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The Philosophical transactions of the Royal society of London, from their commencement in 1665, in the year 1800 (Volume 8) online

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sea. They are mostly composed of adventitious earth, with commonly a cir-
cular hole, of about 2 feet diameter and depth, sunk under the centre of the
base, containing at bottom a small portion of a fat black earth, about 1 inch
thick, and covered by pretty large stones to sustain the superincumbent weight
of the earth.

Though they had hitherto found no urn in searching several barrows, yet
being persuaded by the unctuous black earth, and the cylindrical pits, in the



centre of every one of them, the artful position of the stones to cover and
guard them, and the foreign earth, that these barrows were erected for sepul-
chres ; they resolved to proceed further, and pitched on one somewhat different
from the rest, both as its situation seemed to regard a greater number of bar-
rows, and as its circumference appeared to have a very large circle of stones
round it, without any ditch or fossa.

Tiiey began a passage through the outer circle of stones, of 5 feet broad, and
2 high ; then passed through adventitious earth till they came to a second
circle of stones, of 3 feet high, and 3 feet broad : after them appeared nothing
but foreign earth, till at the centre of the barrow was found an oblong square
pit, of the depth of one foot and half, and breadth 2 feet, and length 5 feet ;
in the bottom appeared a black greasy matter, as in the other barrows, about an
inch thick ; but the pit was not covered or defended by any stones. However,
being not satisfied, they examined the uttermost circle of stones, and on the
inside of it they struck on a large flat stone, about 5 feet broad, and 1 foot
thick, under which, when lifted up, were found two other thin flat stones,
and under them a smaller flat stone, which covered an urn, fig. 7» pi- 9, which
also stood upon another flat stone in a small pit, deeper than the circle of
stones, and carefully wedged in, as well as supported, with many small stones
round it. This urn is made of burnt or calcined earth, very hard, and black in
the inside; it has four little ears or handles; its sides are not half an inch
thick ; in it were seven quarts of burnt bones and ashes. The urn will hold 2
gallons and more ; its height is 134- inches, diameter at the mouth 8, at the
middle 1 1 , and at the bottom 6-^.

Mr. W. describes also some ancient pillars and encampments ; and then
subjoins remarks on several nations that practised urn burials accompanied with
tumuli, &c.

It would be tedious and needless, he adds, to enumerate all the nations that
burned their dead, and erected tumuli over them ; we need only remember,
that it was the custom among most eastern nations, and continued with them,
after their descendants had peopled the most western and northern parts of
Europe. Hence it is easily traced in Greece, Latium, Iberia, Gallia, and Bri-
tannia, as well as Germany, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, till Christianity ap-
peared, and abolished it.

That the Celtse and Britains inhabited here, need not be proved ; the relics
or remains of Druidism being traced in carneds, cromleches, meini gwyrs, for-
tifications, and the like.

That the Phenicians first, and after them the Grecians, knew these islands,
and traded here for tin, long before the Romans' knowledge of them, is plain.


and easily proved by Grecian and Roman authors, as Strabo, Polybius,
Pliny, &c.

That the Romans conquered great part of Britain, is not disputed ; but whe-
ther they possessed the most western part, now Cornwall, many learned

Mr. W. states it as a vulgar error, that the Roman soldiers made the high-
ways in Britain ; when it is plain, he says, that the poor conquered Britains
under them, as masters and overseers, et inter verbera et contumelias, caus-
wayed the bogs, and pared woods ; paludibus et sylvis emuniendis, are Tacitus's
words. This was the unhappy state of our conquered ancestors the Britons.
He makes many remarks on the mixture of words in our provincial dialects ;
also on various Roman coins, &c.

The Danes, he adds, certainly landed here in Cornwall, but by invitation
from the Britons, to assist them to overcome the Saxons, and probably never
had any settlement here. They, as friends, did not want fortifications for their
defence in Cornwall, since they went as far as Exeter with the Britons against
the Saxons, who could never penetrate Cornwall till the Qth century, when, by
one fatal battle, the Britons were obliged to become tributaries.

Having, however, endeavoured to trace all the nations, which could be sup-
posed to have known Cornwall, Mr. W. leaves it to learned gentlemen to con-
jecture and discover what nation erected these tumuli.

