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Portland Year Book 1905
PRE-HISTORIC PORTLAND


Portland's unwritten history is not very voluminous but, it has a few pages of the deepest interest. The evidences that Portland was inhabited during the Celtic period are numerous. The County Museum at Dorchester contains a collection of 70 worked flints found in Portland. These are of the usual size and from six to eight inches in length and about two inches in breadth. Most of these flints are well shaped and finely polished. It was the custom of those early inhabitants of Britain to fix these stone implements in handles of horn, bone or wood. They were probably used for many purposes, sewing, for chisels, adzes, axes as well as weapons of war. The fragments of early pottery found in the Island are fairly numerous. Amongst them are the following which are also in the Dorchester Museum

Fragments of Celtic urns found at Weston, and presented by Mr Warren.

Group of things from a stone-lined grave Portland.

Stone disc (quoit?), a Dene hole, found Mr. A. Wallis, in 1891.

Stone disc (spindle whorl ?), a Dene hole, found by Mr A Wallis

Milling stone (?), Portland.

Milling stone

Spindle whorl, found in a hive-shaped corn store house, Portland and presented Mr J. C. Mansell-Pleydell.

Mortar, Portland.

Pair of mealing stones of the most primitive kind.

Quern Stone, King Barrow, East Cliff, found close to one or two beehive cells, thought to be bhut holes, found July 11th, 1898

Mortar and flint balls (mulling stones), King Barrow, found close to one or two of the beehive cells - found June 4th 1898.

Mealing stones, found over at Southwell.

Fragments of mealing stones.

Human remains have been found from time to time in the Island. In 1888 an ancient grave was discovered and the contents are in the Museum at Dorchester. The grave was found on the eastern side of Portland, and it is the opinion of those best able to judge that this was a Celtic interment, but of the Roman epoch, judging by the iron dagger and by the pottery found with it. The skull and bone are splendidly preserved. A drawing made by Mr A. M. Wallis accompanies the relics. This drawing shows the position of the skeleton, dagger, etc., as he saw them when the grass was first uncovered. In Roman remains the Island does not appear to be very rich, nor is there much in the County Museum that suggests that period. Several finds of Roman coins have, however, been made, and a good number are in the hands of local collectors. It would be of interest to obtain a complete list of these. It is needless to write of times prior to that in which the human foot trod this Island. Their history is written in our rods, and the fossils are pages of a book which everyone may read. We ought to have a complete collection of our local fossils for the use of the children in our schools, properly classified and named. Some day, perhaps, someone will arise who will do the work for us. There is a specimen of iron pyrites in the County Museum, presented by Mr White, of High Street. These were found in a slaty stratum about 23 feet below surface near the new Naval Hospitals. The collection of Portland fossils in the County Museum is very incomplete. It would be a good thing, as far as possible, to add to it. But it would be better to get for our own Island a complete collection, which could be seen and studied at any time. W.E.

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