The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons, and Ornaments of Great Britain/Chapter 21

Fig. 381.—Hungry Bentley. 1/1



Among all savage tribes the love of ornament and finery is very great; though it cannot well be greater than that exhibited by more highly civilized races. It has, however, to content itself with decorations of a simpler kind, and requiring fewer mechanical appliances in their production; so that shells, feathers, and trophies of the chase, and ornaments wrought from bone and the softer, yet showy, kinds of stone, usually replace the more costly products of the loom and the jeweller's art.

The ornaments commonly found in this country associated with interments belonging to the period when stone implements were in use, are for the most part formed of jet, shale, and amber, and occasionally, as has already been mentioned, of bone, and possibly ivory, and even gold. Nearly all, however, appear to be characteristic of the time when stone was already being superseded by bronze for cutting purposes, and on this account, as well as from their not being implements, but personal decorations, some of them but slightly differing from those in use at the present day, I had at first some scruples in including them in this work. It would, however, appear incomplete, were I not to take a short review of some of the principal discoveries of such objects; and this will also incidentally be illustrative of some of the funeral customs of prehistoric times and of the use of amulets of stone.

The simplest form of ornament, if indeed it can be properly so called, is the button, which not unfrequently accompanies interments of an early date. The usual shape is that of an obtusely conical disc, in the base of which two converging holes are drilled so as to form a V-shaped passage, through which the cord for attachment could be passed. These buttons are formed of different materials, but most commonly of jet or shale.

Fig. 369.—Butterwick. 1/1

In Fig. 369 a ruder example than usual is shown, full size. It is formed of a fine grained limestone, and was found by Canon Greenwell,[1] F.R.S., with a contracted body, in a barrow at Butterwick, Yorkshire, in company with five buttons of jet, from 11/4 to 13/4 inches in diameter, of which one that is pierced in an unusual manner is engraved as Fig. 370. With the body, were a small dagger-knife, awl, and flat celt of bronze, and a flint flake trimmed along one edge. Another large plain button was found by the same explorer in a cist at Great Tosson,[2] Northumberland. A jet button nearly square and ornamented with marginal lines was found in a cist on Dundee Law.[3]

Fig. 370.—Butterwick. 1/1

The cruciform ornament on the stone stud would at first sight suggest the possibility of its being the Christian symbol. It is, however, so simple a form of ornament, that it may be said to belong to all time. Numerous instances of its occurrence at an early period have been collected by M. de Mortillet.[4]

Fig. 371.—Rudstone. 1/1

Another instance of the kind is afforded by two jet studs found in two barrows near Thwing and Rudstone,[5] Yorkshire, by Canon Greenwell, one of which is engraved as Fig. 371. In one case, the button lay about the middle of the right arm, and with it a highly ornamented ring of jet pierced at the sides. In the other instance, there was a second jet button, as well as a ring of the same character, a bronze dagger-knife, and other objects, some of which have been already described.[6] One of the rings is shown in Fig. 372.[7] In both there are two V-shaped perforations close together, and formed in the body of the ring by drilling two converging holes. There can be little doubt that the ring and stud together formed some sort of clasp or fastening, but in what manner the string which passed through the perforation, was managed, it is difficult to say. Another jet ring and a kind of button were also found in a barrow at Rudstone.[8]

Fig. 372.—Rudstone. 1/1

A very highly ornamented jet ring of this class, square in section, and with a sort of beading at each angle, the two faces and periphery decorated with fine raised lines, and with three perforations as if for suspension, has been engraved in the "Crania Britannica."[9] It was found with the skeleton of a man, in a cist in a barrow near Avebury, Wilts, with one small and two large jet studs, the largest almost 3 inches in diameter, a flint flake, and an ovoid implement of serpentine subsequently to be noticed.

Fig. 373.—Crawfurd Moor. 1/2

The specimen engraved as Fig. 373, on the scale of one-half, is of jet, and was found on Crawfurd Moor, Lanarkshire.[10] It is now in the National Museum at Edinburgh. It shows the most common form of button, and the cut has been made use of frequently. One of the same character, 13/4 inches in diameter, and found in a barrow on Lambourn Down, Berkshire, is preserved in the British Museum. It has a rounded projection at the apex of the flat cone. In two of Kimmeridge shale, from Net Low, Alsop Moor, Derbyshire,[11] there is a similar projection and also a slightly raised beading round the edge. They accompanied a large bronze dagger, which lay close to the right arm of an extended skeleton. A button of jet, 13/4 inches in diameter, was found near the shoulder of a contracted skeleton, in a barrow near Castern, Derbyshire.[12] A small piece of calcined flint lay near.

Several studs or buttons of polished Kimmeridge coal, of the same character, but slightly more conical than Fig. 373, were found by Mr. F. C. Lukis in a barrow near Buxton.[13] A flint celt accompanied another interment in the same barrow. What appears to be a small stud of jet, but which is described as a cone, was found with a ring, like a pulley, of the same material, and a fine flint dagger and other objects, buried with a skeleton at Durrington Walls, Wilts.[14] A larger ring and disc, perforated with two holes for suspension, together with some beautifully formed stemmed and barbed flint arrow-heads (see Fig. 320), and a bronze dagger, accompanied a contracted interment in a barrow near Fovant, in the same county.[15] A button formed of a substance like concrete was found with part of a leaf-shaped arrow-head, some beads, &c., in a barrow at Boscregan,[16] Cornwall. It is nearly hemispherical in shape. In four cists at Tosson, near Rothbury, Northumberland,[17] were contracted skeletons, two of them accompanied by an urn. In one of the cists were three of these buttons, 2 inches in diameter, described as of cannel coal; and in another was an iron javelin-head. They are sometimes of much smaller dimensions. One of this character, found in the Calais Wold barrow by Messrs. Mortimer, has been figured full size in the late Mr. Ll. Jewitt's Reliquary.[18] His cut is reproduced as Fig. 374. Twenty small buttons of inferior jet were found by Canon Greenwell in a barrow at Hunmanby,[19] Yorkshire. Two small buttons of jet were picked up at Glenluce,[20] Wigtownshire.

