Page images

heads, and more especially a bone needle, were definitely of the cave class, so well represented in the caves of Dordogne. Again, below the cave-earth was a breccia formed of limestone and sandstone pebbles cemented together by a calcareous paste. In this also were found implements and bones of bears. The succession of strata indicated above may be taken as typical of the caverns used by palaeolithic man, the breccia and stalagmite flooring being in themselves proof of a very considerable age, while the association in the former, or under the latter, of remains of human handiwork, with bones of extinct animals, may be safely taken to show contemporaneous existence. Once the mind has fairly grasped the fact that man was living at so remote a time, it is a simple and natural conclusion that he should have provided himself with weapons and tools more or less rudely fashioned from the stones he found ready to his hand. The analogy of the recently extinct Tasmanian is sufficient to show that even the meanest savage is not without such aids. But the caves of France, of the same palaeolithic period, and used by men theoretically in the same stage of culture, bring before us a race of artists of first-rate capacity, who for accuracy of observation, and for skill in indicating the character and peculiarities of the animals around them, have never been surpassed. Such a statement sounds like a contradiction in terms. We are dealing with human beings whose intellect, to judge by their physical characters, should be on a level with that of the Fuegian or the Australian black, and far below that of the Maori or the Sandwich Islander. Yet none of these gentle and relatively cultured brown races produced anything in the nature of art that can in any sense be compared with the masterly drawings or sculptures of the cave-men of France. The best-known of the engravings, that of the mammoth on a piece of ivory, is in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. It is evidently intended to be nothing more than a sketch, the lines of the finely curved tusks being repeated several times in the desire for accuracy. But the heavy lumbering walk of the ponderous beast, his attitude, and even the character of the hairy hide, are all shown or suggested with a skill and freedom that not only denotes daily familiarity with the thing represented, but a most complete mastery of the art of translating the idea into simple line. This mammoth-drawing is probably the most important and monumental of its class, but there are many others that possess artistic qualities not less remarkable, while they have in addition a grace and beauty of line not less astonishing. One of these, in the British Museum, the head of an ibex-like creature, is outlined with a decision and refinement that can scarcely be surpassed, and many other sketches in horn or stone in the same collection show a keen appreciation of the characteristic features of the different animals as well as a masterly deftness in the handling of the graving-tool. If we are forced to marvel at the graphic skill of the cave-men, their sculptures in the round are on a still higher plane, as may be seen in the figures of reindeer in ivory in the British Museum. While they are not highly finished, they show a complete understanding of the animal's peculiar forms and contours, which are rendered in a direct, unhesitating way that should betoken a long period of artistic training and an executive power uncommon at any time. . These drawings and sculptures have always been appreciated and even regarded as being of a much more advanced style than was to be expected among men who are always classed in the lower grades of culture. But enough stress has not hitherto been laid on the artistic quality of the work, which would be considered fine at any time in the world's history. This high artistic level was attained by a race of men whom we cannot credit with any great intellectual equipment; men, moreover, who were engaged in a daily struggle for the barest necessaries of life, in a trying climate and surrounded by a fauna whose means of attack and defence were infinitely superior to their own. There are many astonishing problems in archaeology, but none so badly in need of solution. Had the discovery been confined to a single drawing or even to a single site, fraud or a misreading of the conditions might have been alleged, but the case is very different. The drawings

