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débris from the excavations, which led to a number of cavities below its floor. These cavities are the irregular interspaces of a jumbled accumulation of fallen rock and stalagmite, which, some 30 ft. below the chamber floor, contain slowly-moving water.

The physical history of the cave is of peculiar interest; but I must confine myself here to those phases of it which especially bear upon the archæological history. The first chamber is drilled, so to speak, out of the solid limestone ; the second is an enlargement of a mineral vein denuded of its filling. This vein traverses the country for about a mile, and crosses the valley at this point. The fillings of these veins (which are locally termed “rakes "), having been deposited from solution in water, are very susceptible to re-solution ; hence we often find that lines of subterranean drainage coincide for considerable distances with veins. The limestone itself is similarly acted upon by natural water, although not so rapidly. It will, therefore, be easily understood that a watercourse which at first was confined to the limits of the fissure which contained the mineral deposits might eventually be enlarged, at the expense of the parent rock, into a cavern of goodly proportions.

Doubtless you are well aware that water-worn caverns present two diverse phases of existence. At first, a cave of this type is, and must necessarily be, a water-course. The water flowing through it acts as a liquid saw, slowly but surely widening and deepening the channel. But the time comes when the water finds a new course, probably at a lower level. The deserted cave is now the scene of a very different state of things. The limy drip gives rise to sheets of stalignite; and from a variety of causes, earths, sands, and shingles are deposited, while blocks of stone break from the roof and help to swell the accumulations below. The process may go on until the cave is completely choked; and it may remain thus indefinitely. Or the history may repeat itself: water may again invade the cave ; the deposits be partly or wholly stripped away, to be followed, perchance, by another period of quiescence, when the work of accumulation will be resumed.

This is well illustrated in Thirst House. In the first

chamber, Mr. Salt's excavations have proved the existence of sundry deposits which appear to thin out towards the rocky threshold, Near the end of the chamber a recent excavation has yielded the following sequence, in descending order :-(a) dark soil, 18 ins. thick, containing bones of existing British animals, and Romano-British objects; (1) cave-earth with stones (many obviously fallen from the roof), 5 ft. thick, containing throughout animals' bones as above, a seam of charcoal indicating a hearth, and near the bottom pieces of rude hand-made pottery of pre-Roman character ; (c) yellow clay, 10 ins. thick, which contained neither bones nor relics indicative of the presence of man ; (d) several seams of stalagmite, with intervening bands of cave-earth; and (e) a rocky surface, but whether that of a huge fallen block or the bottom of the cave, was not certain.

In the second chamber, Mr. W. Millett, Junr., who did excellent work in this part of the cave about ten years ago, reported the following succession of beds resting upon the jumbled mass of stalagmite and fallen rock noted above a) a blackish soil containing RomanoBritish remains; (b) layers of loose stones, gravel, and thin stalagmite ; (c) clay and sand with stones, from 4 ft. to 6 ft. thick ; (d) a thick seam of stalagmite ; and (e) a breccia consisting of small stones cemented together with stalagmite. The two sets of beds fairly agree; but there is an important point to be noted about the second chamber. Its floor, as noticed above, irregularly sinks to a lower level than that of the first chamber; but on its right-hand side, near the roof, is the well-defined edge of an ancient sheet of stalagmite, indicating the former presence of a floor, which was approximately on a level with that of the latter chamber. It is clear that at some distant date, long anterior to the Roman occupation, the deposits of the second chamber were undermined and removed so far as their finer materials went, by water flowing through the mineral fissure below their level. The thick sheet of stalagmite, just referred to, may have remained suspended like a ceiling, as has been observed in Brixham Cave, near Torquay, but ultimately a fall of rock from the roof must have crashed it down ; its larger fragments, together with the larger masses of rock embedded in the ancient floor, forming the jumbled accumulation which underlies the existing beds. There is reason to think, then, that this ancient stalagmite was a continuation of that of the first chamber, and that the whole cave had a tolerably level floor.

Great as must have been the time required for the accumulation of these deposits and the changes just described, they are all comprised within the Recent period of the geologist, and nothing has been found as yet to encourage a belief that the cave contains Pleistocene beds. That it was resorted to by the pre-Roman Britons is beyond doubt, but their remains, so far, have been very scanty. The several seams of charcoal which have been discovered at low levels, certainly suggest cooking, and cooking a dwelling-place, permanent or temporary. This is about all we can say of Thirst House in pre-Roman times.