Extracts of two Letters from Sign. Camillo Paderni at Rome, to Mr. Allan
Ramsay, Painter, Covent- Garden, concerning some ancient Statues, Pictures,
and other Curiosities, found in a subterraneous Town, lately discovered near
Naples; dated Rome, Nov. 20, 1739, and Feb. 20, 1740. Translated by
Mr. Ramsay. N°458, p. 484.

The king of Naples has lately made a discovery of a subterraneous town at
Portici,* a small village at the foot of Mount Vesuvius ; and our old friend
Sign. Gioseppe Couart, as sculptor to the king, has the care of the statues
found there, with orders to restore them, where they are damaged. He tells
me, they enter into this place by a pit, like a well, to the depth of 88 Neapo-
litan palms ; -|- and then dig their way, after the manner of our catacombs,
under the bituminous matter, thrown out of the mountain in the time of great
eruptions, and called by the people of the country, the lava, which is as hard
as a flint. And when they meet with any thing that seems valuable, they pick
it out, and leave the rest. They have already found the following things :

* See these Transactions, N" 456i — Orig. f A Neapolitan palm contains near 9 inches. — Orig.

3k 2


An amphitheatre, with its steps ; an equestrian statue, but all broken to pieces ;
a chariot and horses of brass, which have had the same fate ; a large brazen
dish, said to be found in a temple. They have also dug out many other
bronzes, with several statues and bas-relieves, which Sign. Gioseppe is now
restoring. There have been found likewise 8 rings, with their cornelians en-
graved, and a bracelet of gold. And they have already taken up about 30 or
more pieces of ancient painting, some of which are exceedingly beautiful.

As soon as I arrived at Naples, Sign. Gioseppe met me, and carried me to
Portici. The first thing he showed me, was the pictures they had dug out,
such as were never seen in our days ; being finished to the highest pitch,
coloured to perfection, and as fresh as if they had been done but a monih

Particularly one piece, 8 palms broad by Q high, the figures as large as the
life, representing Theseus after having killed the Minotaur, which is wonder-
fully fine. The figure of Theseus is naked and standing, which, in my opinion,
cannot be more properly resembled to any thing, than the Antinous of the
Belvidera, both for the attitude and air of the head. It is drawn and coloured
with astonishing elegance. The Greek boys, who are represented as returning
him thanks for their deliverance, seem, for their noble simplicity, the work of
Dominichino ; and the composition of the whole is worthy of Raphael. An-
other piece represents Chiron teaching Achilles to touch the lyre. Another
large one, like that of Theseus, the figures as large as the life ; but we could
not comprehend the design of it. There is a woman sitting, dressed in white,
with one hand resting on her head, adorned with a garland of flowers, and se-
veral deities, as they appear to be, in the air, with a black figure of Hercules
leaning on his club. This figure is not of a piece with the rest, which are really
prodigies of the pencil ; but yet it is a fine picture. Under the woman is a
deer, which gives suck to a child. This sitting figure, and the heads of those
whom I take to be divinities, are exquisitely drawn and coloured.

Two other pieces of greater height than breadth, in which there are two
figures, half human and half fish, which fly in the air. Four landscapes, with
temples, and other buildings. Another figure, which seems to be Mercury,
with a child in his hand, delivering it to a woman sitting. A tyger, with a
boy upon it ; and another boy, who plays on a tympanum. With many

After having viewed all these things, which are already taken out, I went
down into the pit. The part where they are at work must have been a stupen-
dous building ; conjectured to have been an amphitheatre, by the circumference
of the walls, and the large steps, which are still preserved. But it is impossible


to see the symmetry of tlie whole ; because one must travel through strait
passages, like our catacombs in Rome. After having gone a good way under-
ground, I arrived at the place in which the paintings had been discovered, and
where they are daily discovering more. .'»

