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XXIV.—Excavations on the site of the Roman city at Silchester, Hants, in 1894; with Appendices on: (1) a hoard of Roman coins found at Silchester; and (2) hoards of Roman silver coins found in Britain


The report which. I have the honour to lay before the Society to-night on behalf of the Executive Committee of the Silchester Excavation Fund deals with the excavations carried on during the fifth year of the systematic exploration of the site.

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page 441 note a The dimensions of the chambers of House No. 1 are as follow: 1, 21 feet 3 inches by 28 feet 8 inches; 2, the same by 13 feet; 3, the same by 15 feet 9 inches; 4, thesame by 31 feet; 5, 17 feet 10 inches by 19 feet 6 inches; 6, 13 feet by 19 feet 6 inches.

page 441 note b Archaeologia, liv. 233, where an illustration of it is given.

page 442 note a The following were the dimensions of Block I.: eastern chamber, 13 feet by 11 feet 3 inches; passage, 33 feet 4 inches long by 6 feet 6 inches wide; western chamber, 11 feet 3 inches by 12 feet.

page 444 note a The dimensions of the various chambers in this building are: for No. 1, 48 feet 3 inches by 10 feet 3 inches; No. 2, 33 feet by 14 feet 7 inches; No. 3, 13 feet 10 inches by 8 feet 7 inches;. No. 4, the same by 4 feet 7 inches.

page 444 note b A well of similar construction was found in Leicester in 1860. See Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of London, 2nd Series, i. 245, where a woodcut of it is given.

page 448 note a The following are the dimensions of the various chambers of House No. 3: No. 1, 8 feet 1 inch by 10 feet; No. 2, 17 feet 8 inches by 29 feet 7 inches; No. 3, 14 feet 9 inches by 13 feet 7 inches; No. 4, 3 feet 11 inches by 4 feet 9 inches; No. 5, the same by 6 feet 11 inches; No. 6 (passage), 6 feet 10 inches by 29 feet 6 inches; No. 7, 10 feet by 15 feet 3 inches; No. 8, the same by 15 feet 6 inches; No. 9, the same by 20 feet 5 inches; No. 10, 17 feet 6 inches by 26 feet 8 inches; No. 11, the same by 10 feet 8 inches; No. 12, the same by 15 feet.

page 449 note a Dimensions of chambers in Block III.: No. 1 (area), 45 feet by 31 feet 2 inches; No. 2 (passage), 16 feet 7 inches by 3 feet 7 inches; No. 3, the same by 9 feet 4 inches; No. 4, 12 feet 9 inches by 15 feet 7 inches; No. 5, the same by 17 feet 6 inches; No. 6, 18 feet 1 inch by 16 feet 3 inches.

page 449 note b Its north, south, and west walls averaged 2 feet 3 inches in thickness, the remaining one being only 1 foot 8 inches thick.

page 450 note a The dimensions of the various divisions of Block IV. are as under: No. 1 (area), 34 feet 10 inches by 23 feet 6 inches. Chambers: No. 2, 17 feet 9 inches by 11 feet 1 inch; No. 3, the same by 15 feet 3 inches.

page 451 note a The walls were 1 foot 10 inches thick.

page 454 note a The dimensions of the various blocks in Insula X. are here appended:

Block I. Area 40 feet by 33 feet 6 inches. Depth of chambers 15 feet 1 inch.

Block II. No. 1 (area), 32 feet 9 inches by 27 feet 7 inches. Undivided space at north end. No. 2,15feet 1 inch by 27 feet 7 inches.

Block III. No. 1 (area), 29 feet 6 inches by 31 feet. Chambers: No. 2, 16 feet 9 inches (?) by 15 feet 2 inches; No. 3, the same by 10 feet 5 inches.

Block IV. Area 35 feet (?) by 20 feet 2 inches (?). Chamber 15 feet by 8 feet 6 inches (?).

Block V. No. 1 (area), 34 feet 1 inch by 23 feet 10 inches. Chambers: No. 2, 14 feet 10 inches, by 12 feet 9 inches; No. 3, the same by 9 feet 3 inches.

Block VI. No. 1, 13 feet 1 inch by 12 feet 8 inches; No. 2, the same by 5 feet 3 inches; No. 3, 9 feet 2 inches by 8 feet 8 inches; No. 4, the same by 9 feet; No. 5, 10 feet 2 inches by 5 feet; No. 6, the same by 13 feet 2 inches; No. 7, 19 feet 7 inches by 8 feet 8 inches.

page 455 note a A full list and details respecting this treasure, obligingly communicated by our Fellow Mr. H. A. Grueber, will be found in the Appendix to this Report.

page 457 note a The following are the dimensions of the divisions in the blocks of Insula XI.:

Block I. Walls 2 feet thick. No. 1 (area), 37 feet 8 inches by 27 feet 8 inches. Chambers: No. 2, 18 feet 9 inches by 12 feet 3 inches; No. 3, the same by 9 feet 5 inches. Chamber north of Block I. walls 2 feet thick, 13 feet by 15 feet 9 inches.

Block II. Walls averaging 1 foot 9 inches thick. Area, 32 feet by 25 feet 8 inches; inner area, 19 feet 9 inches by 18 feet 9 inches.

