Transcript of


Archaeological discoveries at Bovey Tracey


William Pengelly

In: First Report of the Committee on Scientific Memoranda. Transactions of the Devonshire Association, 1876, Vol. VIII, pp. 437-438.

Prepared by Michael Steer

The following excerpt is taken from the First Report of the Committee on Scientific Memoranda - consisting of Mr. O, Doe, Rev. W. Harpley, Mr. H. S. Gill, Mr. R. J. King, Mr. E. Farfitt, Mr. W. Pengelly, and Mr. J. B. Rowe - for the purpose of noting the discovery or occurrence of such facts in any department of scientific inquiry, and connected with Devonshire, as it may he desirable to place on permanent record, but may not be of sufficient importance in themselves to form the subjects of separate papers. The paper was first read at the Association’s Ashburton meeting in July, 1876. The article, from a copy of a rare and much sought-after journal can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Google has sponsored the digitisation of books from several libraries. These books, on which copyright has expired, are available for free educational and research use, both as individual books and as full collections to aid researchers

(7) On 14th July, 1876, Mr. W. W. Buller, of Chapel, about a mile W.S.W. from, what Cornishmen would call, Bovey Tracey Church Town presented to the Museum of the Torquay Natural History Society a Celt or Chisel of bronze or copper - probably the former - which had been ploughed up in 1873, so far as could be remembered, in a portion of Bovey Heathfield which had been then recently enclosed. The im- plement is much corroded on the external surface, and bears a few traces of abrasion - the results, I understood from Mr. Buller, of attempts on the part of the discoverer to scrape off the rust." It is 4.8 inches long, and throughout its entire length its transverse sections are rectangular parallelograms, having the angles slightly rounded off. At the but-end it is 1.05 inch wide, and 1 inch thick; so that it is there almost square. These dimensions are very nearly, if not quite retained for a distance of .5 inch, where it suddenly contracts to .85 inch in width and in breadth, so as to give it a sort of slightly raised "head" .5 inch long. From the head it gradually and slightly decreases in width until, about midway in its length, it measures .75 inch, and then increases to the opposite end, where it is again 1.05 inch. Its thickness diminishes almost, but not quite, uniformly from the head to the opposite end, where it terminates in a nearly sharp edge, equally sloped on each faca This edge is convex, the straight line joining its extreme points being about .15 inch behind the centre of the edge ; or, to use the language of the mathematician, the edge is a circular arc having a a chord of 1.05 inch, and a versed sine of .15 inch. Each of its four lateral faces is slightly concave ; and this is most marked in those which bound its breadth. When placed on a flat surface it is seen that the concavity is not quite equal on either of the pairs of opposite faces; and that when thus placed, with its terminal sharp edge horizontal, the tool rests, not on this edge, but on a line a short distance behind it

It has a socket with a very smooth surface extending 2.9 inches lengthways into the tool, and measuring in transverse section, at the opening on the but-end, .8 inch by .7 inch ; so that the bronze shell is from .1 inch to .15 inch thick. The weight of the tool is 5.39 ounces Troy.