[from Proc IoMNH&ASoc vol2 #2 1923]



Due to war conditions, this has been an unfavourable year for archeological interests and work, and no considerable incidents in investigation desirable to report, with the following exception. The Society's visit to 'King Orry's Grave,' in the autumn of 1915, had a good result, in evoking interest beyond expectation for a large number of the Society's members. This 'bronze age' monument, or fragments of a once noble monument„ was more intelligible by an admirable field lecture, illustrated by plans, by Mr. P. M. C. Kermode. Indeed, there is now hope that an excavation and re-mapping of the whole of this barrow may be undertaken, if funds are available for the cost of excavation. Two new discoveries are to be recorded, one of exceptional interest, viz., the sculptured stone found at Ballaragh; the other, a group of lintel graves near Douglas. The Ballaragh stone, found by the old road through the Abbeylands of Lonan, has curved or spiral lines of much the same type as those on the group of standing stones, called the 'Calder Stones,' at the entrance of Calderstones Park, near Liverpool. Though less elaborate, they seem to be of the same type as the carvings at Dowth and New Grange, in the Valley of the Boyne in Ireland they probably belong to the same very remote period. Such a discovery is in effect to extend the horizon of our past to beyond our earliest extant stone monuments, but short of the pigmy flint period, of which we have abundant vestiges collected, but as yet not arranged; that is to say, it leaves no longer an absolute blank in the matter of examples, where, heretofore, a blank was all that existed. The latest discovered site with lintel graves, possibly a keeill site, of which no record seems to have existed, is at Brae Hill, on that part of Ballaquayle which is now laid out for the new secondary school premises. To Mr. Teare, architect, is due the credit of this discovery, and acknowledgment for his plans and sketches made when the ground was opened. The road at Brae Hill lies between high and broad sod fences. The architect's arrangement of the school premises, which lie along the south side of the road, including the sacrificing of a strip of ground to form a side-walk to the high road, the strip in question being that occupied by the sod fence. When the fence was removed, a group of graves, oriented E. and W., was found on a level somewhat below the field surface, but on a level somewhat above that of the present way-bed of the road. Mr. Teare, before permitting the removal of the graves, which were formed of slate lintels, made a plan and also sketches o£ the graves exactly as at first exposed to view. He has also preserved the lintels, from which, with the help of his drawings and plans, the whole group could be again reconstructed if required for educational purposes. Beyond the highroad, in the field on the northern side, there exists a circular elevation, or mound, flattened out in the course of time, and this appears to have been a tumulus, or possibly a keeill knoll. If the mound and the grass were once within the same precinct, the burial ground must have extended across the space now occupied by the road, exactly as in the case of the Keeill Woirra at Gretch Moar in Lonan, visited by the Society in 1915. There were no graves in the field on the south side of the road, as was proved by the levelling of the field for the school playground, that is to say, the group of graves discovered were at the extreme south limit of the burial ground. It may be supposed that other graves were destroyed when the highroad was sunk to its present level, viz., to about five feet below that of the fields on both sides. in order to lessen the gradient of the road, which at this point begins to dip to the steepest part of the brae. In conclusion. it is suggested that members of the Society who. during the course of the year, hear of any archaeological vestiges brought to light in their own several districts, should send to the Secretary an account of what has been found, with the exact spot defined, so as to be identified on the ordnance map. Any such report can be incorporated in the general report for the year, with due acknowledgment of such correspondent member's communication. As a note to this report, it should be added, though taken as understood, viz., that the great and valuable work which Mr. P. M. C. Kermode is carrying on is not dealt with in this report. Mr. Kermode's conclusions with regard to the Ballaragh stone will, it is assumed, be studied by those interested, directly on his own communication on that subject. It is similarly assumed that the members of the Society are aware that this complete archaeological survey can be looked for only in instalments, according as the various districts are in turn dealt with.


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