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belonging to the more modern times intervening between .the periods to which our earlier annals take us back, and the reign, say, of Queen Elizabeth? Want of space forbids my entering upon the discussion of the possible answers. Perhaps, in the future, I may have an opportunity of dealing with them.
Meanwhile, let me say, that in the preparation of this Paper, I have been greatly assisted by Miss Maggie Knowles, and Mr. George Raphael, one of our Members. The former has drawn with great care, and close attention to my directions, the illustrations which accompany the letterpress; whilst the latter not only permitted me to draw largely for information on his stores of accumulated experience, but very kindly placed at my disposal his fine collection of arrow-heads, that I might be the better able to study them carefully, and to compare them with those in my own possession. At least the half of the examples illustrated are from his collection. They, and the others, are represented here the actual size.
ON CUP-MARKINGS ON MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS DUE TO ECHINUS L1VIDUS.
By WILLIAM FRAZER, F.R.C.S.I., Hon. F.8.A. (scot.), Vice-president.
Tn the month of August, 1890, when visiting the county Leitrim, I discovered on the south side of Lough Melvin some remarkable earlystone monuments that are not described or represented on the sheets of the Ordnance Survey maps. A few years previous, near the same spot, was a well-marked dolmen of considerable size. It was, I regret to say, destroyed, the owner being unaware of its archaeological importance.
The rude stone remains still preserved are fine examples of so-termed "Giants' Graves," or " Beds of Grama and Diarmod," consisting of two parallel rows of stones decreasing in size from a large terminal headstone, placed transversely at the upper end, to the lower part; and originally covered over by huge slabs. Most of these are overthrown and scattered, but the arrangement of the boundary walls was sufficient to show their original design, and the class of ancient monument they belonged to.
In addition to the " Giants' Graves" still remaining, I believe others must have been destroyed to permit the erection of two residences (one of which has fallen into ruin, and only a portion of the kitchen left) on the lands; for fragments of blocks of stone, marked by the "cups" I am about describing, are to be found scattered in the fields, and stone fences, and even paving an outyard. They are easily distinguished from ordinary loose stones obtained from the surface of the ground in abundance, and without trouble. This entire district abounds in blocks of stone on the surface of the fields, so that the erection of numerous stone boundary fences affords the simplest means of disposing of them.
Many of the great blocks of stone employed in the construction and covering of these graves were of huge size. One I measured was 9 feet in length, 6} feet broad, and 4| feet in thickness; another was 7 feet in length by 6£ feet broad; a third stone was 10 feet long by 5 feet in breadth; and a fourth stone was 8 feet long by 6 feet across, and 2J feet thick.
It would appear this locality must, in early ages, have been selected for the favourite burial-place of a primitive race, of whose life-history our records fail to give us sufficient information to connect the tombs with their occupants in a satisfactory manner, and even tradition affords little assistance. These "Giants' Graves" too yield no osseous remains to exercise the skill of the anthropologist. They contain neither urns nor traces of interments, and afford no weapons of bronze or stone for the museum; indeed, they are seldom observed unless in a broken and damaged condition, their covering-stones, however huge and heavy, overthrown and displaced, and their contents, if any, completely scattered and destroyed, though this class of tomb is found extending from Cork and Kerry in the South of Ireland to our Northern shores.
The scene of those primitive interments on the borders of Lough Melvin was striking in its beauty. They were situated on elevated ridges of land rising along the southern shore of the lake, having as a back-ground precipitous rocks of the Leitrim range of mountains. In front lay the waters of Lough Melvin, beyond which was seen a broad strip of land reaching from the river Erne, and the falls of Ballyshannon westward. On the sea-shore, about five miles distant, lay Bundoran, concealed from view by higher lands between it and Lough Melvin. Further off, like a second lake, was the Bay of Donegal, with the lofty ranges of the mountains of Donegal defining the northern limits of the prospect. Such was the chosen resting-place of these ancient people, looking over land and sea towards where ocean received the setting sun; and, with infinite labour, to it they had conveyed large and heavy masses of stone from the distant seashore to cover the remains of their dead, for, I believe, there can be no doubt those stone constructions are sepulchral. The situation well deserves its name of "Mount Prospect."
