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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/254

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246
Review.

means necessary to place the articles intended for the use of the deceased inside the coffin.

This lady was further remarkable, because upon her breast lay a comb of bone, having on one side fine teeth, and on the other coarse ones. It was evidently meant for her toilette in the next world. How necessary it was considered, we may guess from the frequency with which combs are found, both here and on the Continent, in graves of the period in question, or later. In fact, no respectable, well-to-do corpse—of a woman, at all events—would think of being buried without one. Its importance to the toilette in the next world would doubtless be measured by the requirements of this. Of such requirements we have ample proof in the habits of too many civilised peoples; and these requirements have left a large impress on the folklore of Europe. We may probably regard the owner of the comb at Woodyates as being a person of some position.

One other interment only need here be noticed. It was that of a body which had been cremated, and the ashes of which had been enclosed in a dug-out coffin and buried at the bottom of a drain after the drain had been, for some reason or other, filled up. Fragments of pottery of a fine description were found mixed with the ashes. This was a burial which could only have taken place comparatively late in the history of the settlement; and it affords evidence that the custom of cremation went on side by side with that of unburnt inhumation.

On the whole, as at Woodcuts and Rotherley, so at Woodyates, there is no proof that Christianity had been adopted by the inhabitants. This is the more remarkable, because the latter place was situated on one of the great highways. But it must be remembered that a portion only of the village has been uncovered. Further researches may reveal traces of Christian influence, though not of Christian predominance. On the other hand, we learn that the dwellers at Woodyates believed in the existence of a spirit-world, whither the departed soul must