Fine day, warm, brilliant sunshine. Alas, lacked the energy to rush for the early train to
so caught 11.10. To Museum, and found
the Essex County Standard had arrived. A paragraph describes
how young Thorpe, son of the butcher at Langham, who is now in Germany, found a
pig in a German dug-out in Holland, and killed it expertly for his mess. Odd to think that I saw him in
1940 when he came over to Sherbourne Mill with the meat-van, full of
excitement because a bomb had fallen in their yard at Langham. He was then 14 or 15.
Further digging, under great difficulties, revealed an altar of flint blocks, on top of which were broken antler-picks and some burnt substance. Nearby was a huge chalk penis, pointing towards the “Goddess”, with a line of quartz pebbles, representing the semen, leading to her on her ledge. Armstrong’s theory is that this pit proved unproductive, as the floor-stone was not of the right quality. Before beginning another pit, where they hoped for better luck, the miners had gone through the ceremony of “fertilising” their little goddess, in the hope of “breeding good stone elsewhere”. In the discussion after the paper, one speaker mentioned that in
India similar belief in the
breeding power of stones and the existence of male and female stones exists
until this day.
Another speaker, discussing why Grimes Graves pits were every dug with such labour, when the floor-stone out-crops in the little valley a few hundred yards away, suggested that as this valley was obviously of glacial origin perhaps the pits were actually pre-Ice Age!
The “goddess”, penis and other relics were shown on the table. Old Dr Margaret Murray was there. Spoke to her, and reminded her of our talks about the Easthorpe “shiela-na-gig” many years ago.
Had tea, and went round to see Lambeth at the
, where he offered
me a bed for the night. Showed me a
complete bowl of dark grey ware, with wide mouth, rolled rim, plain moulding
and slight cordon at foot, found at Priory Farm, Swaffham Prior, about
1942. It was discovered by a Land Girl,
Miss King, when tractor ploughing.
Several others were found at the same time, but were broken by the
plough. All were cinerary urns – this
one has never yet been emptied. Miss
King took the urn to the Archaeology Museum, but Miss O’Reilly refused to see
her or to accept the urn as a gift, so the girl took it to Lambeth’s place and
left it, not wanting to carry it all the way back to Swaffham. Lambeth promises to see if he can get it as a gift
for us. A most interesting find, and the
nearest Romano British urnfield that is recorded near to the Folk
Spent the evening talking museum-world scandal, had one of Mrs. Lambeth’s delightful vegetarian meals, and so to bed, hopeful that this is not to be a night when one of the occasional ‘divers’ or rockets reaches the Cambridge district.
Lovely moon tonight, the town looking exceptionally grand.