and sculptures have been found generally enough in France to demonstrate that such artistic power was fairly common, while the question of the authenticity and period of the discoveries has long since been satisfactorily settled. It is true that the climatic conditions in pleistocene France were more favourable man than was the case farther north, but even an agreeable climate does not necessarily produce an artistic race; if it were so, the Polynesians would probably be the greatest artists the world has ever seen... The physical remains of palaeolithic man, even when found under unquestionable conditions, are, however, so scanty, that it is unlikely that the important question of the race or races inhabiting central and northern Europe will ever be settled by their means. The evidence at present is in favour of two very different types, one dwarfish and brutal (Canstadt), the other more advanced and noble in physical character (Cro-Magnon). To the latter were due the artistic productions, and until further physical evidence is forthcoming recourse must be had to the most minute examination of the objects themselves and to accurate observation of the conditions under which they are found. So far as our present materials go, these are the only means by which more light may be thrown on the many problems of early man. In spite of the unquestioned and unquestionable character of palaeolithic discoveries in general, it must not be assumed that there has been an absence of falsification, forgery, and what the French call “mystification”; on the contrary, such attempts to meet the demand have been common enough. Apart from Edward Simpson, who was notorious as “Flint Jack” in the middle of the 19th century, many others, both in England and on the continent of Europe, have devoted themselves to this peculiar industry. Boucher de Perthes tried to conquer the scepticism of some of his friends who doubted the human origin of the Abbeville flints, by unwisely offering his workmen a reward for the discovery of human bones in the same beds. The Moulin Quignon jaw was accordingly produced, and became the subject of much controversy; but the evidence finally showed that it had originally come from elsewhere. . The cave drawings also have found their imitators in modern times. One Meillet, a man of education, took a special pleasure in the production of spurious examples, and even published an account of his pretended discoveries. . But here, as in all the attempts at imitation of the cave drawings, the modern efforts were betrayed by their poor artistic quality, and a comparison of the new discoveries with the old was generally enough to disclose the forgery. Two drawings on bone of a wolf and a bear, declared to have been found in a cave at Thayingen in Switzerland, were afterwards shown to have been copied from a child's picture-book. In Switzerland also a brisk trade was carried on some years ago in false antiquities said to come from the Lake-dwellings; and fantastic types of tools and implements were placed on the market. In Italy, too, a lively discussion has taken place of late years over the authenticity of curiously shaped flint implements from the neighbourhood of Verona; while America has provided similar food for discussion in the well-known Lenapé stone and the Calaveras skull. The former bears drawings of the French cave type, while the latter if genuine would carry back the story of man in the American continent before Pliocene times. An apparent break in the continuity of man's history in Europe occurs at the end of the palaeolithic period. Attempts have been made to bridge the gap by means of a “mesolithic” period (uégos, middle); but it would not seem probable that the missing links will occur at all events so far north as Britain. We leave palaeolithic man in a cold climate, surrounded by a somewhat mixed fauna that formed his prey. We know him as a hunter and artist, but the remains show that he had no knowledge of pottery till towards the close of the period. Among the humbler arts he practised at least sewing, and lived in caves or took shelter at the base of overhanging rocks; but like the Australian, he frequently camped in the open. His successor of the later Stone Age (neolithic) we find to be a very different character and with very


different surroundings. The configuration of the land in which he lived is practically the same as we now see it. The severe arctic conditions with the appropriate fauna had entirely disappeared, and the introduction of new arts must have radically changed his daily life. The most important of these are the training of domestic animals, agriculture, and the development of pottery. What were the burial rites of palaeolithic man we have at present no means of knowing, but for his neolithic successor we know that these were matters of great moment. The abundance of arrowheads of flint indicate the common use of the bow and arrow as a weapon, while the art of weaving marks an immense stride in the direction of comfort and civilization. Of the form and construction of his dwelling we have only a limited knowledge, derived with some uncertainty from the analogy of the dwellings for the dead (barrows) and more certainly from the remains of the villages found erected on piles on the shores of lakes.

A much-debated question arises here that cannot be passed over. The changes just mentioned are not such as would be produced by internal causes alone. Much of the evidence is in favour of neolithic man being an immigrant, coming into northern and central Europe long after palaeolithic man and his characteristic fauna had disappeared. Where did the earlier race go and who are its modern representatives, if any? The answers to this question are many. W. Boyd Dawkins is of opinion that the reindeer was followed by man in its journey to the north after the retreating glaciers, and that the modern representative of palaeolithic man is the Eskimo. His arguments are ingenious but unconvincing; they mainly consist in the similarity of the habits of both races in using harpoons and implements of similar form and make, their power of carving and drawing on bone, the absence of pottery, disregard of the dead, &c. As to the positive evidence, it is almost enough to say that the Eskimo, like the cave-men, used the material nearest to hand that served their purpose, and that nothing is more remarkable than the similarity of primitive weapons used by widely separated peoples; while the negative evidence as to the absence of pottery is of little value; their conditions of life would allow them neither to make it nor keep it. Till recently we had no evidence at all of the treatment of the dead by palaeolithic man, but this is no longer the case; the discoveries in the Grottes de Grimaldi, Monaco, show several methods of burial, near a hearth, or in rude stone cists (see Dr Verneau in L’Anthropologie, xvii. 291). A stronger argument would be furnished if it could be shown that by his physical character the Eskimo is an intruder in his present home, and is unrelated to his neighbours. But this has not yet been done, and the skulls of the Eskimo do not resemble any of those hitherto found in the caves. In fact, what evidence there is on the subject is rather against than in favour of the wanderings northward of the inhabitants of the caves. There are indications, on the other hand, that in the south of France, in the Pyrenees, the reindeer was in existence, with man, at a later period than that of the caves, while the type of skull is that of Cro-Magnon. Here, therefore, it may be that something like a bridging of the gap between palaeolithic and neolithic times may be forthcoming. But it still remains to be found, and for the present we must be content with uncertainty.