Block IV. Walls 1 foot 10 inches thick. No. 1 (area), 36 feet by 28 feet 3 inches. Chambers: No. 2, 16 feet 6 inches by 12 feet 6 inches; No. 3, the same by 14 feet 6 inches. Chamber at angle of modern road, walls 2 feet thick, 17 feet 9 inches by 16 feet 4 inches.

page 458 note a From the paucity of buildings, etc. in the insula, it has not been thought necessary to give a complete plan of it here. The only buildings found in it are shown in fig. 2, to the same scale 1/30; inch to a foot) as the other plans.

page 458 note b The following are the dimensions of the two chambers in Insula XII.: the northern, 16 feet by 16 feet 3 inches, walls 2 feet thick; the southern, 14 feet 8 inches by 18 feet 9 inches, walls 1 foot 8 inches thick.

page 462 note a Regio VII., Insula II., No. 11.

page 462 note b Fiorelli, Descrizione di Pompei, 184.

page 464 note a Pliny.

page 464 note b It may be of some interest to note here the methods by which the two plants named were, and still are, prepared for the use of dyers.

In the case of woad, the following extract from a work published early in the present century gives an account of the processes by which the raw material is rendered available for the dyers' use: “The plant, after being cut, washed, and partly dried, is carried to a mill, and there ground to a paste, after which it is formed into a mass or heap, and being covered to protect it from rain, is left to undergo a partial fermentation for about a fortnight. The heap is then stirred, well mixed, and formed into balls or cakes, which are exposed to the sun and wind to dry, and thereby obviate the putrefactive process which would otherwise take place. Being afterwards collected in heaps, these balls again ferment, become hot, and emit the odour of ammonia or volatile alkali…. After the heat has continued for some time, these balls fall into a dry powder, and are then sold to the dyer, who now seldom employs them without a mixture of indigo, which last the woad helps to deoxygenate and render soluble. Formerly, however, this preparation, fermented by well-known means, was employed alone, though it was incapable of giving a deep and bright blue colour, because the tingent matter was in union with too great a proportion of the other constituents of the plant. The colour, however, which it didgive was very durable.” Edward Bancroft M.D., Experimental Researches concerning the Philosophy of Permanent Colours, and the best means of producing them by Dyeing, Calico-Printing, etc. (London, 1813), i. 166, note.

Woad is still cultivated for dyeing purposes both in Lincolnshire and Cambridgeshire, and its preparation, with certain differences, is the same as that described above.

The same writer, describing the plant (Rubia tinctorum, Lin.) from which the noted madder dye is obtained, says, “This is properly the Zealand madder, and appears to have been greatly cultivated in that province during more than 300 years; the Emperor Charles the Fifth having encouraged its cultivation by particular privileges conferred on the inhabitants of Zuyderzee for that purpose; and Great Britain alone is supposed for a long time to have paid annually two millions of guilders (nearly 200,000l. sterling) for the purchase of Zealand madder; which I believe is never exported otherwise than in a prepared state.” Ibid. ii. 221-222. He then goes on to explain the manner in which the roots of the plant, which contain tho colouring matter, were dried by stove heat and ground into powder for export.

At the present day madder is imported in powder from the south of France.

An extract from another and earlier work, the Discorsi on Dioscorides of Matthioli, the Siennese physician and naturalist, will show the cultivation of madder for dyeing purposes in Italy in the sixteenth century. This writer says that the plant was well known in Tuscany everywhere where the dyeing of cloth was practised, and that as the dyers were known to buy every year an infinite quantity of the roots, the country people during the winter dug up these roots and sold an infinite quantity of them in bundles to the dyers. I discorsi di M. Pietro Matthioli, Sanese, medico ccesareo, etc.—nelle sei libri di Pedacio Dioscoride Anazarbeo della materia medidnale. In Venetia MDLXVIII. ii. 971.

From these remarks it may be seen that in Italy in the sixteenth century the madder roots were furnished to the dyers unprepared, who must therefore have had to grind them themselves. The fact here stated may show what was probably the practice at a much earlier time.

Pliny, writing concerning the distribution of this plant throughout the Roman empire, says that it was produced in nearly all the provinces in great abundance, and was used for dyeing wool and leather.

page 466 note a We are indebted to our Fellow Mr. William Morris for valuable hints as to various processes of dyeing, and also for the opportunity obligingly afforded us by him of seeing some of those processes in operation.

page 468 note a A similar stone to that in the ring, but of larger size and unset, was found during the excavations of 1893.

page 469 note a Of Faustina, Julia Domna, Marcus Aurelius, Caracalla, Macrinus, Elagabalus, Maximinus, Gordian III., Valerianus, Postumus, Honorius.

page 469 note b Only one other medieval coin, a silver penny of Edward I. now inthe Reading Museum, is recorded to have been found at Silchester.

page 469 note c xvi. 84, and viii. 89.

page 469 note d Rev. Bruce J. Collingwood, The Roman Wall, 3rd edition (London, 1867), 419, and Archœlogia Æliana, iii. 269, where the purse is figured.

page 470 note a FU. I. Catalogue of the National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, Edinburgh, 1892, p. 224.

page 473 note a For the absence of these coins in the hoard see Appendix II., page 489.

page 491 note a Gooss, Chronikder Archäologischen Funde Siebenbürgens (Hermannstadt, 1876), p. 113; Mommsen and Blacas, Histoire de la Monnaie Romaine, iii. 51.

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