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PREHISTORIC! TIMES.
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arid country. GrO down the Solent and sail up the Beaulieu River to Buckler's Hard. Dismiss from your thoughts the occasional house you will see and you will have a good idea of what the Itchen was like before Roman, Dane, and Saxon was thought of, and when the eight socketed celts and palstaves, found at Gobden Bridge, were
It was about this time that one day a bronze founder was plying his trade, within a hundred yards of where Pear Tree Church stands. He made moulds for palstaves out of the yellow sandy clay in the hill, and melted his copper and tin together. He made some forty implements, some with loops at the side and some without. Had time allowed he would have ground up the cutting edge of each and rubbed out the mark where the two sides of the mould met, but something prevented. The whole hoard was buried in a square-cut hole, and there, six years ago, they were found, and are shown you to-day.
The bronze age is supposed to have ceased some 500 years B.C. The fine bronze sword from Bishopstoke, and the spear head from St. Denys belong to its latest period.
Of the period known as the late Celtic, we have no relics. _ Ihe gold torque from Romsey probably belongs to that time, but it is not yet placed in the Exhibition.
With the Roman comes the dawn of history, and so my alloted task ends. Dean Kitchen, in his charming history of Winchester, draws a picture of how the Romans, having founded Portus Magnus, sailed up the Itchen and saw its valley fringed with tangled woodland inviting them inward. The Romans were, however, intensely practical. In plain words, they went where anything was to be had. At the bend of the Itchen, opposite Nortliam, they found a double ditch of the bronze age, and this strong position they occupied and called Clau-sentum. " Twelve miles further up they found a powerful tribe and settlement, with a refuge camp crowning the adjoining hill, and here they made their town of Venta Belgarum. With these things 1 do not deal. I conclude with an appeal for a greater respect and reverence for the relics of the prehistoric age, and for a more careful and intelligent study of the same. .
As I have spoken of the Romans I conclude in the words of a Roman, which, when he uttered them, brought the theatre to its feet:—
I am a man !
Anything that belongs to man must be of interest to me.
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