Fig. 374.—Calais Wold Barrow. 1/1

Occasionally we find conical studs of this form perforated by two converging holes in the base, forming what were, in some cases, apparently the termination of necklaces or gorgets. It seems possible that these were not made to clasp the whole neck, but were merely attached in some manner between the shoulders in front, as is supposed to have been the case with many of the Anglo-Saxon necklaces. Two of these studs were found with other beads of a necklace in Holyhead Island,[21] and are mentioned at p. 459. With other necklaces, however, the studs are more numerous, and seem to have been a form of beads.

These studs or buttons are occasionally of amber. In a stone cist in a barrow near Driffield, Yorkshire,[22] a contracted skeleton was found, and with it, the bracer before described (p. 429), a bronze dagger, and three conical amber studs, about 1 inch in diameter, flat on the under-side, and pierced with two converging holes. Such buttons of amber are found on the Baltic[23] coast, and even in Northern Russia.

Conical studs or buttons perforated at the base, formed of wood or lignite covered with gold, and of bone or ivory, have been found in the Wiltshire barrows.[24] The jet studs are sometimes concave at the base, with a knob left in the centre for attachment, instead of being perforated. Five such were found with urns at Stevenston, Ayrshire.[25] They are about an inch in diameter.

The rings of jet with perforations at the edges, such as have been before mentioned as found in connection with buttons or studs, are sometimes found without them. One such, nearly 2 inches in diameter, perforated in the centre with a hole 3/4 inch in diameter, and with "two deep grooves in the edges, and four holes near together, two communicating with each other and capable of admitting a large packthread," was found with the skeleton at Tring Grove,[26] Herts, with which had been buried the flint arrow-heads and "wrist-guards" before described.[27] Two rings of jet, one punctured with two holes as if for suspension, the other with one hole only, accompanied an urn and two "spear-heads" of flint in a barrow near Whitby.[28] A pulley-like ring, described as of cannel coal, with four perforations through the sides at irregular intervals, was found in a cist near Yarrow, Selkirkshire,[29] and has been engraved. A part of a stone hammer lay in another cist at the same spot. A portion of what appears to be a similar ring was found near Lesmahago,[30] Lanarkshire.

A jet ring notched on the outside, or ornamented with imperfect circles, was found in the Upton Level Barrow,[31] together with doubly conical and cylindrical beads. There were both stone and bronze objects in the same barrow, many of which have already been mentioned.

A ring of Kimmeridge shale, 13/8 inches in diameter, was found with a penannular ring of bronze, flint flakes and arrow-heads, a perforated whetstone, a bead of glass and one of bone, in examining a series of barrows at Afflington, Dorset.[32]

Another form of ornament, of which numerous examples have been found with ancient interments, is the necklace, consisting of beads, usually of jet, amber, or bone, generally of jet alone, but sometimes of two of these materials together. It is, of course, almost impossible to re-arrange a group of beads, often more than a hundred in number, in the exact order in which they were originally worn; there are, however, frequently several peculiarly formed plates found with the beads, which seem susceptible of being arranged in but one particular order, so that it appears probable that the manner in which some of these necklaces have been reconstructed, as in Fig. 375, is not far from being correct.

Fig. 375.—Assynt, Ross-shire.

The original was found in an urn within a barrow at Assynt, Ross-shire,[33] and is here represented about one-fourth size, in a cut from Wilson's "Prehistoric Annals of Scotland," kindly lent me by Messrs. Macmillan. The flat beads, which are perforated obliquely from the edges towards the back, have patterns engraved upon them now studded with minute specks of sand,[34] which resemble gold. Besides those figured, there were present a number of irregularly oval jet beads. Other such necklaces have been found at Torrish,[35] Sutherlandshire (with flint arrow-heads), at Tayfield,[36] Fife (in a cist), and at Lunan-head,[37] near Forfar, in a cairn.

In most cases the flat beads of these necklaces are ornamented by having dotted or striated patterns worked upon them by means of some sharp-pointed instrument. These markings also occur on the bone or ivory portions, when the necklace, as is sometimes the case, is formed of a mixture of bone and jet or Kimmeridge shale.

A necklace ornamented in this manner was found, with a female skeleton, by the late Mr. Bateman, in a barrow near Hargate Wall, Derbyshire.[38] He describes the flat plates as being of ivory. Two other somewhat similar necklaces were found by the same explorer with a contracted female skeleton in a cist in a barrow at Cow Low, near Buxton;[39] but the plates in this case are described as of Kimmeridge coal. A most elaborate necklace, consisting of no less than 425 pieces, was found by Mr. Bateman in a barrow near Arbor Low.[40] They consisted of 348 thin laminæ of jet, fifty-four cylindrical beads, and eighteen conical studs and perforated plates of jet and bone, some ornamented with punctured patterns. Some flat ornamented beads of bone were found in Feltwell Fen[41] in 1876.


Fig. 376.—Pen-y-Bone 1/1


In a barrow, called Grind Low, at Over Haddon,[42] the ornaments were seventy-three in number, of which twenty-six were cylindrical beads, thirty-nine, conical studs of jet, pierced at the back by two holes meeting at an angle in the centre, and the remaining eight, dividing plates ornamented in front with a punctured chevron pattern superficially drilled. Of these, seven are of jet, laterally perforated with three holes; and the eighth of bone, ornamented in the same style, but with nine holes on one side, diminishing to three on the other by being bored obliquely.

Fig. 377.—Probable arrangement of the jet necklace found at Pen-y-Bonc, Holyhead.

Worked flints accompanied several of these Derbyshire interments. The skeletons are all reported by Mr. Bateman to have been those of females, but possibly he may have erred in some instances. Jet ornaments of a similar character have been found in Yorkshire barrows, near Pickering[43] and at Egton,[44] with flint-flakes; and some from Soham Fen are in the British Museum. A very fine set of beads of jet, or possibly cannel coal, found at Pen-y-Bonc near Ty Mawr, Holyhead,[45] is, through the kindness of the late Hon. W. O. Stanley, shown in Figs. 376 and 377. The flat beads are not engraved with any patterns. Armlets of bronze are said to have been found with them. Some jet beads of the same character have been found near Whitby.[46] In Scotland several necklaces of this class have been discovered, as, for instance, near Aberlemno,[47] Forfarshire; at Rothie,[48] Aberdeenshire, with two beads of amber, fragments of bronze, and burnt bones; at Rafford,[49] Elginshire; Houstoun,[50] Renfrewshire; Fordoun House,[51] Kincardineshire; and Leuchland Toll, near Brechin. Some found at Letham,[52] Forfarshire, are described as having been strung together with the fibres of animals. A remarkably fine necklace of this kind, consisting of 147 beads in all, was found in a cist at Balcalk,[53] Tealing, in the same county. Another of over 100 beads was found at Mountstuart,[54] Bute.