The neolithic period has often been loosely called the age of polished stone, from the fact that in no case has a polished or Neomak ground stone implement been found in a palaeolithic

deposit. The term is not only loose but inaccurate.

In the first place, there is no reason why the cave-men should not be found to have polished a stone implement on occasion, for they habitually polished their weapons of bone. Secondly, neolithic man was by no means uniform in his methods; he polished or ground the surfaces of such tools or weapons as would be improved by the process; but to take a common instance, he found that the efficacy of his arrow-point was sufficient when chipped only, and polishing is only occasionally found, as in Ireland. Many other implements also are found in neolithic times with no trace of grinding and yet with every appearance of being complete.

The most trustworthy evidence with regard to this and the succeeding archaeological periods is to be found in the gravemounds. For the earlier part of the neolithic age, however, these are by no means fruitful of relics. From their shape they are called in England “long barrows” to distinguish them from the round barrows which belong to a succeeding time, though evidence is being accumulated to show that this division is not of universal application. Long barrows are by no means of such frequent occurrence in Britain as the round variety; they are most common in Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Dorset, and occur as far north as Caithness. Some of them contain within the mound a stone chamber, at times with a gallery leading to it, and in the chamber the interment or interments took place. Similar barrows have been found on the continent of Europe, and both in Britain and abroad have one feature in common, viz. that no metal, with possibly the exception of gold, has ever been found in them. This similarity of burial custom, though it may conceivably indicate intercourse, certainly does not prove identity of race, as has been sometimes claimed. The type of skulls found in the interment is clear evidence against such an assumption.

In Britain, the burials were at times by inhumation only, and occasionally a great number of bodies were interred in the same barrow: at others, cremation had preceded burial. Another remarkable feature is that in many instances it is certain from the relative position of the bones of the unburnt burials that the corpse had been allowed to decay before the burial took place. This curious practice is known among many savage tribes of the present day. Its occurrence in Britain has been adduced in favour of the prevalence of cannibalism at this time, and not altogether without reason. While metal is entirely absent in the long barrows (and in fact relics of any kind are very rarely found), it is significant that in the succeeding round barrows also metal occurs but seldom, and then always of the types attributed to the earliest part of the Bronze Age. When, therefore, the mound pottery is of a class that may well be anterior to metal, and no metal is found with the burial, it is not unreasonable to assign such barrows to the Stone Age. A similar argument may be applied to the stone implements, but in the opposite direction. Many stone implements are found either isolated, or perhaps with no other relics that serve to fix their period. The material alone is often considered sufficient evidence of their being before the age of metals; but it is at any rate quite certain that a large number of stone axes, more particularly those with a socket for the handle, belong really to the Bronze Age. This uncertainty makes any account of the neolithic age difficult, unless the material is taken as the main basis.

