The Antiquary, vol XXIV 1891 'Proceedings and Publications, Archaeological Societies' p. 127

The annual meeting of the Wilts Archaeological and Natural History Society was held at Wilton on July 29, 30, and 31 [1891]. At the opening meeting, under the presidency of Lieut.-Gen. Pitt-Rivers, F.R.S., F.S.A., the annual report was read, showing that the society was in a flourishing condition, having 378 members ... The annual dinner followed, with a conversazione in the evening, at which General Pitt-Rivers gave a most interesting account of the results of his diggings in Wans Dyke last year, exhibiting the few objects found there some small bits of Samian pottery, a few iron nails, and a knife-blade, and the iron cleat of a sandal. No coins had been found in the work, so that the date could not be exactly fixed, but the whole evidence went to prove that the Wans Dyke was either Roman or post-Roman, and not pre-Roman as had been formerly supposed. The date of Bokerly Dyke had been fixed by the number of coins found in it as not earlier than the time of Honorius, and it was probable that Wans Dyke may have been thrown up at a period not very remote from that of the Southern Dyke. General Pitt-Rivers relied a good deal upon the iron sandal cleat as proving this, many precisely similar cleats having been found in Bokerly Dyke. The second paper of the evening was an interesting one by the Rev. W. R. Andrews, on the "Geology of the Vale of Wardour." ...

On the 30th the party started in brakes for a long day's excursion to Bokerly, Farnham, and Rushmore. The first stoppage was made at Bokerly Dyke, where the president described the excavations he had made in the dyke itself and the neighbouring settlement. At Farnham a considerable time was spent in inspecting the deeply-interesting museum of agricultural implements and peasant industries which General Pitt-Rivers has formed here for the advantage of the people of the neighbourhood. Here are deposited the marvellously accurate models to scale of the excavations he has made in the Romano-British villages of Rotherley, and Wood-cuts in Bokerly Dyke, Winklebury, and other places, together with the objects discovered in them, and in addition a very large collection gathered from all parts of the world, of everything bearing on agriculture and peasant life, peasant dresses, jewellery, and ornaments from Brittany, Roumania, and Hungary; pottery, iron, and brass-work, wood-carvings, flint, bronze, and iron implements and weapons; a series of traps for catching everything from men to otters, and numberless other things all arranged, classified, and marked with explanatory labels, in the careful way that distinguishes the whole of the General's collections. This museum, which is probably unique of its kind in England, is alone worth a long journey ; but time pressed, and the party went on, by the grounds of the "Larmer-tree,'' to King John's House, at Tollard Royal. This, which until the last few years was a farmhouse, was apparently of Tudor date, but on stripping the walls of plaster it was discovered that a great part of it was of thirteenth-century date, retaining several of its original windows. It was then carefully restored by General Pitt-Rivers, and thrown open to the public as a picture gallery containing original examples illustrating the progress of art from the mummy portraits of the Fayoum in the second century through the Byzantines, and Margaritone d'Arezzo to the Italian and Flemish masters, and so down to modern times. Thence the party drove to Rushmore, where they were most hospitably entertained at lunch by General and Mrs. Pitt-Rivers in a room adorned with magnificent portraits by Gainsborough, of the first Lord Rivers and Lady Ligonier. After lunch the treasures of the house were inspected. Bronze, iron, and gold implements, arms, armour, and ornaments ; Greek, Roman, Celtic, Hungarian, etc.; indeed, a great deal more than the time at their disposal allowed the members to see before they had to hurry off to catch the train to Wilton. In the evening, in the absence of the president, the Bishop of Salisbury took the chair, and two valuable papers were read ...

Transcribed by AP for the Rethinking Pitt-Rivers project, 2010-11

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