The plates are occasionally of amber; a set of six such, together 7 inches by 21/8 inches in extreme length and breadth, perforated and accompanied by upwards of forty amber beads, some of jet, two of horn, and others of "the vitrified sort called pully-beads," representing seven spherical beads joined together, were found with burnt bones in a barrow at Kingston Deverill,[55] Wilts. Another ornament of the same character, formed of eight tablets, together upwards of 10 inches by 3 inches, with numerous amber beads and some gold studs (?), was found with a skeleton in a barrow near Lake.[56] In what was probably another necklace, also from Lake, many of the beads were round pendants, tapering upwards, and slightly conical at the bottom. A necklace composed of small rounded beads, and somewhat similar pendants of amber, was found near the neck of a contracted skeleton at Little Cressingham, Norfolk.[57] By the side lay a bronze dagger and javelin-head, and on the breast an ornamented oblong gold plate. Near it was part of a gold armilla, one very small gold box, and remains of two others.

In one of the Upton Lovel barrows, examined by Mr. Cunnington, a burnt body was accompanied by somewhat similar little boxes of gold, thirteen drum-like gold beads perforated at two places in the sides, a large plate of thin gold highly ornamented, the conical stud covered with gold already described (p. 456), some large plates of amber like those from Kingston Deverill, and upwards of 1,000 amber beads. A small bronze dagger seems to have belonged to the same deposit. I am inclined to think that the so-called gold boxes may have been merely the coverings of some discs of wood perforated horizontally, and thus forming large flat gold-plated beads. The gold itself is not perforated, but the edges appear in the engraving to be much broken. Possibly the supposed lids and boxes were in both cases the coverings of one face only of a wooden bead.[58] From the occurrence of weapons in these interments, it seems probable that this class of decoration was not confined to the female sex, but that, like most savages, the men of Ancient Britain were as proud of finery as the women, even if they did not excel them in this particular. A necklace of large spheroidal beads of amber was found at Llangwyllog,[59] Anglesea.

I am not aware of any of the jet necklaces having occurred on the Continent, but beads and flat plates of amber perforated in several places horizontally have been found in the ancient cemetery at Hallstatt, in the Salzkammergut of the Austrian Tyrol.

In several instances, jet necklaces do not comprise any of these flat plates, but consist merely of a number of flat discoidal beads with one larger piece for a pendant.

Fig. 378.—Fimber.

In a barrow at Weaverthorpe Ling, Yorkshire, E.R., Canon Greenwell, F.R.S., discovered a contracted skeleton of a young person buried with a plain urn and a necklace of 122 flat beads of jet, with a flat, spherically triangular pendant, perforated at the middle of one of its sides, a short distance from the edge. The beads vary in size from a little under, to a little over a quarter of an inch in diameter, and the sides of the pendant are about three-quarters of an inch long.

In a barrow near Fimber,[60] Yorkshire, Messrs. J. R. & R. Mortimer found, with other interments, a female skeleton in a contracted posture, with a small food-vase near the hand, a small bronze awl in a short wooden haft behind the shoulders, and on the neck, a necklace almost identical with that found at Weaverthorpe, of which, by the kindness of the late Mr. Llewellynn Jewitt, F.S.A., I am able to give a representation in Fig. 378. One of the beads, the pendant, and the bronze awl, and part of its wooden handle, are numbered 2, 3, 4, and 5.

Fig. 379.—Yorkshire. 1/1

Another form of jet bead is long, sometimes cylindrical, and sometimes swelling in the middle, and in a few instances almost square in section. Fourteen of those with a round section, and from 1 inch to 13/4 inches long, and one of those with the square, had been strewn among the burnt bones, after they were cold, in an interment found by Canon Greenwell, in a barrow near Egton Bridge, Whitby. Two are here reproduced (Fig. 379) from the Archæological Journal.[61] In another Yorkshire barrow the same investigator found, also with burnt bones, a small flake of flint, a portion of a bronze pin, and four jet beads, two of which are barrel-shaped and one oblong, while the fourth is a small stud, like those already described. They are shown full-sized in the annexed cut (Fig. 380), also borrowed from the Archæological Journal.[62]

Fig. 380.—Yorkshire. 1/1

Small barrel-shaped beads, accompanied by smaller disc-shaped beads, and two little studs of jet, were found by the late Mr. Bateman in Hay-Top Barrow, Monsal Dale,[63] accompanying the skeleton of a woman. With them was a curious bone pendant of semicircular outline, widening out to a rectangular base somewhat like a modern seal.

A necklace of ten barrel-shaped jet beads, and about a hundred thin flat beads of shale, was found with a flint knife in a barrow at Eglingham,[64] Northumberland, by Canon Greenwell. Some long and short barrel-shaped jet beads accompanied burnt bones in an urn at Fylingdales,[65] Yorkshire, and a necklace of short barrel-shaped beads, principally of bone, was found in a barrow at Aldbourne,[66] Wilts.

Jet beads, long and thin, but larger at the middle than at the extremities, and others barrel-shaped, were found with burnt bones in a barrow examined by the late Rev. Greville J. Chester, near Cromer;[67] and a magnificent necklace of jet beads, ranging from 1 to 5 inches in length, some of them expanding very much in the middle, with a sort of rounded moulding at each end, and having a few rough beads of amber intermingled with them, was found with a polished celt of black flint at Cruden,[68] Aberdeenshire, in 1812, and is preserved in the Arbuthnot Museum, Peterhead.

Some curious jet beads, one of them in the form of a ring perforated transversely, found with bronze buttons, rings, armlets, &c., in Anglesea,[69] are now in the British Museum.

