« PreviousContinue »
securely and efficaciously applied by means of wooden wedges driven underneath them. It is true that when the lower wall is replaced, the props are removed, but the principle is the same. Stone wedges would have been of course used instead of wooden ones, and even according to Captain Lukis's account there appear to be certain indications at the base as if the stone itself had been curtailed at this end; and it is not improbable this appearance may have been caused by the action of the stone wedges. It is curious that one of the pillarstones has been worked, and even polished. This polishing might indicate that it is of later date than the chamber itself; and as it is certain, as will be presently seen, that this has been the burial-place of more than one, and may have been in continued use for generations, it may be fairly suggested that, in course of time, the security of the capstone of the chamber being doubtful, the precaution of thus propping it up was taken, long after the first construction of the chamber. But whether these replies to Captain Lukis's objections are considered satisfactory or not, there is still the evidence of Pennant to be set aside, as regards the use and object of the pillar. In addition to all this, it might fairly be asked, is there any instance known of anything like a stylus, found in any of the chambers which have of late years been carefully examined by competent persons, as is the case more particularly in Britanny. Nothing, we believe, of the kind has been ever found or even looked for. It is true that magnificent discoveries of stone implements have been made ; but these cannot be considered as in any way connected with any Eastern or other mysticism, being simply the implements and ornaments placed by the body for use in its future state of existence; or, when they are found purposely broken, as is frequently the case, simple tributes of affection and respect, as if such articles were too precious to be ever used again. Independently, therefore, of what Pennant has told us, most will probably consider these stones (if there are two)
3RD SER., VOL. XV.
as simple pillar-props, and in no way connected with any religious or other superstition.
No traces remain of the stone bench once running round the chamber, on which were said to have been placed bones, which crumbled soon after their discovery. Unfortunately, no record of the opening of the chamber has been preserved, and the account given by Pennant does not intimate whether the bones had been burnt or not.
The gallery which led to the chamber, measured in 1847 about eighteen feet, while in Pennant's time it was nearly twenty feet. As, however, he does not allude to the two side cists or small chambers on each side of the eastern extremity of the gallery (see Plan No. 12) it is likely that he did not examine the structure himself. They may, however, have as easily escaped his notice as they seem to have done that of the writer in the Archeologia Cambrensis. The fact is, that the traces of them, especially of that on the south side of the gallery, are so faint that they are with difficulty made out by an unpractised eye. By some its very existence is doubted. Some thirty or forty years ago, however, one of the servants at Dinam remembers playing up and down the then tolerably perfect carn with his playfellows, the boldest of whom would occasionally enter the chamber itself. His impression is that these chambers existed as is laid down by Captain Lukis in his plan.
These additional chambers prove beyond doubt, that this carn (and probably the other which once stood beside it) was one of the burial-places of the district for a considerable period. Miss Lloyd mentions, in confirmation of this, that there were numerous remains of cromlechs in the adjoining fields. We have innumerable proofs how constantly the burial-places of the earliest races were called into requisition by succeeding races, so that centuries, in some instances, have intervened between the earliest and latest deposits. Unfortunately, no record has been kept of the remains found of the Bryncelli carns, and but for the accidental preservation
of the ruins of one of them, no evidence at all of secondary interments would have existed.
That such was the practice in Wales, as elsewhere, admits of little doubt, although the general destruction of monuments of this class has left so few means of proving it. Nothing, however, is more natural, and therefore more probable, than that men would make use of convenient receptacles for their dead, which they found ready made for them, rather than (except under especial circumstances) undertake the cost and labour of constructing such mounds and chambers. Although, therefore, there is no actual necessity that proofs of such a practice should be brought forward, as will be found collected in Ten Years Diggings, yet the existence of the side chambers at Bryncelli is of some importance as confirming what might have been concluded from à priori reasoning
The accompanying views of the interior and side view (Nos. 13 and 14), are also from the pencil of Captain Lukis, and will convey a most accurate notion of the character of the existing structure to those who have not had an opportunity of examining the original. The whole is surrounded by a wall erected many years ago by the late Mr. C. Evans of Plas Gwyn, but for whose interposition, it is probable, that the whole would have been by this time swept away. As already mentioned, living men remember the present ruin a high mound of earth and stones overgrown with blackthorn, the sloes of which they gathered in their younger days, so that the work of destruction must have gone on with activity, as it is at least a quarter of a century since Mr. Evans came to its rescue and saved it from annihilation.
E. L. BARNWELL.
THE OGHAM INSCRIBED STONES OF WALES.
From time to time scattered notices of Ogham inscriptions, particularly of those discovered in Wales, have appeared through the volumes of the Archæologia Cambrensis. These notices have generally been very brief, simply describing some particular monument, but not entering critically into the examination of a class of inscriptions in my opinion by far the most interesting of any hitherto discovered in the British islands. A statement made some years since by the Rev. Dr.Graves, now Lord Bishop of Limerick, at a meeting of the Cambrian Archæological Association (published in Arch. Camb.,iv, p.314), hinted that the Ogham character was a trick of the middle ages which would soon be exposed ; and a promise, many times repeated, that this exposition would take place, seems to have satisfied many persons as to the age and nature of these inscriptions. As, however, the promised work has not yet appeared, and as many important discoveries have in the interim been made, I have thought it well to again awaken the attention of the Cambrian Archæological Association to a subject, which I believe has a very remarkable bearing on a remote period of the history of Western Britain. The first discovery of an Ogham inscription, or at least the first notice of one, strange to say, was made by the celebrated Edward Lhwyd. That indefatigable philologist, during a tour made in Ireland in the year 1707, mentions a monument seen by him near Dingle, county Kerry, having certain curious scorings on the angle, which appeared to him to have been made with such an appearance of method and design as led him to conclude they were alphabetical characters. His account was published in the Philosophical Transactions, v. 27. This monument is now well known as the Trabeg stone, as the copy given by Lhwyd
though incorrect, is quite sufficient to identify it, and is as follows:
The actual inscription from a careful copy made by myself is as follows:
This reads BRUSCCOS MAQI CALU OC OC,
which I render “ Brusccos the son of Calu, alas! alas ! The first name in this inscription is a remarkable one, and, strange to say, it is to be seen in an inscription found at Lincoln which gives the name of Nominius Sacer, the son of Bruscus, of the tribe of the Sennones in Gaul (Civis Sennonii). The word Oc is an interjection, and signifies alas! Woe is me! My grief! O is equivalent to Oc.
In 1732 McCurtin published his English-Irish Dictionary at Paris, in which he gives a short chapter on the Ogham, and a scale with trifling exceptions similar to that now generally adopted by Ogham scholars; Mc Curtin, however, does not appear to have been cognizant of the existence of megalithic monuments, bearing Ogham inscriptions. In 1785 Mr. Theophilus O'Flanagan, in a communication made to the Royal Irish Academy, announced the discovery of an Ogham inscription on Callan Mountain in the county of Clare. For several years no further attention was directed to this subject until 1790, when Mr. Pelham, agent to the Marquis of Lansdowne's Kerry estates, rediscovered the Trabeg stone, also monuments at Ballysteenig Lugnagappul, three of the inscribed stones at the cairn of Ballintaggart, and five of those on the mound at Ballinrannig on the strand at Smerwick harbour; he was also