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Finding great bones in old ice houses


I was going to write about something else this week, but I had a really good walk yesterday and found some great new bones.

In the village where I live there used to be a big country mansion called Ardoch House in the woods which I call the Pheasant Woods which was built in the early 1700s. It was knocked down about 30 years ago but you can still walk round where it used to be. The house was built before there was electricity or freezers so they used ice houses to keep ice in. Ice house are built near lakes or lochs, and in winter ice was taken from the lake and stored.

Yesterday me and dad were walking through the old estate and we decided to explore the old icehouses and I made some amazing finds.
There are two old icehouses, and this is the first one, which is the west icehouse. It looks like a stone doorway into a hillside. It is in the Canmore database of historic sites.

It is close to falling down because the lintel stone over the doorway is already cracked, and there is a big crack in the ceiling of the passage inside. (UPDATE: I found this picture taken in 2007 and the lintel was like that then, so maybe it's not going to fall down soon)

 The passage isn't very long then you come to something that looks like a window.

Inside was a big circular chamber made out of brick with a domed room. The bottom of the chamber was about eight feed down. The ceiling was maybe about four feet higher. This is what the floor looked like.

With torches we could see lots of rubbish at the bottom but also some bones. I could see roe deer skulls and also a red deer which surprised me because red deer live a few miles off the estate.

Even though we had a rope dad thought it might be tricky to get out again, so we left that icehouse and walked along the ponds to the next one.

The west ice house is right next to the track as well, but is a different design. This one isn't in the Canmore database.

The west ice house has a smaller door and entrance. The bottom of the main chamber wasn't as deep as the other one so I could climb down. The bottom was covered with rubbish but there were some amazing bones there.

The chamber ceiling was higher than the other one, maybe twelve or fifteen feet high. Above on the back wall was a strange entrance going up to the hill above.

It was hard to see the entrance from the outside because it was covered by bushes.

The first thing I found was a roe deer skull in good condition.

There was a furcula from some big goose, the hips of maybe the same bird, and some kind of corvid skull.

But this was the most amazing find.

It looks like a cat skull. It hadn't properly rotted, and the bottom jaw was still held on. The teeth seemed to have fallen out. It looks pretty gross.

I already have found two cat skulls that I found a few miles away in the same estate which I wrote about here. I also got a gift of another cat skull through the post after I was in the newspaper.

There was a tied up carrier bag that had the head of a baby roe deer in it.

I saw something move in the corner and it gave me a fright but it was just a toad. Dad took it outside because otherwise it would have been trapped in there.

Right after that I found a frog as well ! (If you don't know the difference between a frog and a toad here is another piece I wrote)

Here I am with everything I found. I took the roe buck skull, the corvid skull, the cat skull and the furcula and I left the rest, but there were loads more.

I think the gamekeeper had used the icehouses to put in the remains of animals he killed. Near this icehouse was another place called the Secret Vault I discovered two years ago which had loads of bones in as well. I wrote about it here.

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Psydrache said...

Great find!
I love bait places, there are always a lot of bones! Your buck looks awesome, really. I'm jealous x3
It's also interesting to learn something about ice houses.
Too bad you don't understand German, because on my Blog I wrote about my find in the woods: two toothless fox skulls ^^

Jake said...

What's the address of your blog ?

Psydrache said...

Its http://psydrache.livejournal.com/
But I didn't put a photo of my find on it. If you wish I can make one, it's no problem but unspectacular ;)
I rarely have photos of my bones and skulls online because I'm afraid of people who thinks I do illegal stuff. So I make "friends only" entrys if I write about my skulls. But I can send you a few pictures via e-mail if you are interestet. Otherwise I write about animals like you and about things which happens in my life ^^

Anonymous said...

wow! i cant wait to see the cat skull :D... jake. you rock! i wanna trade with you sooo bad!!!
im from canada and i was wondering... do you have raccoons there? cause i can give you one i think. but its not in a good conditon cause on raccoons the teeth always fall out! and lots of them fell out

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