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“No time has been lost in making more minute examination and excavation of some of the mounds; the first sod was cut on one having an almost perfectly domed-like appearance.
“With the exception of a small dent' in the apex, the turf was that of the more luxuriant parts of the hillside, with the addition of tufts of rushes and patches of velvety moss.
“ The sod once removed revealed the presence of an earthy deposit of sand and vegetable mould, which was encountered to a depth of 2 ft. 6 ins. near the circumference of the mound, showing a thickness at the top of from 18 ins. to 2 ft.; the boulder-built wall of the structure was rude and strong, and well suited to give effect to the intention of the builders. The mounds have each a narrow doorway, seldom more than 12 ins. wide, and never more than 15 ins. The jambs are invariably in their original position, but the lintels have been displaced, and in two instances the excavations revealed the presence of such a stone lying on the doorstep, or threshold ; on being replaced on the jambs by the excavator, the stones seemed to be those originally used. The weather has, unfortunately (even for this climate), been of an exceptionally stormy character, and the rainfall a record; however, with such working weather as some of our sunny, frosty days afford, I expect to be able to add to our knowledge. One of the mounds has been completely excavated, but no relics, bones, or implements have been discovered ; a flooring of heather, brackens, and turf mould firmly kneaded into a cake about 3 ins. thick, was encountered at a depth of 2 ft. 6 ins. from the doorstep, below a deposit of gravel and sand, about 6 ins. deep, and then the natural surface of the mountain side. No cavity had been made; the structure was entirely above and on the natural sloping surface of the glen side. The heather and bracken floor was laid on a bedding of small birch branches, very much decayed, the largest about 2 ins. in diameter.
“The mounds have locally been called the shielings', but the uses for which shielings are required put any serious consideration of such a suggestion at once out of court, and more strongly impress on the mind the idea of their being the possible homes of an early pigmy race-a race (which upon study and examination of possible revelations even here) may have suggested many of those weird and romantic tales of our folk-lore, more particularly those associated with the ways and wonders of our friends of childhood, the fairies—which, so far from being entirely creatures of our imagination, may, with the revelations possible to the pick and shovel on the roinantic hillside of Auchingaich, turn to a reality in the persons of a primitive pigmy race, seeking shelter and protection in this picturesque and lonely Highland
glen. An idea of the beauty of the scene may be gathered from a glance at the glen, when viewed looking downwards and towards the
On the day on which the view here given was sketched, beneath a sky of cloudless blue, the distant horizon was broken by the conical mountain, Goatfell, piercing the sunlit sea, which shimmered in silvery belts between the islands studding the noble Firth of Clyde. Various promontories and headlands lead up to the emboldened middle distance, where we catch a glimpse of the Strath of Glen Fruin, with the tributary Auchingaich leading right up to the foreground; a little beyond which, on both sides, we have the sites of the mound-dwellings, more or less defined, according to the light and state of the weather. At no time are they so pronounced as just before sunset, when their outlines are lit up by the last lingering rays of the setting sun, and their shadows increased and intensified, giving added beauty to the fairy scene, as well as emphasising the features from an objective point of view.
“ The drawing to the left of the picture represents the first single chamber excavated, and gives a very fair idea of what the first day's excavation revealed. That in the centre shows a three-chambered mound in course of excavation. The structure is in the same style as the single chamber. The measurements of each of the apartments gives a diameter of 6 ft., and the boulder-built walls rise to a height of about 3 ft. ; the doorway is 15 ins. wide. Immediately outside, and touching the jambs of the doorway, a flat slab was unearthed, 2 ft. 3 ins. long, by 2 ft. wide, and 4 ins. thick, which had evidently been the lintel, as, when again so placed, it fitted admirably. Near the centre, on one of the sides, the stone was decidedly rounded, and had that peculiar feel as if it had been much rubbed or handled. This feature could readily be accounted for on the supposition that the occupants, when crawling in and out, constantly rubbed the surface, and with long and continued use the stone would be so affected. The other drawing shows the excavators in consultation, and a! ove we have an up-glen view of the Auchingaich, in which the geological characteristics of the locality may be seen, with the rushing stream rolling onward to the sea in many a silvery pool over its rocky bed of schist, while at this point its volume is increased by the two tiny little burns which bound the mound-colony on the northern and southern frontier. A solitary rowan tree or mountain-ash stands sentinel on the brink of the burn, its as yet emerald-green leaves in strong and pleasing contrast to the clusters of shining vermilion berries which bend its fruitful boughs, and afford food and a roosting-place to the thrushes and ring-ouzels which still linger in the sheltered nooks of the glen, down which we now bend our steps; gratified with the results of our earliest efforts to read this new page in the unrevealed history of early man in the ancient Colquhoun county, and with the firm conviction and intention to toil on until every feature has been revealed by spade and pick, of what may in future fitly be called a Pictish Pompeii.'”
An interesting discussion followed, in which the Chairman, Mr. Rayson, Mr. Folkard, Rev. H. D. Astley, and others, took part. Various opinions were expressed as to the probable value of the discovery ; but it was agreed that with the data at present furnished, it is impossible to say by whom, for what purpose, or at what period, the mounds were constructed. The Rev. H. D. Astley remarked that a Paper on the subject, by Mr. D. McRitchie, F.S.A.Scot., is to be found in The Antiquary for December, 1900, in which the author states that he saw no “lintels.” In other respects his account agrees with Mr. Donnelly's.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 5TH, 1900.
