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Kingston Down Grave 282
online resourceposted on 2021-11-10, 15:29 authored by Helena HamerowHelena Hamerow
No tumulus; the grave was full three feet deep. Within about six inches of the skeleton, about the middle of the grave, was the skull of some animal about the size of an half-grown rabbit [M 6258], but of a ravenous and fierce nature, as may be guessed from its teeth, four of which, namely, two above and two below, which are placed in the fore part of the mouth, are very long, hooked, and sharp; not unlike those of a cat; they are still very sound (as is also the skull itself), and very white. The sockets of the eyes are remarkably small, like those of a polecat or ferret. The distance between the eyes and the hind part of the skull is remarkably great. No other of this animal's bones were found, except some of the vertebrae of the back. I take it to have been of the polecat kind. At the same depth, and just by, were near a quarter of a pint of bones of some other very small animals, seemingly of birds, moles, or mice. They lay all in a lump together; no skulls were to be found. Might not this larger animal have carried them in? or might he not have voided them with his excrements? At the bottom of this grave lay the skeleton of a grown person, the bones of which were very perfect. No appearance of a coffin, Nothing.Mr. Bateman, in the course of researches in upwards of three hundred barrows, chiefly in Derbyshire, has found about a dozen skulls of polecats. The presence of the bones of rats and mice in contiguity with such skulls may be explained as Mr.Faussett suggests. In the Derbyshire barrows, however, the bones of rats are sometimes found in enormous quantities; indicating, apparently, hundreds, and in some cases, thousands of rats. Mr. Bateman considers them the remains of countless generations of these animals, which have lodged and hybernated in the mounds for a long period.- C.R.S.