Tools and Implements

NOTHING conjures up so clearly a sense of the life that once moved within the fort, and nothing brings us into such close touch with the individual men who held it, as does a sight of the tools, the implements and the vessels which they handled in their daily life. The axes that levelled the woods of birch and hazel, the scythes that cut the hay, the hammers and tongs with which the smith beat out the blunted spear-points or fashioned the sword-blades, have come down to us in such perfect preservation, differing so little in their forms from those with which we are familiar, that in their presence it is difficult to realise how many centuries have passed since the camp fires of a Roman army glimmered for the last time above the Tweed. The collection of tools, implements of agriculture and iron objects left behind by the garrison of Newstead is without doubt the most remarkable that has yet been met with in Scotland. Many crafts are represented—the smith, the carpenter, the mason, the leather-worker, the weaver, the husbandman. The soldier would seem to have been all of these in turn.

The iron found near the surface was generally in a state of hopeless corrosion. On the other hand, the metal objects from the ditch of the early fort, and those from many of the pits, were in extraordinarily fine condition. The most interesting of all these finds came from Pit XVI. It consisted of ninety-six pieces of iron,—tools, weapons, mountings, and odd pieces of metal, partly worked and partly unworked. It suggested the contents of a camp forge, including as it did spears with their points blunted, pioneers' axes with their edges to be set, hammers, chisels, tongs, mountings for saddles, hub-linings for wheels, as well as much old metal ready to be hammered and welded into something new.

One can easily imagine that on the eve of a sudden retirement such things might be hurriedly cast down a well for concealment. England can