Miln, James (DNB00)

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MILN, JAMES (1819–1881), archæologist, born in 1819, was the son of James Maud Miln of Woodhill, Barry, Forfarshire. He entered the navy, serving in the China war of 1842, and was afterwards a merchant in China and India. Returning to Scotland, where he inherited Murie, Perthshire, from his father, and Woodhill from his brother, he interested himself in small arms, astronomy, archæology, and photography, designed rifles, and made telescopic lenses. In order to compare Scottish with Breton antiquities, he went in 1873 to Carnac, intending to stay only a few days, but remained, with short intermissions, for seven years. In 1874–6 he excavated the hillocks of the Bossenno, bringing to light a Gallo-Roman villa of eleven rooms, the upper story of which had evidently been destroyed by fire, probably in the third century. He also found traces of a villa on the flank of the adjoining Mont St.-Michel. Of these discoveries he published an account, ‘Excavations at Carnac, Brittany,’ in French and English versions, published respectively at Paris and Edinburgh, 1877. He next explored three circular sepultures at Kermario, finding pre-Roman buildings and defences. In November 1880 he left for Paris and Edinburgh, to arrange for the publication of a second volume, but was attacked at Edinburgh by typhoid fever and died there 28 Jan. 1881. The volume was issued, also in English and French, by his brother, Mr. Robert Miln. The Miln Museum at Carnac contains his collections of antiquities. He was a F.S.A. Scotland, vice-president of the Morbihan Philomathic and French Archæological Societies, and a member of other learned bodies, British and foreign. His manuscripts were handed by his brother Robert to the Abbé Luco of Vannes.

[Information from Mr. George Hay, Arbroath; Luco's J. Miln et les trois sépultures circulaires, Tours, 1881; Proceedings of Soc. of Antiquaries of Scotland, xvi. 7; Notes and Queries, 8th ser. ii. 232.]

J. G. A.