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Guilton Grave 94

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posted on 2021-11-10, 15:12 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Grave as the last, and about three feet and a half deep. Remains of a strong burnt coffin: the bones nearly gone: thirteen small glass and earthen beads, and one large one; these were about the place of the neck: the blades of two knives: many small iron links, as before, at the feet: and in the coffin were two iron hinges, as of a small box: an iron instrument, exactly like that which is described at No. 15, etc.: another iron instrument about six inches long, with a ringle at one end, and a hook at the other: a mirror[1] or speculum [M 6074]; it is of a mixed metal, flat and circular; it is very highly polished on one side; it is near five inches diameter and somewhat convex on the polished side; it is much injured by rust, but not so much but that one may plainly see one's face in it. I suppose it formerly had a handle to it, somewhat in the manner described by pricked lines on the opposite page[2]but it was found broken as I have there represented it; the pieces, however, lay near it, so that I make no doubt but that it was broken by the labourer's spade, the edges being quite fresh as if just broken: there was also, close to the broken pieces, a bit of swollon disfigured iron, which might perhaps have been the handle. I esteem it as a very great curiosity. Here was also a small flat ring [M 6075]; I think it is silver; it is curiously wrought on one side, which is roundish; the other side is quite flat; I fancy it has been a buckle. Here was also a small piece of brass, and another piece [M 6076 & M 6077]; I imagine they also served for a sort of buckle, viz., by drawing the linen, or whatever else it might be, through the hole, and then running some pin or tongue through it along the groove. Here was also a small brass instrument, somewhat like the prongs of a fork [M 6078]; I guess that all these last-mentioned articles were included in a small box, to which the hinges above mentioned and described belonged. Here were also several pieces of iron, so deformed that nothing could be made out of them, and also, in different places, several long nails, as before. This certainly was a woman's grave.[1]The mirror is not unfrequently found among the contents of the graves of Roman women. Examples very much resembling this have been discovered at London (see Archaologia, vol. xxvi, p. 467); at Colchester (see a specimen now in the British Museum); and at other places in this country and throughout the continent; those which have been chemically examined are found to be of a mixed metal, composed of copper and tin, much the same as the modern compound called speculum metal. The presence of such an object in a Saxon grave is remarkable, and particularly interesting in connection with the other Roman instruments and ornaments which we have noticed in the Gilton cemetery; for they indicate not only a close chronological relationship between the Saxon settlers and the Roman inhabitants of this part of Kent; but also a striking correspondence between the habits and customs of the two peoples. This affinity is less perceptible in the midland counties.- C.R.S. [2]This proved, on cleaning, to be the handle, as shewn in pl. 13.


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Date excavated

August 8th, 9th, 10th, 1763


Faussett 1856

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    The Novum Inventorium Sepulchrale


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