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Guilton Grave 28

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posted on 2022-01-12, 14:55 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Grave, as the last, and about two and a half feet deep; much black dust and some coals, the remains of part of a very thick coffin: I say part of it, because half, or at least one side, of it had, at some time or other, rushed down of itself, or been dug down into the pit. It was the right-hand or southern side of it which remained; and on the outside of it (I mean between it and the sand rock) was a larger and longer head of an hasta than I have ever met with before, and also different in its shape. I have, therefore, described it as nearly as I am able: it had, like others mentioned before, been wrapt up in some coarse cloth. Here was also part of a scutum, or square (or perhaps angular) shield; its shape may, in some measure, be guessed at from one side of this remnant of it here described.[1] [M 6007 & M 6008] It seems to have consisted of a square or angular board, of some light but, without doubt, tough wood, not quite half an inch thick, a little concave, in the manner of an half cylinder, inwards, viz., from top to bottom, and to have been covered all over on the outside with a very thin plate of brass, on the outside of which were fixed, here and there, several ornaments of the same metal, like that here described, which is the only loose one I met with, and that other which still remains fixed to the piece of the scutum itself. No doubt but it was originally furnished with an umbo; but that, and all the rest of it, had fallen or been dug down, and been carried away with the sand; for though I very carefully examined what sand lay at that time underneath, I found nothing. The piece here described owed its preservation (next to its not having fallen down with the rest of it) to a large knot in the wood, which is still very sound. This hasta (as I found from the situation of the iron spike, which I found in the bottom of the grave,) must, I think, have been nearly, if not quite, seven feet long. The spike was large, in proportion to the head; and the sockets of both were wider by about a quarter of an inch diameter than any others that I have yet met with.[1] This, as well as the other object figured above, belonged to a pail used for domestic purposes; and not to a shield. Examples are given in the Collectanea Antiqua, vol. ii, p. 161, and pl. xlv: the latter, a fragment found near Dieppe, is very similar to that shown in the upper cut. A pail from Gilton is figured in Boys's Materials for a History of Sandwich, at page 868, and in Douglas's Nenia Britannica, pl. 12, fig. 11: it is now in Mr. Rolfe's collection. Another example is given, the full size, in Mr. Akerman's Remains of Pagan Saxondom, pl. xxvii. Some of the brass ornaments, forming bands round these pails, are triangular, and have been mistaken for coronets for the head; but from the examples now engraven and explained, they cannot fail to be recognised and understood.- C.R.S.

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