A considerable quantity of the animal and vegetable remains taken from the pits has been submitted to experts. The human bones have been examined by Professor T. H. Bryce. Professor Ewart has made an exhaustive study of those belonging to horses and other animals. Mr. Linton has paid special attention to the canine skulls, while the plant remains have been dealt with by Mr. H. F. Tagg. The detailed reports of these gentlemen will be found printed as an appendix to this volume. It will be sufficient here to bring together some of their results, from which it will be seen that the pits have preserved for us a vivid impression of the character of the country on which the garrison looked down.

Vegetable Remains

The natural features of the landscape have probably changed but little in the centuries that have passed since the Romans were at Newstead, but in their time the country must have been clothed with wood. From every pit came pieces of birch and hazel, often with the bark bright and silvery. Birch leaves and hazel nuts were common, and once a hazel catkin was observed. It was clear that the birch, the hazel, the mountain ash, and the oak must have been the trees which grew on the slopes of the hills, while the willow and the alder flourished in the marshy ground lower down. Then, as now, the rushes and the dock fringed the forest pools, and heather, bracken, and mosses were abundant. In the woods grew the crowberry, the bramble, and the wild strawberry. For flowers there were the stitchwort and woody nightshade. The seeds of the ranunculus, the wild mustard, the potentilla, the white campion, the wild mignonette, forget-me-not, cow parsnip, and others must have come from plants that grew in the clearings or sprang up on the earth mounds of the defences. Husks of wheat and barley were found in many of the pits. The grain, then, had been cleaned and dressed close at hand, and so we may be sure that it was grown there. Mixed with the chaff were seeds of the corn-cockle, showing that it had been in the second century, as it is to-day, a weed that grows among the corn. Apparently the corn had often been ground beside the wells, because querns whole or broken in pieces frequently lay at the bottom. One or two negative pieces of evidence may be noted. The pine which is so familiar in our landscape was perhaps awanting in the forests. Pine-wood was only found in manufactured articles such as writing tablets and the bottoms of buckets. Again, there was no trace of beech, and although the ash shafts of several tools survived, there is no certainty that the ash tree then grew in the neighbourhood.