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Kingston Down Grave 16

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posted on 10.11.2021, 15:30 by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
Tumulus and grave much as the last. Bones pretty entire: old teeth, and some missing, whose sockets were grown up. An hemispherical iron umbo, as at No. 2, but rather less; in its rim were four broad-headed iron rivets, as usual: three other broader-headed iron studs: the head of an hasta or spear. This lay on the right side and out of the coffin. A triangular piece of iron [M 6103]; I think it is the side, or half, of the chape of a sword. It has been elegantly inlaid with silver net-work or filigree; it has on it two sockets, in one of which is still an ivory hemisphere, and, in the centre of it, a small garnet; the whole much resembling a bird's eye. The other socket has lost what it was once furnished with, but it doubtless had in it such another ivory hemisphere and garnet as the other. It appears to have been wrapped up in, or touched, some linen or other cloth; some of its threads being rusted to it and their figure preserved by it. I imagine the scabbard which it belonged to was of ivory, as many pieces of it were found, all of them with transverse and crossed strokes, diamond-wise, and with circles within circles [M 6113]. Two of the pieces joined together appear as on the other side: there was also a piece of brass and a bit of ivory linked to it, marked also with circles within circles, which piece of ivory I take to have been the upper part of the scabbard, at least to have belonged to it, or the belt. The brass thing seems to have fitted on to the top of the scabbard [M 6102]. Here was also a brass band, if I may so call it, which I also suppose belonged to the scabbard. On the breast lay an heap of bones; without doubt those of some person buried before, and disturbed when this corpse was deposited. There was a great deal of broken iron here, which, I suppose, was the remains of the blade of the sword; it had that appearance. Here was also a small piece of bent brass, which I take to be part of a pair of nippers [M 6114]. But this grave was so entirely filled up, even to the surface of the natural earth, with flints, that the labourers were much troubled to get down to the skeleton; so it is no wonder that everything was thus broken and destroyed by their tools. The agger or tumulus was of common earth and chalk, like the rest of the soil, which is no more stony here than in other places of this down. This person was included in a remarkably thick, burnt, coffin.


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Date excavated

28th August, 1767


Faussett 1856

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