A flat circular bead of jet, a flint scraper, and a bronze dagger and celt, were found by the late Mr. Bateman in a barrow near Bakewell.[70] A large pendant, apparently of jet, pear-shaped, and perforated near the smaller end, was found in a barrow on Stanton Moor,[71] Derbyshire; and a rudely-made bead of Kimmeridge shale in the long chambered barrow at West Kennet,[72] Wilts. Another pendant, consisting of a flat pear-shaped piece of shale 21/2 inches long and 2 inches broad, and perforated at the narrow end, was found along with querns, stones with concentric circles and cup-shaped indentations worked in them, stone balls, spindle-whorls, and an iron axe-head, in excavating an underground chamber at the Tappock,[73] Torwood, Stirlingshire. One face of this pendant is covered with scratches in a vandyked pattern. Though of smaller size, this seems to bear some analogy with the flat amulets of schist, of which several have been discovered in Portugal,[74] with one face ornamented in much the same manner, A barrel-shaped bead of cannel coal (?), 41/2 inches long, found near Loch Skene, and a flat eye-shaped one of shale, found near Pencaitland, East Lothian, have been figured.[75]

Pendants of jet of other forms are also occasionally found with inter- ments. That shown in Fig, 381 was discovered in a barrow at Hungry Bentley, Derbyshire, by the late Mr. J. F. Lucas, who kindly let me engrave it. It lay in company with a globular and a barrel-shaped bead in an urn containing burnt bones. In character this ornament recalls to mind the bronze pendants of which so many occurred in the cemetery at Halstatt, though this is of far simpler design.

Fig. 381a.—Heathery Burn Cave. 1/2

Armlets manufactured from a single piece of jet are not uncommon among Roman antiquities. They seem, however, also to have been made in this country in pre-Roman times. Portions of jet or lignite armlets of almost semicircular section, and "evidently turned on the lathe," were found with numerous bronze and bone relics in the Heathery Burn Cave,[76] Stanhope, Durham. One of these, by permission of the Society of Antiquaries, is shown as Fig. 381a. Another bracelet of jet was found at Glenluce,[77] Wigtownshire, together with several fragments. In the cromlech of La Roche qui sonne.[78] Guernsey, Mr. F. C. Lukis discovered a remarkable oval armlet of jet ornamented on its outer surface, and with countersunk perforations in several places. With it was found a bronze armlet of whitish colour. By the kindness of the Council of the British Archæological Association, figures of both, on the scale of 1/3, are here reproduced. With them were found pottery and stone instruments, mullers and mills of granite. Armlets of bone[79] or ivory also accompany ancient burials, but hardly come within my province.

Fig. 382.—Jet.—Guernsey. 1/3 Fig. 383.—Bronze.—Guernsey. 1/3

The use of jet for personal ornaments in pre-Roman times in Britain is quite in accordance with what might be gathered from the testimony of early historians. Solinus (circ. A.D. 80) mentions the abundance in this country of jet, which, he relates, burns in water and is extinguished by oil, and which, if excited by friction, becomes electric like amber. His statements are repeated by other authors. The occurrence of amber on our coasts does not appear to have been observed in ancient times, unless possibly by Sotacus.[80] As already observed, it is occasionally found at the present day on our Eastern coast.

Beads formed of selected pebbles of quartz or other material are rarely found accompanying interments of the Stone Age in Britain. In France[81] they seem to be more common. Some neatly-pierced pebbles of rose-quartz, bored in the same manner as the perforated stone hammers, were found in the Allée couverte of Argenteuil; and pendants of jasper and callais in some of the tumuli near Carnac, Brittany.

It is rather doubtful whether the discs of Kimmeridge shale, so abundantly found in Dorsetshire, and to which the absurd name of Kimmeridge coal-money has been given, date back to pre-Roman times. Many of them were found by General Pitt Rivers,[82] in the Romano-British village at Woodcuts. These discs, as is well known, have on the one face a centre-mark showing where they revolved on the centre of the "back-poppet" in the course of being turned; and on the other face a square recess,[83] or occasionally two or three smaller round holes, showing the manner by which they were attached to the chuck or mandrel of the lathe. Very rarely they occur with a portion of an armlet, which has broken in the process of turning, still attached to their edges. One such has been engraved in the Archæological Journal,[84] and another is in my own collection. There can, therefore, be no doubt, that instead of their having been expressly made for any purpose, such as for use as money, they are merely the refuse or waste pieces from the lathe. They all appear to me to have been worked with metal tools, and, from a mass of them having been found "conglomerated by the presence of irony matter,"[85] these would appear to have been of iron or steel; at the same time, however, numerous chippings of flint were found, which, if used at all in the turning process, may have served for roughing out the discs. I have, however, not had an opportunity of personally examining these flint chippings. An interesting article on objects made of Kimmeridge shale[86] has been written by Mr. J. C. Mansel-Pleydell.

Fig. 384.—Kent's Cavern. 1/1

Rings of different sizes formed of stone are occasionally found, but their purpose is unknown. In a barrow at Heathwaite,[87] in Furness, half a stone ring, about a couple of inches in diameter, and apparently of circular section, was found. A ring of diorite, 41/4 inches in diameter, with a central hole of 11/4 inches, sharp at the edge, but 13/8 inches thick at the border of the perforation, and of nearly triangular section, was found at Wolsonbury, Sussex, and was in the collection of the late Mrs. Dickinson of Hurstpierpoint. A somewhat similar ring of serpentine, 51/2 inches in diameter, is in the Museum at Clermont Ferrand. Another was found near Dijon. A ring of black stone, found above the stalagmite in Kent's Cavern, is shown in Fig. 384. It is slightly rounded at its edges.

Five small rings about an inch in diameter, of a brown colour and apparently made of lignite, were found in an urn with burnt bones and a bronze pin in a barrow near Winterbourn Stoke.[88] One of them was perforated near the edge as if for suspension.

Fig. 385.—Ty Mawr. 1/1

A flat ring, from one of the ancient circular habitations at Ty Mawr,[89] in Holyhead Island, is shown, full size, in Fig. 385. It was found by the late Hon. W. O. Stanley, F.S.A., who obligingly lent me the cut. It is supposed to have been used as a brooch. There is a slight notch on each side, which might have served to catch the pin.

He subsequently found a ring of the same kind made from a piece of red "Samian" ware. The presumption, therefore, is that the other rings are also Roman or post-Roman. A ring and a pendant of lignite were found with burnt bones in a barrow at Aldbourne,[90] Wilts. The latter resembles a mediæval finger-ring. A flat, oval, pendant,[91] of close-grained stone, was found in another barrow at the same place.

