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Chartham Down Grave E

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posted on 2021-11-10, 14:56 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
In the barrow E was found a piece of gold, one inch and a quarter in diameter, with a corded wire round the edge of it, and an eye, by which it seems to have been hung to something. On the piece itself are chased out several odd figures; perhaps the characters belonging to some angel or spirit, and that this piece of gold was worn hanging from the neck upon the breast, as an amulet or charm to keep away evil spirits, and may have been buried with the dead for the same purpose.[1] Along with this were also found four amethyst beads and several brass pins one inch and a half long, with round flat heads, through which are round flat holes; then the pin is round for half an inch, and after that spreads out a little, having a ridge along the middle three-quarters of an inch long, which falls off to an edge on each side and tapers to a point. These, I believe, were fastened by a loop through the eye to the edge of the garment, and were used to fasten the garment together by running them through it, as we do common pins.[2] There is one piece exactly like the others, except that, instead of ending in a point, it ends in a cross; and such another was found in a lump of several of them, cemented together by the rust of some adjacent iron. There are two such other lumps of several joined together by rust; and in each of them there appears a pin, which, instead of a cross, hath something at the end in form of a small battle-axe.[3] Here were, likewise, found several pieces of brass in form of a small barrel, three-quarters of an inch long, joined at one end to a flat piece of brass, two inches long, a quarter of an inch over where it joins to the barrel, and three-quarters of an inch wide at the other end, where are remains of hinges. What these could be I cannot imagine, never having heard of ay description given of them in any book I any such thing being found anywhere have met with.[4][1] It was an ornament, or pendant, for a woman's neck. I have several, both of gold and silver; all found in women's or children's graves. - B. F.[2] I have found many such; and from frequent and careful observation, I have, long since, plainly discovered that they used to be hung in clusters, as it were, to the ends of small iron chains, which were fixed to the women's waists, pretty much in the same manner as scissors, etc., are now-a-days worn. They seemed to have served for many different uses, such as ear-pickers, tooth-pickers, bodkins, nail-parers, etc. These are never found in men's graves. - B.F.[3] I have one of the exact shape of a woodman's bill. See Kingston, No. 13 (pl. 12, fig. 7). - B. F.[4] The use of these pieces of brass was, as I have likewise plainly discovered, to hang the above mentioned little brass instruments to, namely, at that part or end, which the Doctor calls the hinge, from which they depended by little iron chains. I imagine they had a hook or hole at the other end, by which they were suspended from, or connected with, the girdle. They are rarely to be met with; though chains for the same use, without them, are very common. I have hitherto found but three of them, namely, at Ash, No. 76; and at Kingston, Nos. 50 and 142. I never found any of these in any other graves but in those of women. - B. F


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