C. H. COMPTON, Esq., V.-P., in the Chair. S. W. Kershaw, Esq., M.A., F.S.A., was unanimously elected to a seat on the Council.
A Paper entitled “ Notes on a Ramble in South Devon,” by T. Cann Hughes, Esq., M.A., was read, in the author's absence, by Mr. S. Rayson, Sub-Treasurer. In the course of his Paper, Mr. Hughes said :
“A curious feature of the church at Totnes is a large buttress at the south-east angle of the chancel, which formerly had a way through it, now blocked up. From time to time considerable discussion has taken place as to the object of this curious passage (see Notes and Queries, First Ser., vols. ii and iii), but it is still an unsolved problem. One suggestion made is, that it formed a place of deposit for the bodies of persons seized for debt. The church, which is dedicated to St. Mary, possesses, according to Mr. Harry Hems, one of the finest examples of a stone rood-screen to be met with in any of our parish churches. The screen is 60 ft. in length, with parcloses of rather unusual design. It is full of light tracery, and rich with niches and tabernacle work. The screen is groined only on the west side, all the tracery in the face groining being pierced through. It was erected to the order of the Corporation of Totnes in 1460." The chief features of Dartmouth, Ashburton (one of the old Stannary towns created by Edward I in 1285), Berry Pomeroy, Kingsbridge, Abbots Kerswell, Ipplepen, and other places, were also described.
Antiquarian Intelligence. Recent Discoveries in Rome.—In connection with our Hon. Correspondent Dr. Russell Forbes's account of the discoveries in the Forum, up to the spring of 1899, which will be found below, we print the following résumé of the more recent finds which have rewarded the patience of those who have been engaged in the work of excavation during the present year—while awaiting a further and more detailed account from Dr. Forbes himself :
, The excavations in the Forum and on the Palatine Hill, at Rome, yield almost daily interesting vestiges of the ancient city. By the discoveries already made, not only has the topography of many of the buildings and monuments been corrected, but it has been established that the Forum, such as it now is, is really the Imperial Forum, erected upon that of Republican times, which itself displaced the Forum of the Early Kings. Up to the time when Signor Baccelli began the excavations, almost nothing was known as to the Forum of the Republic and that of the Kings, but to-day may be seen many monuments of the periods preceding the Empire, and some even of the pre-historic period. But even the monuments and remains of Imperial times, and others of later date, have been buried for many centuries, and these also are now brought to light. The following notes upon the more important of the recent discoveries will be interesting to those who have watched the gradual bringing to light of the remains of the Eternal City.
“Up to quite a recent date the Rostra, which many years ago were discovered near the Arch of Septimius Severus, were believed to be the sole monument of the sort existing in the Forum. It was from them that the orators addressed the people assembled in the Comitium ; they were ornamented with the bronze prows (rostra) of the ships captured from the enemies of Rome. Upon them were statues of the Roman Ambassadors who had been slain by the Fidenati, the equestrian statue of Sylla, a statue of Pompey, and two statues of Cæsar. It was Cæsar who had these rostra moved to the site they now occupy. They consisted of a rectangular platform, which was elevated to a height of nearly 10 ft. above the level of the Forum, and they had a front of about 80 ft. Along the front were the bronze ship-beaks from which the platform derived its name. Quite recently the director of the excavations has discovered the rostra of the last days of the Republic. They consist of five small vaulted chambers, which supported the level of the platform, and they are shown in this form on a coin of Palikanus. It seems certain, therefore, that the rostra hitherto believed to be those of the Republican period are in fact of Imperial times, and that the true Republican rostra are those which have just been brought to light under the Teniple of Saturn.
“The recently-uncovered remains of the ancient basilica, founded in B.c. 179 by M. Fulvius Nobilior, and restored a hundred years later by M. Æmilius Lepidus during his Consulship, and known as the Basilica Fulvia-Emilia, are very important and interesting. Having been injured by fire, the basilica was restored by Augustus and by members of the
Æmilia. The fine Phrygian columns which Valentinian and Theodosius gave to the Basilica of St. Paul in A.D. 386 belonged to the basilica Æmilia as restored by Augustus. In the fifth century the basilica Æmilia was no longer in existence ; on its site was constructed a portico which was probably begun by Petronius Maximus, Prefect of Rome, and completed by Theodoric. To the edifice of Theodoric belongs the pavement, composed of small blocks of different-coloured marble arranged in geometrical patterns. The basilica Æmilia contributed to the new portico some of its walls of large blocks of tufa, and some of its columns. To it also belong a pavement of African marble, and two fragments of architrave on which are traces of an inscription referring to the reconstruction by Æmilius, as also some fragments of frieze decorated with sculptured ox-skulls and large patere.
Among the most important of the recent discoveries is that of the Christian basilica of the Palatine. The origin of this splendid church is still uncertain. The paintings which decorated its internal walls are of extreme interest. In accordance with the rules of ancient Christian architecture, the church has a large portico, three aisles divided by columns of grey marble, and an apse at the east end. The paintings are evidence of its antiquity; some of them are of the purest Byzantine style, possibly of the time of Justinian. The fine proportions of this church, its ancient paintings, and its situation in the Imperial Palace, seem to point to the conclusion that it is the actual Santa Maria Antica, the first cathedral of the Popes. We know that Pope John VII adorned this church, in 705-707, with new paintings and a rich marble pulpit. The Liber Pontificalis states that John added to it a residence for the Bishop of Rome, and paintings 1900