« AnteriorContinuar »
passed over Egginton Heath to Derventio (Little Chester, now an outskirt of Derby); from thence to Pentrich (which is believed to have been a station), and so on to Lutudarum (Chesterfield), and forward into Yorkshire. From Little Chester several of the roads diverged, and other lines again traversed the Peak district, both in the neighbourhood of Buxton (supposed Aquce) and in other directions; whilst others again from the lead-producing districts centred in Chesterfield. The stations, and supposed stations, in Derbyshire, were at Little Chester, where a vast number of remains have been found; Chesterfield, where also coins, etc., have been discovered; Buxton, where Roman baths have been traced ; Brough near Castleton ; Melandra Castle, Parwich, and Pentrich. At each of these places remains of the period have been found. Roman coins, fibulæ, pottery, etc., have also been found in various parts of the county, and show that it must have been pretty fully traversed, and indeed occupied, by that people.
In the mining districts of the High Peak, Roman antiquities of one kind or another are being frequently turned up, and some of the lead mines, which exist and are worked at the present day, are proved to have been known to, and worked by, the Romans. This is, perhaps, more particularly the case in the neighbourhoods of Elton, Winster, Youlgreave, Matlock, etc., where even the names of some of the mines—such as the “Portway Mine,” for instance-give evidence of their early origin. Pigs of lead of Roman manufacture have at different times been found in Derbyshire, some of which bear inscriptions referring to the station of Lutudarum (Chesterfield), to which I have already alluded. One of these inscriptions is :T. CL. TR. LVT. BR. EX. ARG., and another, IMP. CAES. HADRIANI. AVG. MET. LVT. The finding of these inscribed and other pigs of lead, the number of Roman roads which traversed the mining districts, and the number of coins and other articles which have from time to time been found about the mines, and in their neighbourhood, show that lead must have been produced to some considerable extent, and that a large number of people must have been engaged in the getting of the ore, and in smelting it.
When, in addition to the fact I have stated, that the Roman people did not make regular settlements in Derbyshire, we recal to mind the other fact, that they but seldom raised tumuli over their dead, or, in this country, placed any ostentatious monuments over their remains, the reason is obvious why so few of their sepulchral urns should have been found here, though, doubtless, many urns etc., still lie buried and will yet from time to time be unearthed. It is also necessary to remember that the finding of a Roman coin in a barrow is no evidence of that barrow being raised by the Romans, or even of the person interred being of that race. “The Britons, looking upon these tumuli as a kind of sacred ground, continued, in many instances, to bury in the same barrow for ages after its first construction, and deposited with their dead in later times the coins of their Roman masters, on the same principle as that which prompted them in earlier times to inter the rude weapons or ornaments of flint or bone.”
The interments which have been discovered exhibit both burial by inhumation and by cremation. Of the former, eramples have been brought to light at Little Chester in the course of excavations both for building purposes, and in the formation of the railway works. A skeleton of a man found there some years ago, lay full length on its back, the arms straight down by the sides. Iron rivets, which were found much corroded, lay near various parts of the body, and a thin stratum of ferruginous matter encased the skeleton at a little distance from the body and limbs. From these circumstances it is to be inferred that the deceased was interred in his armour. Other interments by inhumation have recently been discovered in the same neighbourhood, but without, in some instances, the ferruginous appearances. The remains of horses were found along with them. Interments by inhumation have also been found at Brough and at other stations, and, as later deposits, in Celtic barrows. Those where the bones have been found in situ, appear, like the one I have spoken of at Little Chester, to have been laid at full length on the back, the arms straight down by the sides. They appear in most instances to have been simply laid in a very shallow grave, but little below the surface of the already formed mound, and to have been then covered to no great thickness with earth. Where interment has been by cremation, the urn, sometimes covered with a small flat stone, containing the burnt bones, has been placed in 8 small hole dug in the earth, or in a Celtic barrow, and covered over. Not unfrequently domestic vessels have been placed with the cinerary urn, as will be hereafter described.