In Scotland, a curved pendant of jet was found at Glenluce.[92] Rings of shale, from Wigtownshire,[93] have been figured, as also a ring of stone from a crannog at Glenluce.[94] A peculiar ring of shale, hollowed externally, was found near West Calder.[95] In Ireland, some rings of shale were found in a cinerary urn at Dundrum,[96] co. Down.

Another form of personal ornament, or, more probably, amulet or charm, consisted of pebbles, usually selected for their beauty or some singularity of appearance. They are very frequently accompaniments of ancient interments, and are sometimes, though rarely, perforated. In a barrow near Winterbourn Stoke,[97] there had been deposited near the body, "a perforated pebble-stone, about 2 inches long, and very neatly polished," which Sir R. Colt Hoare thought might have been suspended as an amulet from the neck.

In another barrow, in the same group,[98] the interment comprised "a pair of petrified fossil cockle-shells, a piece of stalactite, and a hard flat stone of the pebble kind," besides a brass or bronze pin and other objects.

In a third, near Stonehenge,[99] there was at the left hand of the skeleton a dagger of bronze, and close to the head, a curious pebble described as "of the sardonyx kind, striated transversely with alternate spaces that give it the appearance of belts; besides these striæ, it is spotted all over with very small white specks, and, after dipping it in water, it assumes a sea-green colour."

In another barrow near Everley[100] a heap of burnt bones was rounded by a circular wreath of horns of the red deer, within which, and amidst the ashes, were five stemmed and barbed flint arrow-heads and a small red pebble.

In a barrow at Upton Lovel,[101] near the legs of a skeleton, there lay, with a number of other objects, "a handful of small pebbles of different colours, several not to be found in the neighbourhood," and five hollow flints broken in two and forming a rude kind of cup.

In a barrow at Rudstone,[102] Canon Greenwell found with a skeleton a part of an ammonite which appeared to have been worn as a charm.

A beautiful pink pebble, supposed to have been placed with the body as a token of affection, was found in a sepulchral cist at Breedon,[103] Leicestershire. Some querns and an iron knife appear to have accompanied the interment, so that it may belong to a comparatively late period. Quartz pebbles are, however, very frequently found with ancient burials, and Mr. Bateman has recorded numerous instances of their occurrence. Three such, one red, the others of a light colour, together with a ball of pyrites, a flat piece of polished iron-ore, a flint celt, and various other instruments of flint, were found with a skeleton in a barrow on Elton Moor.[104] In opening Carder Low,[105] near Hartington, about eighty quartz pebbles and several instruments of flint, including a barbed arrow-head, were found; and with the body, a bronze dagger and an axe-hammer of basalt. Mr. Bateman has suggested that the pebbles were possibly cast into the mound during its construction, by mourners and friends of the deceased, as tokens of respect. Numerous quartz pebbles, supposed to be sling-stones, were found in a barrow near Middleton.[106] In the same barrow was a porphyry-slate pebble, highly polished, "the sides triangular and tapering towards the ends, which are rubbed flat." A stone from a barrow near Ashford-in-the-Water[107] is said to have been of the same character.

In a barrow near Avebury,[108] already mentioned, there were in a cist with a male skeleton, three studs and a ring of jet, a flint knife, and a beautifully veined ovoid implement of serpentine, 4 inches long and 2 broad, the apex at each end ground flat. Dr. Thurnam does not attempt to assign any purpose to this implement, if such it were.

Sometimes the pebble appears to have been actually placed in the hand of the deceased, as was the case in a barrow near Alsop,[109] where a round quartz pebble was found in the left hand of the skeleton; and in another barrow on Readon Hill,[110] near Ramshorn, where a small pebble was found at the right hand. A quartz pebble lay among a deposit of burnt bones, accompanied by a bronze pin, in another barrow near Throwley.[111] In another Derbyshire[112] barrow a quartz pebble, found near an urn, was regarded as a sling-stone.

In two barrows near Castleton,[113] opened by Mr. Rooke Pennington, a quartz pebble accompanied the remains of children or young persons. Pebbles have been found with interments in other parts of the country, as in the long barrow at Rodmarton,[114] Gloucestershire, where were a small round white pebble and flint arrow-head. An ovoidal stone 4 ⨉ 21/2 inches occurred in a grave at Athelney;[115] and one of chert, 81/2 ⨉ 51/2 inches, in a barrow on Petersfield Heath.[116] Canon Greenwell has also found large pebbles or boulders in some of the Yorkshire barrows. They seem to come under another category than that of the smaller ornamental pebbles.

A small piece of rock crystal, probably an amulet or charm, lay in a small cist at Orem's Fancy, Stronsay,[117] Orkney, and fragments of quartz and selected pebbles frequently accompany early Irish interments.[118] At Caer Leb, Anglesea,[119] two silicious pebbles, one black and the other red, with a band of little pits round it, were found in 1865, and supposed to be amulets.

Mr. Kemble[120] has observed that in Teutonic tombs stones occur, deposited apparently from some supposed virtue or superstition, and has instanced two egg-shaped objects, apparently of Carrara marble, from Lüneburg tumuli. It has also been stated that in Penmynydd churchyard,[121] Anglesea, numerous skeletons were found with a white oval pebble, of the size of a hen's egg, near each. It is doubtful whether the bones were of Christians or not; but the Rev. T. J. Williams, in describing the discovery, has suggested that the stones might bear reference to the passage in Revelations (ii. 17):—"To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it."

In interments of an earlier date, such instances seem to point to some superstitious custom, possibly like that in India, where "the mystic Salagramma pebble, held in the hand of the dying Hindoo, is a sure preservation against the pains of eternal punishment."[122] This pebble, however, was black.

Among the Tasmanians[123] sacred pebbles play a not unimportant part; and crystals, or sometimes white stones, are frequently worn in bags suspended from the neck, and women never allowed to see them.

The symbolism of a white pebble, as representing happiness or a happy day, was widely known. The "calculi candore laudatus dies"[124] was not confined to the Romans, but known among the Thracians; and the "black balls" at ballots of the present day carry us back to the times when

"Mos erat antiquus niveis atrisque lapillis
His damnare reos, illis absolvere culpâ."[125]

Occasionally, fossil echini in flint are found buried with bodies. Mr. Worthington Smith found more than a hundred of them in a barrow of the Stone Age on Dunstable Downs.[126] A pebble of white quartz lay with two skeletons, which were those of a woman and child.