If the north-western portion of Ireland has undergone distinct elevation since those tombs were formed, Lough Melvin must have once been an arm of the sea, like a Norwegian fjord; and the lowland at its western extremity, where now the Drowes river yields its salmon to the fisherman, was the estuary through which its waters flowed. There are strong reasons for believing in such a change, which I need not enter upon at present.
Numerous cup-like depressions scattered irregularly on the exposed surfaces of these monumental stones attracted my special notice. It appeared at first they were undoubted typical examples of the so-termed "Cupped Stones" of archsologists, of which we have representations engraved in most of our journals in connexion with rude stone monuments; but another more probable explanation of their source than ascribing them to human workmanship occurred to me, and the more I have considered this solution, the wider I believe will be found its application in accounting for many of these cupmarkings. As for the large blocks of stone, it was evident they bore traces of long exposure to the action of water, for their surfaces were worn and abraded in a manner identical to that of masses of similar rocks now found in situ along the coast-line at Bundoran.
JOUR. U.S.A.I., VOL. V., PT. I., §Th 8BR. F
These depressions may be described as cups, like segments of an egg, ranging from an inch and a-half to about three inches in diameter, and sometimes assuming an elongated ovoid form. Their perfect shape and uniformity of character confirmed my opinion that some uniform origin must be sought to explain their occurrence, and it was also obvious that they were not produced by detachment, through exposure to the atmosphere and subsequent weathering, of imbedded nodules of harder or softer material in the rock itself, which was homogeneous.
I recalled to my memory, having read some years since a communication published in the "Annals of Natural History," by M. Valenciennes, in which he described the remarkable property possessed by a certain form of Echinus (then known as Echinus lividus, but by recent writers re-named Strongylo-centrotus lividus) of excavating hollow cup-shaped cavities in solid rock surfaces, where they were able to reside and resist the powerful disturbing force of sea waves beating in storm against the granite rocks of Brittany. The Paper, of which I append an abstract, is contained in vol. xvii., N.S., page 46 of the "Annals." These Echini are capable not alone of attacking and hollowing out granite rocks in localities along the Bay of Biscay, they are found excavating their homes even in rocks of Old Red Sandstone. It appears that this peculiar faculty becomes developed under the influence of special circumstances dependent on locality, such as frequent exposure to stormy seas and the beating of heavy surf; for in the more tranquil waters of the Mediterranean they seem to lose their power of excavating stony habitations. I was also aware of a Paper by Professor E. P. Wright and J. Reay Green, "A Report on the Marine Fauna of the South-west Coast of Ireland made to the British Association in 1858," which is as follows :—"We think we have discovered the 'first appearing' on the south coast of Echinus lividus on some sunken rocks out at sea, and it appears to us that a curious relation exists between the vertical and geographical distribution of the species in question, since the higher the latitude in which it is found the shallower the water it would appear to frequent. At Dingle, for example, it lives and thrives far up in the littoral zone, whereas about the Cape Clear district it loves the deep rock pools, where it is only exposed to view at the very lowest tides, and even then with ten or fifteen feet of water always over it."
Next day I went to the sea-shore at Bundoran, and was happy to find, in situ, similar rocks to those forming the "Giants' Graves," also perforations in those rocks, and the Echinus itself lodging in them. This, I believed, was the first time it was noticed so far north along our coasts. It is now well known, and in the January number of the "Irish Naturalist" for 1895 is published a representation of the cup-like depressions and their inhabitants, taken from a photograph by Mr. R.Welch, of Belfast. I owe to Professor Scharff specimens of the hollowed rock cavities and of the Echinus which he obtained from Bundoran.