The Romano-British "finds," on the other hand, have been of unusual interest and number, certainly unsurpassed by those of any other English cave. These remains have been derived from the upper beds of both chambers, but the majority came from the slope below the entrance, outside. The superficial soil of this slope, varying from a few inches to 3 ft. in thickness, was dark and carbonaceous, charged with bones and potsherds. It was impossible to mistake its nature. It obviously consisted, in the main, of refuse thrown out of the cave by its RomanoBritish occupants. All the potsherds were of the tyr found on most sites of this period, and Mr. Salt estimates their number as about thirty to each square yard. The various objects of intrinsic value, as fibulæ, pins, coins, and the like, were tolerably evenly diffused throughout the dark soil, both within and without the cave, just as might be expected if casually dropped and lost.

At the foot of the slope, Mr. Salt discovered, in 1896, a human skeleton, extended on its back in an enclosure of rough stones, and near it were the indications of two burnt interments, one of which had been in a wheel-made cinerary urn, then fallen to pieces. Associated with these interments were various remains of Romano-British age,

the chief of which was an elegant armlet of looped bronze wire. Two years later, he uncovered another extended interment, in a cist a little higher up the slope. This skeleton was accompanied by a leaf-shaped iron spearhead and a ball of iron ore. There is no doubt at all that these were interments of the Roman era, and probably the interred had lived in or frequented the cave.

To attempt even a bare list of the “finds ” would exceed my space, and would be unnecessary, as Mr. Salt has kindly consented to exhibit his things at the Congress. His collection is thoroughly representative, and contains the majority of the objects which have been found. Mr. Millett gave many of his to the Buxton Free Library, where they may be seen. There must be a considerable number in unknown hands, for at one time there was much unauthorised digging at the cave by all sorts and conditions of folk, and it is known that some interesting things were found. Many of the objects have been described in the journals of the Derbyshire Archæological and Natural History Society, and in the Reliquary for 1897; and a complete list of the residue, so far as Mr. Salt's collection is concerned, will be found in the book about to be issued.

Most varieties of Romano-British pottery, including Samian and imitation Samian, have been discovered at Deep Dale : beads of coloured glass; needles, borers, pins and dress-fasteners of bone; and rings, hooks, buckles, knives, staples, nails, and many other objects of iron. Of bronze, great wealth has been found-penannular, ring, and disc-shaped brooches ; harp, cruciform, and dolphinshaped fibulæ, some with traces of original gold and silver plating, or rich enamelling; an S-shaped dragonesque brooch of Late-Keltic design, still retaining its old settings of enamel, and other objects, notably a hinged ornament and a set of toilet accessories in the same style of decoration ; the elegant armlet above referred to; tweezers, pins, and oddments of all sorts. Besides these, a number of coins ranging from Antoninus Pius to Claudius Gothicus; sundry flint arrow-heads, scrapers, and flakes, red ochre, and whetstones have been turned up. The bones have represented most of the animals which have lived in Britain during the recent period, including the domestic breeds.

It is an interesting question, but one not easily answered : Why and to what purpose did these ancient folk frequent this cave? The thickness of the RomanoBritish deposits, and the large number of the objects they contained, show that it was in long use during that period ; and the large amount of refuse thrown "out of doors” indicates that there was no need to observe secrecy, with regard to this use. It was not a hidingplace. The coal and charcoal, the multitudes of broken pots, and the refuse generally point to habitation, which, as far as we can see, was peaceable and settled. To say more would be mere speculation.

In spite of all that Mr. Salt has accomplished, there is still excellent work to be done, especially in the first chamber; but to do it thoroughly and systematically would involve considerable expense. It is to be regretted that the Derbyshire Archæological and Natural History Society has not taken up so promising a task. I know that, in the hope that this Society would one day take it up, Mr. Salt has done as little digging as possible in this chamber, so that its deposits should remain intact.

OTHER CAVES AND ROCK-SHELTERS. During the last four years, Messrs. Salt have digged into several small caves and rock-shelters in the vicinity of Buxton. The results, it is true, have not been striking or important, but the evidence has been sufficient to show that these cavities have been put to various uses by man from remote times to almost the present day. What these uses exactly were can only be guessed. The “ finds,” however, scarcely point to long-continued habitation. Doubtless these cavities have been a shelter from the storm and a rest by night, to wanderers of all ages. Children, too, must have been their frequenters, and not a few of the objects which have been found may have been dropped by them.

From a small cave on the north side of Ashwood Dale, just opposite the gas-works, our friends of the spade

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