As the interments of the Romano-British period in Derbyshire are, as I have said, but few, so, naturally, the articles found with them are far from numerous. They embrace, however, pottery and glass, coins, fibulæ, armillæ, and other ornaments of bronze and iron, knives, spear-heads, combs, etc., etc. Of fibulæ, the three examples here engraved will convey a very tolerable idea. The first was found with a Roman inter. ment in a Celtic barrow near Monsal Dale; the centre one was dug up with a quantity of human bones at Little Chester; and
the third one was found at Elton. It is somewhat peculiar in the twisting of the wire at the top. Circular fibulæ have also been
found in the county. Of armillæ a very fine pair, here shown, have recently been found at Stony Middleton, about eight feet
helow the surface.* They are of base silver and appear to have been much worn. They will be seen to be very similar in pattern to a pair found some few years ago at Castlethorpe, along with a number of Roman coins and other remains, which have been described in the “ Archælogical Journal.”
Iron knives have occasionally been found along with human
remains of this period. Instances of this have occurred at Middleton-by-Youlgreave and at Hartington, as well as in other
localities. They appear to have had wooden handles, which, of course, are, exeept small traces of texture, entirely decayed away. Spear and lance-heads, which have also been interred with the dead, have also been found. Of these, for purposes of comparison with those of other localities, I give two examples.
The first, which is of iron, is from Little Chester, where it was found along with human remains, and the second, which is of
bronze, was found at Hartshay. It is, as will be seen, of somewhat unusual form, and has a loop on either side. Another form, from Wardlow, is also here given. It is of bronze and is 31 inches long.
Combs and bone pins have been found occasionally with interments of this period.
Coins are, as a matter of course, very generally found with interments of the Roman period both in England and in other countries, and Derbyshire is no exception to the rule. Coins were buried with the dead in conformity with a superstitions belief that they would expediate the passage of the soul across the lake in Hades. The magic power of money in all connections with human life, originated this custom. In all worldly matters money then was, as it unfortunately now still is, the main, if not the only sure passport to place and honour; and thus it was, believed that the soul of the man who had not received the usual rites of burial, and in whose mouth no fee for the ferryman of the Stygian lake had been placed,* would wander hopelessly on its banks, while decent interment and a small brass coin would obviate any disagreeable enquiries that Charon might else be inclined to make as to the merits or claims of the applicant. Thus in the cinerary urns of the period of which I am speaking, coins are very commonly found, and also in interments by inhumation a small coin has in more than one instance in Derbyshire been found within the skull in such a manner as to leave no doubt of its having been placed inside the mouth of the deceased. In some instances a considerable number of coins have been found deposited together, or scattered about in a barrow along with the human remains. In Haddon Field a large number of coins, principally consisting of third brass of Constantine, Constans, Constantius II., Valentinian, Valens, and Gratian, were found along with bones, fragments of pottery, traces of decayed wood, and a portion of 8 glass vessel. At Minning-Low (the fine chambered tumulus described on page 188, ante), where several interments of the Romano-British period have undoubtedly been made in the earlier Celtic mound, many Roman coins along with portions of sepulchral urns, etc., have from time to time been found. These are principally of Claudius Gothicus, Constantine the Great, Constantine junior, Valentinian, and Constantius II. In a barrow near Parwich upwards of eighty coins of the later emperors were found. At Little Chester, some in connection with human remains, and others scattered about in different parts of the station, some hundreds of Roman coins have at various times been found. In my own possession are considerably more than a hundred examples from that locality, ranging from Vespasian to Arcadius, and including Vespasian, Titus, Nerva, Trajan, Hadrian, Antoninus Pius, Faustina senior, Marcus Aurelius, Faustina junior, Commodus, Gordianus III., Philippus senior, Volusian, Gallienus, Salonina, Postumus senior, Victorinus senior, Tetricus senior and junior, Claudius Gothicus, Carausius, Allectus, Constantius Chlorus, Helena, Licinius senior, Constantinus Maximus, Constantinus II., Constans, Constantius II., Family of Constantine, Magnentius, Valens, Arcadius, etc., etc.