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for his interesting communication, there were two or three points in it, which invited discussion.
In the first place there was an allusion to the origin of Boulders which he, Mr. Lukis, would leave to the geologists present to explain. In the next place there was the form of Wayland Smith's Cave, which the Professor, in his admirable and accurate ground plan, had shown to be a Latin Cross. This Mr. Lukis conceived to arise from an accidental circumstance. It was well known that Cromlechs not unfrequently had side chambers subsequently added to them. This may be seen in the published plans of New Grange, and other Cromlechs, in the instance before us, as well as in that of Du Tus, in Guernsey, and in those which abound in Britany and Scandinavia. The Professor exhibits a ground plan of a fine Cromlech on Lancresse Common, in Guernsey, in which a similar chamber is marked; but that one, which Mr. Lukis explored in conjunction with his brothers in 1838, for the first time, barely amounts to more than a small recess. These chambers, Mr. Lukis conceived, were additions subsequently made, sometimes on one side only, at other times on both sides of the original central construction. Here, at Wayland Smith's Cave, there was a chamber on both sides ; but the reason for their being opposite to each other, and in the centre of the main line, so as to form with it the other limbs of a Latin Cross, was apparent. The side chambers are proportionably larger than the central one, and required to be inclosed in that part of the barrow where they would be most covered with earth. In a mound of comparatively small dimensions, the centre would present the only favourable position.
Again, Professor Donaldson 'seems to consider that this monument was never inclosed in a mound of earth. This, Mr. Lukis stated, was not his opinion. On the contrary he believed not only that Wayland Smith's Cave had been inclosed in a barrow, but that all Cromlechs were originally so inclosed. He did not think that there was any evidence to disprove this statement. All the Cromlechs he had seen, and he had carefully inspected and examined many in different parts of Europe, had confirmed his opinion. They were, in fact, sepulchral vaults inclosing the ashes of the dead, which have been in all ages respected and carefully protected from the rude hands of men. The very fact of such gigantic labours having been bestowed upon their erection is a proof of the reverence they felt for the mortal remains of their friends. It was not likely, therefore, that they would have erected chambers for their reception, open not only to the light and to the elements, but to the irreverent gaze and treatment of different and hostile tribes.
And this would lead him, (Mr. Lukis,) to touch upon one other point, viz., his entire disbelief in the use and appropriation of the cap-stones of Cromlechs for the sacrifice of human victims. This was, he thought, an idea pretty generally exploded, now that their sepulchral nature had been satisfactorily ascertained. The capstones having been always covered with a mound would also render this use of them impossible.
Mr. Cunnington agreed with Mr. Lukis as to the non-sacrificial nature of Cromlechs in general, and of Wayland Smith's Cave in particular. He also disputed Professor Donaldson's conclusions with reference to Boulders, and said there could be but little doubt that at a very remote period the whole of the chalk district of England was covered with sand. The action of the sea having removed the softer portions, the more solid masses were left scattered over the surface in the manner they were now seen.
Mr. Estcourt said some years ago he heard Professor Buckland give a familiar explanation of the origin of the stones. Dr. Thurnam also disputed some portions of the learned Professor's theory, supporting his view by reference to a ground-plan of the spot hitherto unpublished, which was made by Aubrey about the latter third of the 17th century. His remarks, as well as some fur observations made by him, at the request of Sir John Awdry and other members, when the Cave was visited the next day, will be found in the following paper.
On Wapland's Smithy, and on the
Traditions connected with it.
By JOHN THURNAM, M.D., F.S.A.
HE ruinous ortholithic chamber, known as Wayland Smith's
Cave, was doubtless a sepulchral monument of the same general description as the chambered long-barrows at West Kennet in this county, at Uley in Gloucestershire and at Stoney Littleton, near Wellow, in Somersetshire. All of these have now been more or less carefully examined, and have been found to consist of long mounds of earth and stones, wider and higher at one end than the other; under which larger end is a chamber or series of chambers built up of large stones; the chambers, if more than one, arranged transept-fashion, with a gallery or covered passage leading to them from the edge of the tumulus. Such is likewise the construction of the great chambered barrows of New Grange and Dowth, near the Boyne in Ireland, and also of those in Caithness, in Scotland, excepting that in all these the enclosing mounds are of a circular and not of an oblong form."
Professor Donaldson's description of the ruined chamber appears to be a very accurate and careful one; and his plan, so far as it relates to this part of the structure, and to the original position of the displaced covering stones, is a very acceptable contribution to the ichnography of early British remains. Professor Donaldson's attention was attracted by three stones about fifteen feet to the east of the ruined chamber, which he supposes formed part of “a circular outside ring" or "enclosure;” and accordingly, in his restored plan, he shows a circle of such stones, of a diameter of about 50 feet, with the cruciform chambers in the centre. The notion that
1 The sepulchral chambers of Du Tus and L'Ancresse, in Guernsey, explored by Mr. Lukis, were also covered by round tumuli, and surrounded by circles of standing stones. (Journ. Brit. Archæol. Assoc., vol. i., p. 26, vol. iv., p. 329.) The mounds covering the great chamber of Gavr Innis, in Brittany, (Ibid, vol. iii., p. 269,) and the “Giant's Caves” of Scilly are also circular. The oblong tumulus with chambers confined to its eastern or southern end, is, so far as we know, peculiar to the counties of Somerset, Wilts, Gloucester and Berks. Though with analogies to both, it corresponds more nearly with the “Giants Chamber” than with the so-called “ Cromlechs” of Denmark, as these are described by Professor Worsaae. “Primeval Antiquities,” 1849, pp. 78, 86.
Wayland Smith's Cave” was enclosed within a circle of stones is one already adopted by Mr. J. Y. Akerman, in his “Observations on this celebrated monument;” in which he remarks that “traces of this circle are still visible around the cromlech."1 We owe to a notice by the painstaking, though desultory, John Aubrey, the possibility of correcting this inference, and of showing that the peristalith, or ring of stones, by which the tumulus was certainly surrounded, had an oval or oblong, not a circular, arrangement. This is the disposition of the enclosing stones which obtained in the case of the long-barrow at West Kennet already alluded to, and also in that called the Millbarrow at Monkton, in the same neighbourhood, and about fifteen miles distant from Wayland Smith's Cave. In both of these mounds, the chambers as well as the enclosing stones were of the Sarsen blocks of the district, similar to those used in the construction of the Berkshire “ Cave."
In the unpublished work of Aubrey, the “Monumenta Britannica,” the old Wiltshire antiquary, after treating of “Barrows" and “Urnes,” has a separate heading of “Sepulchres,” which he distinguishes by this name from ordinary barrows or tumuli of earth. He notices and gives sketches of one in Anglesey, (Y Lleche, near Holyhead,) one at Banner's Down near Bath, and of the megalithic chamber near Saumur, in France. His more numerous examples, however, are all from North Wilts; and comprise the long stone barrows at Monkton and West Kennet, referred to above; another on the down between Marlborough and Hackpen, probably that of which the ruinous remains may be seen near Rockley; that
1 Archæologia 1847, vol. xxxii., p. 312. The plan and view of the “Cave," which accompany Mr. Akerman's paper, are from actual admeasurement by Mr. C. W. Edmonds, who shows a few stones overlooked by Professor Donaldson.