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Page:A book of folk-lore (1913).djvu/228

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In September 1900, I received a summons to go to Padstow in Cornwall, as at Harlyn Bay near there a prehistoric necropolis had been discovered in blown sand that had been carried some way inland and was hard compacted. A gentleman had bought a field there, and was about to build a house. I found that he was impatient to get his dwelling ready before winter, or, at all events, have the foundations and walls got on with, and he would not allow a slow and careful exploration. It had to be done in a hurry. What was more, and even worse, the fact of the discovery got into the Cornish and Devon papers. The season was that of tourists. The owner charged sixpence a head for visitors, and they came in swarms, pushing everywhere, poking about the skeletons and skulls with their umbrellas and parasols, scrabbling in the graves in quest of "finds", and from the moment this rabble appeared on the scene no work could be done save protection of what had already been uncovered. A more distressing and disappointing exploration could not be imagined. However, some points were determined.

More than a hundred graves were uncovered; they were composed of boxes of slate in which the skeleton sat crouched,