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Bekesbourne Grave 30
online resourceposted on 10.11.2021, 14:48 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Another grave, rather deeper, which contained the almost decayed bones of a child, to which it is likely this quoit belonged. On the left side, near the hip, were found several very small, and thin plates of brass, of different shapes; and the blade of a small knife. It occurred to me, that these little laminæ might have been a sort of ornament to the handle of the knife; but this is conjecture. Here was also another iron instrument, much like that described at the last number, but much smaller. Here was also a piece of doubled leather [M 6710], regularly cut full of square holes. I imagine it to have been the sheath of the knife; to it is riveted a small piece of brass, as I have represented it in the figure. I take its use to have been to receive a string or strap under it, in order to hang it to the side of the wearer. Near the place of the neck of the infant was a small silver bulla (as Kingston, No. 298); and another pair of very small iron shears, as before, were found in another part of the grave; as were also the bones of some very small animal, as of a bird, mole, or mouse; these were quite at the bottom, and had, as I think, been deposited in a small black urn, among the sherds of which they were found; it was at the feet of the grave, and being very brittle, was crushed in pieces by the pressure of the labourer's foot. Perhaps they might be the remains of some little animal of which the child was fond. I met with two instances of this kind during my digging at Crundale. It certainly was the custom of the ancients to bury, not only such things with the dead as are usually found with their remains, but animals, such as they were fond of in their life-time. This urn was very small, and had a narrowish, mouth, but wide enough for the purpose of receiving so small an animal. Here were also some longish iron nails, though there was no appearance of a coffin. After we had dug about eighteen inches, as I think, beyond these two graves, we found in the earth that composed the bank, a very fair copper coin of the Emperor M. Aur. Val. Maximianus, who was made partner in the empire with Diocletian, about the year of Christ 285. It is of the second size, and not very common. On the obverse is his head, laureated, and this legend, IMP. MAXIMIANVS. P. F. AVG. On the reverse, a female figure, standing, and holding in one hand fruit, and in the other ears of corn; and this legend, SALVIS. AVGG. ET CAESS. FEL. KART. In the exergue is the letter B. This emperor was called 'Herculeius'.
Date excavated2nd June, 1773
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