The first mistake those men, they call intendants, have committed, is, their
having dug out the pictures, without drawing the situation of the place, that
is, the niches, where they stood : for they were all adorned with grotesques,
composed of most elegant masques, figures, and animals ; which, not being
copied, are gone to destruction, and the like will happen to the rest. Then, if
they meet with any pieces of painting not so well preserved as the rest, they
leave them where they are found. Besides, there are pillars of stucco extremely
curious, consisting of many sides, all variously painted, of which they do not
preserve the least memory. It is very curious, to see these paintings all co-
vered with earth, which when taken off^", they appeared to have suffered nothing
by it. I believe this may be accounted for, by there being no damp or moisture
in the place ; and that the dry earth has been rather preservative than hurtful
to them. The ancient beams are yet discernible, but they are become like
charcoal. And I have seen there a place where anciently they kept lime for
building ; a great quantity of which yet remains as fresh as if made but

Extract of a Letter from Mr. George Knapton to Mr. Charles Knapton, on the

same Subject. N° 458, p. 489.

The ancient city of Herculaneum, which was swallowed up by an earthquake,
is now under the town Portici, a quarter of a mile from the sea, at the foot of
Vesuvius; and has no other road to it but that of the town-well, which is none
of the most agreeable, being in some parts very strait, in others wide, and
cut in a most rude manner. Toward the bottom, where you go into the city,
it is very broad, which they have made so, to turn the columns, which were
brought up ; they began this excavation 2/ years ago, and worked 5 years.

The principal things found were, two columns of oriental alabaster, which
were sold for 50,000 ducats ; also many fine statues, the best of which were
sold, and some were sent to Lorraine. Five are set up in the market-place, all
clothed figures, one in a consular habit, the others women ; they are all well
dressed, and in a fine taste, but want the heads. In the duke's villa, which is
near and by the sea-side, are two others entire, both women ; one seems to
be a Livia; also the fragments of a naked figure, which wants the head and
arms, of a good style. These, with some ornaments and fragments of various
sorts of marbles, are all that is to be seen there, of what has been dug up.


Having descended down the well, Mr. K. says, the place gives one a per-
fect idea of a city destroyed in that manner: for one there sees great quantities
of timber, in the forms of beams and rafters, some lying one way, some an-
other; some, as they broke in the fall, others entire; these are sticking in the
sides of the ways, and are become a perfect charcoal; but those in moist
places, and where the water ouses, you may run your hand into, and work like
a paste, and they have more the colour of rotten wood. The walls are some
tumbled slanting, others crossing them, and many are upright. One sees
great quantities of marble, as bits of window-cases and other ornaments, stick-
ing out in all parts. There seem to be, in one place, the ruins of some mag-
nificent building, which they have dug round; for there appear the bases in
white marble of square and round columns, which are all of a size; and, what
is surprising, they have not examined whether they have any columns on them,
which one stroke of the pick-axe would have done. I scraped away the earth
at the side of the base of a pilaster, and found the wall covered with a very
beautiful marble, but could not reach to discover what was on the top of it.
There are but two columns that appear, one of a red marble, the other of
brick covered with stucco, and fluted. In one place there are about 14 steps,
which resembled the seats of a theatre. Some of the walls have the plaster
remaining, and are painted, the colours still fresh. One sees nothing but pure
earth mixed with these ruins; whereas the surface of all that part of the coun-
try, quite to the sea, is covered with the cinders of Vesuvius. The buildings
were of brick covered with marble; for I found no other sort of stone there,
but thin plates of marble of all sorts in great quantity. Neither are there any
bases or capitals of large columns; 2 feet diameter is the most. Captain Em-
mery brought away a small capital of a pilaster, which is very curious, it being
much the same as was used by the Goths in Italy. This makes me think, that
they revived the ancient barbarous style, used before the introduction of the
Greek for the capital. This is certainly more ancient than the time of the
Goths in Italy. It was the only one of the kind we saw there.

E.rtract of a Letter from Mr. Crispe to Mr. George Knapton, on the same Sub-
ject as the two preceaing Papers. Dated Rome, jipril 24, 1740. N° 458,
p. 493.

At Portici I saw some antique paintings, which have lately been tak'en out of
the ruins of Herculaneum; two of them, about 12 feet square, with their
painted frames or borders round them, are as fresh and perfect as if done yes-
terday ; much more so, than some of Raphael's in the Vatican ; and for excel-


lence, and fine taste, they are beyond any thing 1 have seen. One of these is
called the Pomona, because, among other figures, there is a woman sitting
crowned with fruits and blossoms. The other is Theseus, having just killed
the Minotaur, who lies dead at his feet; a figure of a youth is kissing his right
hand; Ariadne and another figure stand at his left. The figures in both these
are as large as life. There is a third, somewhat less, of Chiron teaching
Achilles on the harp, if possible, still beyond the two former. There are above
50 other pieces, some whole figures, some heads, some mascheras, some land-
scapes, some architecture.

