hint as to the period when the site was occupied. Massive oak logs, some mortised, have been extracted from the foundations. The numerous worked objects in wood and stone, the stones used for polishing, sharpening, and pounding, the remains of animal bones and of cereals and fruit, the plaques of shale worked into shape, and in some cases perforated, and other relies recovered from the site, constitute a mass of material of immense archæological value.


On the brow of a hill in a field on North Heath Farm, about five miles north of Newbury, at an elevation of about 430 ft., one of the farm hands noticed that the top soil of sandy loam had caved in,

« ForrigeFortsett »