South Australian – 23rd October 1849
The Roman Villa at Hartlipp
At the recent meeting of the Archaeological Association, Mr. Reach Smith reported some further excavations made by Mr. Bland, of Hartlip, Kent, which he R. Price, and other members of the association had recently visited. He has laid open that portion of the Roman Villa described, but very imperfectly, by Hasted, the Kentish historian, together with several rooms adjoining. The subterranean apartments are excavated in the chalk soil, and on one side are entered by steps from the solid natural chalk, on the other side by a flight of steps formed of layers of tiles. The walls of these rooms have been stuccoed and painted white and red. Altogether the villa is highly interesting, as it is one of the most extensive discovered in this country. The objects lately found, which were exhibited to the meeting, include many of a singularly curious description. Among these is a balance constructed upon precisely the same principles as those adopted in the machines now used for weighting letters; a glass goblet embossed with representations of chariot racing and gladiatorial fights, above which are inscriptions which appear to allude to the racers and the combatants; other specimens of coloured glass, and a superb example of a large ornamented Samian vase. The last relic is richly decorated with a variety of designs among which is the myth of Jupiter and Leda and a figure of Victory crowning a male figure arrayed in a costume resembling that of the Byzantine emperors of the sixth and seventh centuries, a peculiarity which seemed to suggest that the villa had been occupied up to a very late period. The coins, which descended to Honorious, and a fibula which appeared to be Saxon, seemed to support this opinion. On the occasion of this examination of the villa, Mr. Bland hospitably entertained a party of gentlemen of the neighbourhood, who had been invited to inspect the remains, including Sir John Tylden, the Rev. Mr. Wilberforce, Dr. Plomley, the Rev. Beale Post, Mr. Clement T. Smythe, Mr. Dunkin, Mr. Douce, and some of the members of the archaeological Association from London. The liberal manner in which Mr. Bland has preserved these interesting remains should act as an example to other gentlemen, upon whose property such works are often found, and who only regard them to the amount of their market value as building materials. It is supposed that, during the last few years, the corporation of London have cut to pieces at least thirty Roman villas, equal in interest to that which is being thus rendered available to science by the enlightened spirit of Mr. Bland.