In a tumulus on Ashey Down,[127] in the Isle of Wight, an "echinite" accompanied an interment of burnt bones, with which was a bronze dagger. Douglas also found one with an amber bead by the side of a Saxon skeleton near Chatham. He regarded it as an amulet, and states that in Scotland the peasants still have a belief in the virtue of these fossils. I have seen cidares forming part of Saxon necklaces after having been perforated; and others converted into spindle-whorls.

In fact, the use of stones as amulets still lingers on in the northern parts of this country. There is in the National Museum at Edinburgh[128] a flat oval pebble, 21/2 inches long, which was worn as a charm in a small bag hung by a red string round the neck of a Forfarshire farmer, who died in 1854, æt. 84. The heart-shaped nodule of clay iron-stone in the same Museum, with a copper loop for suspension, and heart-shaped and oblong pendants of copper and silver, mentioned in my former edition, proves to be a forgery.

The custody of charms sometimes became hereditary. Martin[129] describes a stone in Arran possessed of various miraculous virtues. "The custody of this globe is the peculiar privilege of a little family called Clan Chattons." Other charm-stones and curing-stones have been described in interesting papers by Sir J. Y. Simpson, Bart.,[130] Mr. James M. Gow,[131] Dr. Alexander Stewart,[132] and Mr. G. F. Black.[133]

Among the Scandinavian nations[134] the possession of certain stones was believed to secure victory in encounters, and the belief is constantly mentioned in ancient poetry.

A confidence in the virtues of "lucky stones," that is to say, pebbles with a hole through them, or with a band around them, is still widely spread, and I well remember the incantation—

"Lucky-stone, lucky-stone, bring me some luck,
To-day, or to-morrow by twelve o'clock."

These perforated stones were also sovereign against the nightmare. "Take a Flynt Stone that hath a hole of hys owne kynde, and hang it ouer hym and wryte in a bill—

'In nomine Patris, &c.
Saint George, our Ladye's Knight,
He walked day, so did he night,
Untill he hir found.
He hir beate and he hir bounde,
Till truely her trouth she him plyght
That she woulde not come within the night,
There as Saint George, our Ladye's Knight,
Named was three tymes Saint George.'

And hang this Scripture ouer him, and let him alone."[135]

In Bavaria[136] a Druten-stein is a natural pebble with a hole through it, and is a charm against witches.

In Scotland such a stone is often called a witch-stone,[137] and hung up in the byres as a protection for the cattle. The same is the case in some parts of England. In the Museum at Leicester is a "witch-stone" from Wymeswold, a pebble with a natural hole towards one end, which has been preserved for many generations in one family, and has had great virtues attributed to it. It prevented the entrance of fairies into the dairy; it preserved milk from taint; it kept off diseases, and charmed off warts, and seems to have been valuable alike to man and beast. In the Western Islands[138] ammonites are held to possess peculiar virtues as "cramp-stones" for curing cramp in cattle.

Stones remarkable either for their colour or shape appear at all times to have attracted the attention of mankind, and frequently to have served as personal ornaments or charms among those to whom the more expensive and civilized representatives of such primitive jewellery, which now rank as precious stones, were either unknown or inaccessible.

Among the cave-dwellers of a remote age, both of France and Belgium, fossil shells appear to have been much in use as ornaments, numbers having been found perforated for suspension. Pendants of stone occur in some abundance with interments in the dolmens of France;[139] occasionally the living forms of shells also were perforated and worn as ornaments, both in the days when the reindeer formed the principal food of the cave-dwellers, and in more recent yet still remote times. A black polished oval pebble, found in the lake-dwelling of Inkwyl,[140] has been regarded by De Bonstetten as an amulet.

In Merovingian and Teutonic interments, we find occasionally, pendants of serpentine[141] and other materials, balls of crystal, and sometimes of iron pyrites.[142]

A peculiar stone with a groove round it, not unlike in form to the Danish fire-producing stones of the early Iron Age, was in use for divining purposes among the Laplanders, and has been engraved and described by Scheffer.[143]

What are regarded as ancient amulets of stone, found in Portugal,[144] are highly decorated.

Numerous amulets, commonly formed of various kinds of stone and teeth of animals, usually perforated for suspension, were worn by the North-American Indians.[145] Indeed, among almost all savage nations such charms and ornaments abound.

As I am not treating of the hidden virtues of stones and gems, nor of their use as amulets, it is needless to say more in illustration of the causes why selected pebbles may have been placed in ancient graves. Before proceeding, however, to the next part of my subject, which carries me back from recent times to those long anterior, not only to the use of metals, but to that of the various stone implements of which I have been treating, it will be well to say a few words as to the results of the general survey which, so far as regards the antiquities of the Neolithic, or Surface Stone Period, is now complete.

These results, I must acknowledge, are, to my mind, by no means entirely satisfactory. It is true that regarding the various forms of objects described from a technological, or even a collector's, point of view, the series of stone antiquities found in Britain does not contrast unfavourably with that from any other country. We have hatchets, adzes, chisels, borers, scrapers, and tools of various kinds, and know both how they were made and how they were used; we have battle-axes, lances, and arrows for war, or for the chase; we have various implements and utensils adapted for domestic use; we have the personal ornaments of our remote predecessors, and know something of their methods of sepulture, and of their funeral customs. Indeed, so far as external appliances are concerned, they are almost as fully represented as would be those of any existing savage nation by the researches of a most painstaking traveller. And yet when we attempt any chronological arrangement of the various forms we find ourselves almost immediately at fault. From the number of objects found, we may indeed safely infer that they represent the lapse of no inconsiderable interval of time, but how great we know not; nor, in most cases, can we say with any approach to certainty, whether a given object belongs to the commencement, middle, or close, of the Polished Stone Period of Britain.

