Discovery, of Ancient Remains in Rousay, Orkney.
Some interesting researches, which may prove of considerable antiquarian importance, have just been made on the farm of Corquoy, in the valley of Sourin, island of Rousay, of which General Burroughs, C. 8., is proprietor. Immediately above the farm-house a group of mounds is situated, locally known as “ Menzies ’’ mounds a corruption of Magnus—and supposed to mark the site of an ancient burial place. These are five in number,, the. largest being irregularly surrounded by four smaller. On carefully trenching the mounds, each was found to contain a stone burial-place, consisting, in every case, of a top and bottom stone with four side stones, the whole neatly cemented with tempered red clay, pro 1 bably from the Sourin burn. The stones, which were of a flat but massive description, were partly naturally plane on the edge, arid partly roughly chipped into form, possibly with some stone implement. The fresh appearance of the stones and workmanship was especially noticeable, and the firmly set masonry was further strengthened by irregular blocks placed as buttresses to support the superincumbent weight. The measurement of the largest mound, which was the most interesting, and with the internal details of which the others closely correspond, was —outside circumference, 50 feet, and top 5 feet from surrounding level; inside.of burial place 2Y> feet by 2 feet, and foot depth. The centre of the cavity was almost filled with what seemed to be clay, mixed, with very minute fragments of bone, and the action of fire was clearly visible on the stones as well as on some calcined substance —> probably peat. Imbedded in this clay an oval vessel was found, heaped also with similar fragments of bones, etc., and resting mouth upwards, leastwise north and south. The material of the vessel is uncertain. It has a somewhat metallic appearance, interspersed with glittering points on a dark iron-colored ground. It is of oval shape at the rim, round which there is a kind of plain moulding; from this moulding it assumes a domelike shape, flattening into an oval base, on which it was found resting. The vessel measures —diameter of mouth, by 8 inches; height to top or base, inches; diameter of base, 4 yC, to inches; thickness irregular, but averaging a quarter of an inch. Various cracks are visible throughout, but the only part defective is the base, of which about one-third is wanting. Weight about 3 lbs. The most careful scrutiny failed to detect any further remains in this mound, nor was anything noteworthy found in the others. Two of the other mounds contained burial places rather squarer in form than the above. The- smallest one measured only 12 by 6.inches,-and no cement .seemed to have. been.used in its construction. Arrangements are being made for placing, the vessel or urn in the-Antiquarian Museum, Edinburgh, when competent judges may be able to fix the date of the mounds or the race to which the remains belong.
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