I went to visit the ruins under-ground, where I saw several pieces that were
taking down; particularly one 15 feet wide, and 8 high; it consists of the front
of a large temple, with buildings of the same architecture projecting on each
side, in the nature of the wings of a house. There are houses also adjoining
to this temple, with windows divided into squares, which squares are painted of
a greyish colour. In this architecture the perspective is very exact; the archi-
tecture is very rich and noble: the clare-obscure likewise in the other pictures, is
well understood: particularly in the Pomona, where there are d figures, which
are very agreeably grouped, and the eye is immediately pleased and reposed.

They have dug up a good many statues, but not above one or two that are
tolerably good. There is, however, a perfect bust of Agrippina, mother of
Nero, which was found standing in its niche, it is as clean as if just finished,
has not the least damage, and is equal to most things of that kind in the world.
I should not stick to say, it is altogether as fine a portrait as the Caracalla of
the Farnese. There are two equestrian statues in bronze, broken all to pieces,
but which, by the parts, one may judge to be as large as the Marcus Aurelius:
they are soon to be put together. They have found several antique rings, with
cameos and intaglias set in them; a fork, a silver spoon, made in the handle
like a modern one; the bowl is pointed like an olive-leaf; a case of surgeon's
instruments; several kitchen utensils; mouse-traps, vessels full of rice, a tri-
umphal car of bronze, &c.

j1 remarkable Cure performed by John Cagua, Surgeon, Plymouth, of a Wound,
of the Head, complicated with a large Fracture and Depression of the Skull,
the Dura Mater and Brain wounded and lacerated. N° 458, p. 495.

The patient was a boy 10 years of age, who fell down from the top of a high
wall, June 1 1, 1729. Mr. C. found him speechless, comatose, his eyes bloated,
his face wan, there was a bleeding at the nose and ears, and a great hemor-
rhage and vomiting; on examination, a large, long, deep, and contused wound


appeared, from the eyebrow all over the left side of his head ; and after having
shaved him, Mr. C. was surprised to feel, with his fingers, so many rugged
splinters of the cranium, confusedly depressed through the dura and pia mater,
into the substance of the brain ; the extremities of which appearing above the
dura mater, he extracted to the number of 5, besides several other bits and
small pieces ; in taking out the last splinter, being part of the superior and in-
terior part of the orbit, containing some of the basis and inferior part of the
OS frontis, joining by the sutura transversalis to the superior part of the os
malae, with part of the said suture and the upper extremity of the sphenoides,
almost to the lower end of the sutura coronalis and squamosa; this splinter was,
the major part of it, depressed under the superior part of the great depression
of the OS frontis, on extracting of which', 2 pieces of the substance of the
brain, with clotted blood, came out with it, one as large as a kidney bean,
and the other as large as a pea ; at which time the patient fainting and vomit-
ing, brought up most of what was contained in his stomach, mixed with bilious
and bloody matter.

The dura mater was very much contused, lacerated, and bare, upwards of 3-J-
inches in length, and at one end 1-l inch over, the remainder about ] inch,
and the edges rugged; from the upper part of the fracture, there was a depres-
sion of the OS frontis, which reached up to the sutura sagittalis, near the co-
ronal suture; one part of the cranium lapped over the other, which he sawed
off on the 3d or 4th day, it being an inch long, and occasioned a great deal of
trouble, before it could be raised up with the elevator, the inferior part of the
fracture being so thin and weak; the depressed part terminated in a long fissure
about an inch behind the coronal suture in the bregma. The scalp was so much
contused and lacerated, that the next day it began to mortify, which obliged
him to lay bare all that side of the coronal, and the greatest part of tlie
bregma, home to the lamboid suture, from the upper part of his head down
to his ear.

The dura and pia mater were very livid, and insensible to the touch, except
those parts where the brain was wounded, in the dressing of which the motion
or pulsation of the brain was very strong, and sometimes to that degree, that
it would rise considerably above the surface of the cranium; which obliged him
to keep it down sometimes more than 2 or 3 minutes with his fingers, and a
large and thick sindon dipped in a warm detergent lotion, before it would cease,
introducing it between the dura mater and the edges of the fracture.

