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Guilton Grave A

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posted on 2021-11-10, 15:12 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
One of the miller's servants came into the pit to me and shewed me something sticking out, about three or four inches out of the sand, at about three feet from the surface of the eastern and deepest part of the pit. It appeared to me to be nothing more than some piece of stick or some root; but he assured me it was the head of a spear; and said he was certain there was a grave there from the colour of the .sand, which, in a small line of about eighteen inches in length, parallel to the surface, and about two inches in thickness, appeared in that place of a much darker tinge than the rest of the sand. He told me also, that, if I pleased, he would get a ladder and a spade and see what was in it.It was now pretty late in the day, which made me object to his proposal, imagining he would not have time to through with this work. However, on his assuring that he had been used to the work, and that by the help of another miller, his fellow-servant, he should soon rifle it (for that was his expression, my curiosity prompted me, through at a considerable distance from home, to set them about the business and to wait the event.The miller and his companion immediately produced two ladders and as many spades; and with these began to delve in a very rough manner into the sand rock in an horizontal manner, as if they had designed to have made an oven- The head of the spear (for such indeed it proved) they, at the first or second stroke of their spades, contrived to break all to pieces. Indeed it was very brittle. At the next stroke or two, part of a skull and a few vertebrae of the neck (all much decayed) were indiscriminately with the soil cast down into the pit, without the least care or search after anything. That concern, they said, they left to me and my servant at the bottom, who were nearly blinded with the sand falling on us, and in no small danger of being knocked on the head, if not absolutely buried, by the too zealous impetuosity of my honest labourers.I found, in short, that this method of proceeding would not do; but that if the grave did chance to contain anything curious, it must, most likely, be lost and overlooked. I therefore desired them to desist, and advised them rather to open the ground above, till they should get down to the skeleton, and then carefully to examine the bottom of the grave. This advice, having been used to proceed oven-fashion, if I may so call it, they did not at first at all relish; but after a little persuasion and a little brandy (without which nothing, in such cases as the present, can be done eifectually), they very cheerfully approved and very contentedly followed, so that in a very short time they got to the skeleton, I mean to what remained of it. And though I then went into the grave myself, and very carefully examined every handful of the above mentioned discoloured sand (namely, where the body had lain and rotted), I found nothing but some soft spongy remains of decayed bones.


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Faussett 1856

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