True it is that there are some forms, which from their association together in graves, we know to have been contemporaneous; and some, which from their occasionally occurring with interments belonging to a time when bronze was beginning to come into use, we must assign to the later portion of the Neolithic Period of this country; yet it is impossible to say of these latter forms that they may not have been long in use before bronze was known; nor of the former, that certain kinds were not introduced at a much earlier period than the others, which at a later date became associated with them. The utmost that can with safety be affirmed is, that some forms, such as the perforated battle-axes, the skilfully chipped lance-heads or daggers, the cups fashioned in the lathe, and the ornaments of jet, appear to have been of later in- troduction than most of the others. Moreover, though we may regard these particular objects as comparatively late, the bulk of the others, such, for instance, as celts, and possibly arrow-heads, were subject to so little modification during the whole of the Neolithic Period, that it is almost impossible, from form only, to assign to individual specimens any chronological position. The light reflected by foreign discoveries, such as those in the Swiss lakes, and by the habits and customs of modern savages, enables us, to some extent, to appreciate the relations and bearings of our native stone antiquities; but the greater part of them have unfortunately been discovered as isolated examples, and without attendant circumstances calculated to furnish data for determining their exact age, or the manners of those who used them.

Enough facts, however, are at our command to show that preceding the use of metal in this country, there was a time when cutting instruments and weapons were made of stone, either chipped or ground to an edge; and to encourage a hope that future discoveries may throw more light on the length of the period through which those who used them lived, and on the stage of culture that they had reached. It will, I trust, be of some service to those who are labouring, and will yet labour, in this field of research, to find in these pages a classification of the forms at present known, a summary account of the discoveries hitherto made, and references to the books from which further details may be gathered.

I now turn to the relics of a still earlier period, when the art of grinding stone to an edge appears to have been unknown, and when man was associated in this country with a group of animals which has now for the most part disappeared, either by migration to other latitudes, or by absolute extinction of the race.

