Page images

not aware that of a Cemetery of that period we have had any instance in Wiltshire before that which Mr. J. Y. Akerman, the Secretary of the Society of Antiquaries, has lately brought to light at Harnham, near Salisbury.

Harnham is so close to Salisbury that it is almost a suburb of the city. There is a tradition (mentioned in 1540 by Leland) that a village stood there long before Salisbury itself: but we have not been able to meet with any mention of the name in any

record of those early days to which such tradition would carry us. On the south side of Harnham rises a high chalk hill, and at the foot of this. hill near the village is a field known by the name of “ The Low Field.” It is so called not from the lowness of its situation, but from having been once covered with small conical sepulchral mounds that have now long disappeared under the plough. The word “Low" is a corruption of the Saxon “hlew” or "helow," a tumulus : an etymology which it may be useful to recollect, as the word often occurs in the composition of English names of places, particularly of elevated sites ; by which apparent contradiction, some perplexity is caused to the uninitiated. This is frequently the case in Derbyshire, Staffordshire, and elsewhere; as Caldon Low, a high hill near Cheadle, &c. Wherever the word is found, there is reason to suspect the vicinity of some ancient burial place.1

bronze which had formed the hoops, and about 20 triangular plates, which appeared to have been attached by rivets over one of the hoops, forming a Vandyked” ornament. These thin plates were ornamented with rows of dots, hammered up in the metal. Some minor objects of bronze were also noticed, apparently parts of a fastening or padlock; and remains of two earthen cups. The box had probably been the receptacle of the lady's ornaments. [See Archæol. Journal, July 1851, p. 176].

1 It may be observed in passing, that the derivation of the name Ellows in Staffordshire is explained by Mr. G. W. Collen in his Britannia Saxonica, p. 12, to be from “ Leu,a place of meeting for the men of contiguous hundreds for purposes of appeal and settlement of causes. Whether such derivation applies to the present instance or not, it is at all events a curious coincidence, that the ancient village of Harnham would be conveniently situated in that respect, being nearly at the very point of contact of three, if not of four, Wiltshire hundreds.

To this “Low Field” at Harnham, Mr. Akerman's attention was called last year by Robert Wallan, whom we must introduce to our readers (to those at least whoare agriculturally ignorant of such an officer), as the “Drowner," or manager of the water-meadows, on a farm occupied by Mr. Fawcett, under Viscount Folkestone. He had observed the head of a spear protruding from the ground, and upon further search discovered the iron boss of a shield, with portions of a skeleton. Some other indications having been also noticed, Mr. Akerman was induced to commence operations on a larger scale, which he carried on until he had succeeded in laying open no less than sixty-two graves containing the remains of men, women, and children, of various ages. Upon this extensive disinterment he gave a lecture at Salisbury; and he has also published in the Archæologia a minute and interesting description of it, with some beautiful illustrations. From this we extract some of the most remarkable particulars: Skeleton No. 4. A female; comb on the right side of the

head. 5. The legs crossed. 17. A knife under the left arm. 9. A male child. A knife on the right side : and

a small spear on the right of the head. 10. A plain metal ring on the finger of the left hand. 11. A bronze circular fibula (a kind of ornamental

buckle for fastening a cloak or robe) on each

shoulder: knife by the side. 12. Apparently an aged woman : the thigh bone

measuring 18] inches. On the wrist of the left arm, which lay in the lap, eight blue glass beads. The right arm extended by the side, and on the wrist eleven similar beads. Iron buckle and bronze tweezers at the waist. A cup-shaped bronze fibula on each shoulder, which had imparted a beautiful blue tinge to the collar bones.

Skeleton No. 13. A woman: under the left arm a knife. Between

the knees a very small child with a pair of small fibulæ bronze gilt (see Fig. 1) on its

shoulders. 14. A spear on the right side of the head (Fig. 2): the

blade being made in a peculiar way to cause the

weapon to whirl round in its flight (Fig. 3). 21. An infant. A fibula of late Roman form. 23. Skeleton lying on its right side: the knees

doubled, and hands near the face. On one

of the wrists a bronze armlet. 24. Legs crossed at the ankles. On the right

shoulder a diamond-shaped plate of bronze, which appeared to have been fastened by nails to the staff of the spear, the iron of

which was on the right of the head. 25. An infant: near the left arm two beads, one of

red paste, the other, a double one, of blue

glass. 28. Female: 5 foot long. Teeth very perfect :

skull unusually thick. Body lying on its back. A spiral ring on finger of right hand. At the waist a belt ornament of bronze gilt (Fig. 4). Near the left arm, blue glass and amber beads. Near the left hand the knuckle bone of a sheep, a small brass Roman coin, a small flat square of bone or ivory with marks like those on dice (Fig. 5). On the left breast a small bronze ring, on which

are strung two toothpicks and an ear-scoop. 29. Some fastenings of bronze near the left side of

the head. 36. Grave four feet deep. Silver spiral ring on

middle finger of right hand (Fig. 6). Long strip of bronze near right hip. On the shoulders two bronze fibulæ, beads of various

[graphic][subsumed][subsumed][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »