Animal Remains

As for the fauna, it was plain that, as in Ettrick forest long centuries later, there must have been 'of a' wilde beastis great plentie.' The antlers of the modern red deer of a Scotch forest are poor specimens beside the great horns from Newstead. The red deer throve in its natural habitat in the forest, whence it had not yet been driven by advancing cultivation to the comparative confinement on the northern moorland. The elk, too, must still have wandered about the banks of the Tweed. Probably he was a scarcer animal than the deer, for only twice portions of his immense antlers were met with. The roe, of course, ran wild, as it did long centuries afterwards in the district. The great wild boar, so often depicted upon earthenware bowls, must have been plentiful at Newstead, judging by his tusks. We may be sure that his hunting furnished sport for the officers. Finally there was the fox, the badger, and the hare.

Among domestic animals the most notable was the horse. Professor Ewart has ascertained that one species is allied to, if not identical with, the Equus swalensis of the Lower Himalayas, the oldest true horse known to science. It measured about fifteen hands. A second skull, which probably belonged to a British pony about twelve hands high, is finer than the finest Arab skull Professor Ewart has seen. He has given it the name of Equus agilis. A third skull probably belonged to a horse of the Forest type. Several of the other skulls closely resemble those of the wild horse still to be found in Mongolia, the Prejvalsky horse. The oxen were of the Celtic short-horn variety, but some of them showed some signs of being crossed with continental breeds. The one goat whose skull was found was probably domesticated. The sheep seemed to be of a native variety, akin to the St. Kilda or Soay sheep. The dogs were of several types, large-jawed hounds as well as small terriers. The duck and the domestic fowl were both present. A leg-bone, with a well-developed spur, had perhaps belonged to a fighting cock. Birds, however, have not left many traces, although the raven was identified, as well as the common crane, which must have nested in the swampy ground where the Tweed, unconfined by embankments, streamed across the Melrose valley.

Human Remains

Of the people themselves, the pits and ditches held strange relics. Human remains were found sixteen times in all. With some two or three exceptions they could not possibly have been deposited at any period later than the Roman occupation. Many of the fragments were too small to permit of much information being derived