  1. "Brit. Barrows," pp. 33, 187, 188.
  2. "Brit. Barrows," p. 431. "Cran. Brit.," pl. 54.
  3. Proc. S. A. S., vol. xiv. p. 266; xxiv. p. 10.
  4. "Le Signe de la Croix avant le Christianisme," 1866.
  5. "Brit. Barrows," p. 264.
  6. Antea, p. 265.
  7. "Brit. Barrows," p. 263.
  8. "Brit. Barrows," p. 230.
  9. Vol. ii. pl. 58, 2. See also "Cat. Devizes Mus.," No. 184a and No. 74.
  10. Wilson's "Preh. Ann. of Scot.," vol. i. p. 442. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. ii. p. 307. "Cat. A. I. M. Ed.," p. 22.
  11. "Vest. Ant. Derb.," p. 68.
  12. "Ten Years' Diggings." p. 152.
  13. Reliq., vol. viii. p. 86.
  14. Hoare's "South Wilts," p. 172.
  15. L. c., p. 239.
  16. Arch., vol. xlix. p. 189.
  17. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. iv. p. 60. "Cran. Brit.," vol. ii. 54, 2.
  18. Vol. vi. p. 188.
  19. Arch., vol. lii. p. 19.
  20. Proc. S. A. S., vol. xv. p. 269.
  21. Arch. Journ., vol. xxiv. p. 257.
  22. Arch., vol. xxxiv. p. 256. They eeem to be incorrectly represented in pl. xx.
  23. Klebs, "Der Bernstein-schmuck der Stein-zeit." Königsberg, 1882.
  24. Hoare's "South Wilts," pl. x. and xii. Arch., vol. xv. pl. vii. "Cat. Devizes Mus.," No. 54.
  25. Wilson's "Preh. Ann. of Scotland," vol. i. p. 441.
  26. Arch., vol. viii. p. 429.
  27. P. 426.
  28. Proc. Soc. Ant., vol. iii. p. 58.
  29. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. ii. p. 484; vi. 62.
  30. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xx. p. 304.
  31. Arch., vol. xv. p. 122. Hoare's "South Wilts," pl. vii.
  32. "Cran. Brit.," vol. ii. pl. 45, 3.
  33. Wilson, "P. A. of S.," vol. i. p. 435. Arch. Scot., vol. iii. p. 49, pl. v. Proc. S. A. S., vol. iii. p. 47. "Cat. A. I. Mus. Ed.," p. 15.
  34. Arch., vol. xliii. p. 515.
  35. Proc. S. A. S., vol. viii. p. 409.
  36. Proc. S. A. S., vol. viii. p. 412.
  37. Proc. S. A. S., vol. xii. p. 294.
  38. "Vest. Ant. Derb.," p. 89. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. ii. p. 234.
  39. "Vest. Ant. Derb.," p. 92. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. ii. p. 235.
  40. "Ten Years' Dig.," p. 25. A. A. J., vol. vii. p. 216. "Cran. Brit, vol. ii. pl. 35, 2.
  41. "Norfolk Arch.," vol. viii. p. 319.
  42. "T. Y. D.," p. 46. "Cran. Brit.," vol. ii. pl. 35, 3.
  43. "Ten Years' Dig.," p. 228.
  44. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. vi. p. 4; xx. 104.
  45. Arch. Journ., vol. xxiv. p. 257. See also Proc. Soc. Ant., vol. i. p. 34.
  46. Arch. Journ., vol. xxix. p. 283.
  47. P. S. A. S., vol. iii. p. 78.
  48. Ib., vol. vi. p. 203.
  49. Wilson, "P. A. of S.," vol. i. p. 434. Cat. A. I. Mus. Ed., "p. 17.
  50. Wilson, "P. A. of S.," vol. i. p. 435.
  51. Cat. A. I. Mus. Ed.," p. 15.
  52. Wilson, "P. A. of S.," vol. i. 436.
  53. Proc. S. A. S., vol. xiv. p. 261; xxv. p. 65.
  54. Proc. S. A. S., vol. xxvi. p. 6.
  55. Hoare, "South Wilts," p. 46. See also "Cat. Devizes Mus.," No. 173a.
  56. A. C. Smith, "Ants. of N. Wilts," pp. 18, 19. Wilts Arch. Mag., vol. xvi. pp. 179, 181. (These objects are now in the British Museum.)
  57. "Norfolk Archæology," vol. iii. p. 1.
  58. "Cat. Devizes Mus.," Nos. 56, 57. In the Archæologia, vol. xv. pl. vii., the rim and the top or bottom of the box are shown as quite distinct. Mr. Cunnington thought they might have covered the ends of staves.
  59. Arch. Camb., 3rd. S., vol. xii. p. 110.
  60. Reliquary, vol. ix. p. 67.
  61. Vol. xxii. p. 112. "Brit. Barrows," p. 334.
  62. Vol. xxii. p. 245. "Brit. Barrows," p. 366.
  63. "Ten Years' Dig.," p. 74. "Cran. Brit.," vol. ii. pl. 60, 2.
  64. "Brit. Barrows," p. 420, fig. 159.
  65. Arch., vol. lii. p. 41.
  66. Arch., vol. lii. p. 57.
  67. Arch. Journ., vol, vii. p. 190.
  68. "Cat. A. I. Mus. Ed.," p. 10.
  69. Arch. Journ., vol. xxii. p. 74. Arch. Camb., 3rd S., vol. xii. p. 97.
  70. Arch. Assoc. J., vol. vii. p. 217.
  71. Arch., vol. viii. p. 59.
  72. Arch., vol. xxxviii. p. 413.
  73. P. S. A. S., vol. vi. p. 112. App. p. 42.
  74. Trans. Ethn. Soc., vol. vii. p. 50.
  75. P. S. A. S., vol. xiii. p. 127.
  76. Proc. Soc. Ant., 2nd S., vol. ii. p. 131. Arch., vol. liv. p. 106.
  77. Proc. S. A. S., vol. xv. p. 268.
  78. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. iii. p. 344. Arch., vol. xxxv. p. 247.
  79. Hoare, "South Wilts," p. 124.
  80. Plin., "Nat. Hist.," lib. xxxvii. c. 2.
  81. Rev. Arch., vol. xv. p. 364.
  82. "Exc. on Cranborne Chase," vol. i. pl. xlix.
  83. See Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. i. p. 325.
  84. Vol. xvi. p. 299.
  85. Ibid., p. 300.
  86. Proc. Dorset Nat. Hist. and Ant. Field Club, vol. xiii., 1892, p. 178.
  87. Arch., vol. xxxi. p. 452.
  88. Hoare's "South Wilts," p. 114, pl. xiii.
  89. Arch. Journ., vol. xxvi. p. 304.
  90. Arch., vol. lii. p. 52.
  91. Op. cit., p. 56.
  92. Proc. S. A. S., vol. xv. p. 269.
  93. Proc. S. A. S., vol. xxiii. p. 219.
  94. Proc. S. A. S., vol. xv. p. 268. Munro, "Lake-dw.," p. 50.
  95. Proc. S. A. S., vol. ix. p. 538.
  96. Wood-Martin, "Rude Stone Mon. of Ireland," 1888, p. 60.
  97. Hoare, "South Wilts," p. 124.
  98. Ibid.
  99. Op. cit., p. 165.
  100. Op. cit., p. 183, pl. xxii.
  101. Hoare, "South Wilts," p. 75. Arch., vol. lii. p. 430.
  102. "Brit. Barrows," p. 249.
  103. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xv. p. 337.
  104. "Vest. Ant. Derb.," p. 53.
  105. Op. cit., p. 63.
  106. Op. cit., p. 29. C. R. Smith, "Coll. Ant.," vol. i. p. 55
  107. Arch., xii. p. 327.
  108. "Cran. Brit.," vol. ii. pl. 58, 2.
  109. "Vest. Ant. Derb.," p. 67.
  110. "Ten Years' Dig.," p. 123.
  111. "Ten Years' Dig.," p. 130.
  112. Reliquary, vol. iii. p. 206.
  113. Reliquary, vol. xiv. p. 88.
  114. Proc. Soc. Ant., 2nd S., vol. ii. p. 278.
  115. Arch. Journ., vol. xvi. p. 90.
  116. A. J., vol. xiii. p. 412.
  117. Proc. S. A. S., vol. viii. p. 350.
  118. Wood-Martin, "Rude Stone Mon. of Ireland," 1888, p. 86. Journ. R. Hist. and Arch. Assoc. of Ireland, 4th S., vol. v. p. 107.
  119. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xxii. p. 314.
  120. A. J., vol. xiii. p. 412.
  121. Arch. Camb., 3rd S., vol. vii. p. 91. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xvi. p. 326.
  122. Bonwick, "Daily Life of the Tasmanians," p. 194.
  123. Bonwick, op. cit., pp. 193-201.
  124. Plin., "Nat. Hist.," lib. vii. cap. 40.
  125. Ovid, "Met.," lib. xv. v. 41.
  126. "Man the Prim. Savage," p. 338.
  127. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. x. p. 164.
  128. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. v. p. 327.
  129. "Desc. of West. Isl. of Scot., 1703," p. 226, quoted by Stuart, "Sculpt. St. of Scot.," vol. ii. p. lv.
  130. P. S. A. S., vol. iv. pp. 211, 279.
  131. P. S. A. S., vol. xxii. p. 63.
  132. P. S. A. S., vol. xxiv. p. 157.
  133. P. S. A. S., vol. xxvii. p. 433.
  134. De Bonstetten, "Rec. d'Ant. Suisses," p. 8. Nilsson, "Stone Age," p. 215.
  135. Blundevill's "Fower chiefest Offices belonging to Horsemanship," quoted in N. and Q., 6th S., vol. i. p. 54.
  136. Arch. f. Anth., vol. xxii. (1894), "Corr. Blatt.," p. 101.
  137. P. S. A. S., vol. v. p. 128. Anthrop. Rev., vol. iv. p. 401. See also Journ. Anth. Inst., vol. xvii. p. 135, and "The Denham Tracts," vol. ii.. Folklore Soc., 1895.
  138. Proc. Soc. Ant. Scot., vol. v. p. 315.
  139. Arch. Assoc. Journ., vol. xxiv. p. 40. Matériaux, vol. v. p. 118, 249, &c.
  140. "Supp. au Rec. d'Ant. Suisses," pl. i. 2.
  141. Baudot, "Sép. des Barb.," p. 78.
  142. Lindenschmidt, "A. u. h. V.," vol. ii. Heft xii. Taf. vi. 12.
  143. "Lapland," ed. 1704, p. 277.
  144. Cong. Préh. Lisbonne, 1880, pl. v. Da Veiga, "Ant. de Algarve," 1856. Cartailhac, p. 92.
  145. Schoolcraft, "Ind. Tribes," vol. i. p. 86.