The upper eyelid in a week's time imposthumated; and formed a tumour as
large as a hen's egg, which he opened, and kept it so a considerable time, be-
cause there was a plentiful discharge of matter from it, which was at first very


fetid, but afterwards became laudable, giving likewise a good discharge from
the wounded brain through the fracture of the upper part of the orbit. In
about a fortnight's time there was a very laudable suppuration from all the
wound, and the symptoms ceasing, the dura mater began to regenerate, look-
ing very red and fresh: the livid and lacerated parts sloughed off, and the extre-
mities of the fracture began to throw out their ossifications from the diploe and
both tables of the cranium, like small excrescences, or proud flesh, which in a
month's time spread over the whole fracture; and it grew harder sooner at the
extremities of the fracture than in the centre.

The motions or pulsations of the brain still continued, and were very visible
for a long time after, and were felt for some time after the wound was cured ;
especially in the inferior part of the coronal and bregma, over the inferior part
of the coronal suture, near the squamosa. Except the first 3 or 4 days, the
boy continued very sensible ; but during the first 6 weeks he would very often
complain of a violent pain in his head, attended with a comatose, and fever ;
which would soon go off again, by giving him an emollient and laxative clyster,
or a gentle laxative draught.

The 6th of October following, before his wound was quite well, he was
taken very ill with the small-pox, of the flux kind ; and though he had them
very severely, and was delirious on their coming out, yet he recovered. Nov.
11, the wound was perfectly cured; but in the latter end several exfoliations
were taken out of the upper part of the coronal. The beginning of iMarcli
1736, he was very well, strong and healthy; had his sight in both eyes, was
a very sensible and forward boy for his age, and had been upwards of 4 years at
sea, in his Majesty's and merchants' services.

Of ail exlraordinary Stone voided hy the Anus. By Mr. J. Macharness, Apo-
thecary, Chipping- Norton. N° 458, p. 500.

Mrs. Mary Smith, wife of John Smith, of Chadlington fti the county of
Oxon, aged about 31, a tall well-shaped strong-made woman, was seized with
a violent fever, accompanied with great heat, restlessness, pain in the head,
twitchings of the tendons, pale urine, unequal pulse, difiiculty of breathing,
great costiveness, but without thirst. She had a hard labour about 3 weeks
before. This fever seized her the 2d of January 17^7, and lasted till the 17th,
during which time she was very costive, and continued so till she had another
child, which was the latter end of February 1728, and was frequently subject
to attacks of a fever, notwithstanding she observed a most regular temperance.
Her labour was always difficult, and she bred her children very fast. She lay
in again in December 1728, and in May 1731, and this last had a hollow dent



above the temples, on the left side of the head, and was living at the date of
this communication. She lay in again in September 1732, and in October
1733. These last 2 labours were the most violent, and the children had
both dents in the same place of the head, the last the largest, the hollow being
large enough to contain half a small orange ; and the 2 children were still-
born, but alive till the moment they came to the birth.

In December 1733, she was seized with a fever, and violent pains across her
loins and back, great costiveness, pain at the neck of the bladder, and a pain
and heaviness about the region of the os pubis. Blood was taken away, and
purges, clysters, &c. were given ; notwithstanding which, she continued cos-
live, and the excrements that came from her were formed in a very odd figure,
like the leaves of the great house-leek, in strata, one on the other. And thua
she was for several months ; then her urine began to grow fetid, and a slimy
substance fell to the bottom of the pot. Her pains still continued : she found
no relief from any medicines, except opiates ; and these Mr. M. was obliged
to use but seldom, because of her costiveness. The stench of her urine in-
creased, and now a purulent matter was discharged in great quantity, he con-
cluded she had an ulcer in the bladder. Mr. Wisdom, a neighbouring sur-
geon, passed a catheter into the bladder, and he perceived a swelling just above
the groin, in the left hypochondre, which was very hard. We advised her to

Online LibraryRoyal Society (Great Britain)The Philosophical transactions of the Royal society of London, from their commencement in 1665, in the year 1800 (Volume 8) → online text (page 51 of 85)