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Guilton Grave 50

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posted on 2021-11-10, 15:13 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Grave from west to east, feet to the east, and about three feet deep. Much black dust, etc., the remains of a burnt coffin: the bones were almost gone: the head of an hasta, on the right side, on the outside of the coffin; it had been wrapped up in some coarse cloth, as appeared from the marks of it on the rust: an hemispherical iron umbo: three large broad-headed iron studs: an hollow iron cylinder, which served for an handle to the shield: two cross pieces of iron, with their rivets, two inches long in the clear, as before at No. 22, etc.: a large iron buckle, as at No. 5: the blades of two knives, a larger and a smaller. At the feet, but on the outside of the coffin, stood a large broken urn of coarse black earth, nearly full of burnt bones, ashes, etc., which seemed to have been mortared, as it were, together into a lump, which had been broken into smaller pieces, and the smaller broken pieces of the urn were carefully placed on the contents of the larger sherds (for the urn was broken into many pieces; but the larger pieces were so placed together as to hold the burnt bones). On searching these venerable remains, I found a copper coin[1] of Augustus; it was a very common one, of middle size; on one side is his head, radiated, and the following legend, DIVVS. AVGVSTVS. PATER.: reverse, a winged thunderbolt and s.c.: another coin, viz., of Tiberius; this is also a very common one, and likewise copper, and of the middle size ; on one side is his head, laureated, with the following legend, TI. C√ÜSAR. AVGVST. F. IMPERAT. v.; reverse, two Victories standing on an altar, or temple, and this legend, ROM. ET. AVG.; and a broken pair of volsellæ, or nippers.[2] I make no doubt, but that this urn, with its contents, was deposited very early in the upper empire; and that it was disturbed and broken when the grave was dug for the reception of the person here buried. And I look upon it as an incontestible proof that this spot has been a Roman burying-place, even from those people's first coming amongst us; or, at least, from their first settling at Rutupiæ, or Richborough, which is but three miles off[3] and within the limits of this very parish of Ash. In short, it is my confirmed opinion, that this place was the burying-place for the soldiers, and others, of that famous garrison, even from their first settling there till the time of their abandoning this isle. That they were buried here before cremation ceased is plain, from the many ossuaries, or bone urns, already mentioned (see Nos. 2, 16, 17, 24, 30, 43). And that they buried here, even to the very dregs of the empire, is also plain, not only from the coin of Constantine the Great, mentioned at No. 3; but even so late as the time of Justinian (which was many years after they had, in general, left this isle), is evident from his gold coin, described at No. 41.[1] Stowe tells us, that 'there was a piece of money in every one of the ossuaries, or bone urns, which, about the year 1576, were discovered in Lolesworth Field (now called Spittle Fields)'. Fol. 177, b.[2] The tweezers, either alone or accompanied by ear-picks and such instruments, are found in the Saxon as well as in the Roman cemeteries; they were worn appended to the girdle.- C.R.S.[3] The burial-place of Rutupiæ was in the immediate vicinity of that station, and not, as Mr. Faussett imagined, at Gilton, three miles distant. The Roman burial-place at Gilton, which he very correctly discerns indications of in the Saxon graves, must have belonged to the people of a vicus on the site of Ash, or thereabouts. The whole of that neighbourhood, including Sandwich, is proved by sepulchral remains, continually discovered, to have been well populated in the time of the Romans.- C.R.S.


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Date excavated

September 28th, 29th, 30th, 1762


Faussett 1856

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