Neolithic man, like his forerunners, still recognized that flint and allied stones provided the best material for his cutting and piercing implements, though he made use to a great extent of other hard stones that came ready to his hand. The mining of flint was undertaken on a large scale, and great care was taken to get down to the layer containing the best quality. In Norfolk, at Grime's Graves, and in Sussex, at Cissbury near Worthing, the flint shafts have been carefully explored by William Greenwell, General Pitt-Rivers and others. The system was to sink two shafts some little distance apart and deep enough to reach the desired flint-bed, and the two shafts were then joined by a gallery at the bottom. At Grime's Graves large numbers of deer's horns were found, which had evidently been used as picks, as is proved by the marks found in the chalk walls; and the horn had been trimmed for the purpose. Cups of chalk were also found in the galleries and were believed to have been used as lamps. At Cissbury great quantities of unfinished and defective implements were found in the work, as well as horn tools, as in Norfolk. At such factories the primitive appliances correspond very closely with those in use among existing savages. The pebble was used as a hammer or an anvil, and the more delicate flaking was done by pressure with a piece of horn rather than by blows. Naturally enough the number of completed implements found in these factories is small; the finished tools would be bartered at once and carried away from the factory. All the animal remains found in these pits belong to present geological conditions, thus emphasizing what has been stated above, that the absence of polished implements is no evidence for great age. Many other factories have been found in Britain, in Ireland and on the continent of Europe: at Grovehurst in Kent, at Stourpaine near Blandford, at Whitepark Bay, county Antrim, and in Belgium at Spiennes. Among the North American Indians the method would seem to have been somewhat different. After journeying to the site of a suitable quality of stone, they did not always complete the implements on the spot, but made a number of oval chipped disks of goodstone which they carried away and worked up into the required implements at their leisure. These disks bear a strong likeness to some of the ovate implements from the Drift in Europe; in fact, but for the difference of surface condition or patina, they would be identical. While the severe climatic conditions that preceded the neolithic age restricted the presence of man to the more temperate parts of the globe, it may be assumed that in neolithic times there was nothing to prevent him from occupying the greater part of the earth's surface, short of the neighbourhood of the two poles. Thus it may be expected that an age of stone will be found, if looked for, in every part of the globe. So far as our present knowledge goes, all is in favour of the use of stone before metals, in all countries. The one material requires no special treatment before being adapted to man's use, while the other demands considerable knowledge, even if reasoning power have but little place in the process. Thus the probabilities are here borne out by the facts. In the extensive “kitchen-middens” of Japan are found great numbers of chert implements mixed with pottery of a primitive type, recalling that of European early Bronze Age barrows, while the succeeding periods of metal are equally clear. Even in the Far East, therefore, the same sequence is to be observed. In China, the conditions are more obscure. The superstitious regard for ancestors has prevented the exploration of ancient tombs in that country, and thus systematic search has been impossible, while the precise details of the discovery of such relics as have come to light are difficult to obtain. In spite of the assertion that China had no Stone Age, it is surely more probable, in the absence of exact knowledge, that she followed the normal course. Modern territorial divisions, more especially if they are independent of the natural physical conditions of the land, such as mountain ranges, great rivers and the like, have but little value in considering the race problems of remote ages. If, therefore, we find that, in the countries bordering on what is now the Chinese empire, the ancient inhabitants followed the same broad lines of culture that are evident elsewhere, it is easy to believe that China too was normal in this respect. The negroes and Bantu races of Africa also were thought to have passed direct to the use of iron, perhaps owing to the existence on the Nile of a civilization of great antiquity, which enabled them to pass over the intervening stages. Inherently improbable, this is now known not to have been the case. Stone implements, whether ground or merely chipped, have been discovered on the Congo, and more recently on the Zambezi. It is quite true that in both cases they are found in superficial deposits, and may be of any age. But here again the probabilities are greatly in favour of their having been in use before iron was known. While stone tools, such as knives or arrow-heads, may possess qualities that render them superior to bronze or copper, it is certain that once the working of iron was understood, its superiority to stone would at once be perceived, and the stone tools be discarded. There can be little doubt that investigations in Central Africa will demonstrate that the same cdurse was followed there as elsewhere. In South Africa, in Egypt and in Somaliland large quantities of stone implements have been discovered, and of the great age of most of them there can be no doubt. Some from the banks of the Nile have even been claimed as “eolithic.”; but here, as in Europe, we can only say that the case is not proven: General Pitt-Rivers did good service in Egypt by discovering among the stratified gravels near Thebes a number of rude flints bearing unmistake

able signs of human workmanship, but he described them merely as of “palaeolithic type,” and deplored the absence of mammalian remains in the gravels. At the same time he pointed out that the bulk of the implements claimed as palaeolithic (and, it may be, correctly) are found on the surface, and therefore cannot be dissociated from the surface types; hence form alone cannot be trusted to determine age. Further, we are by no means well informed as to the value of patination in flints found on the surface in Egypt. The depth and intensity of the patination would no doubt have a direct relation to the age of the implement, if only it could be proved that all of them had been equally subjected to the conditions that produced the discoloration. But this is clearly impossible. Some implements may conceivably have been continuously on the surface of the desert from the time they were made, and have been acted upon by the sun and air for many thousands of years, while others, though of equal age, may have been covered by sand or otherwise protected for a large part of the intervening centuries. Patination, therefore, like form, can only claim a conditional value. It is at the best an uncertain indication of age, as great age may be possible without it. Similarly, in Somaliland, the condition of the implements is very curious, and in some respects puzzling, while their forms resemble those from the Drift in Europe. But as to the climatic conditions we know nothing, and it is therefore useless to speculate on the condition of the stones; as to the geology we know next to nothing, and no mammalian remains give us a helping hand, while the form alone is a dangerous foundation for argument. Investigations in the more remote parts of the world, though they may occasionally produce some startling novelty in the history of mankind, can scarcely be expected to furnish the same trustworthy continuous story as is to be found in the European area. Here history provides 2:us with a fairly truthful account of what has happened for a period varying from two to three thousand years, or in some places even longer, and we are thus able to judge whether particular discoveries come into the historical stage or not. In more primitive lands where history (if there be any) partakes more of the character of mythical tradition, the task of defining the period to which particular discoveries belong is rendered much more difficult. In America, where history may be said to have begun five hundred years ago, such a feat is of course impossible, until a great deal of work on comparative lines has been accomplished. The accounts of the civilization of Mexico and Peru at the time of the Spanish conquest show a state of culture which in some respects must have put the Spaniards to shame, while in others it was primitive in the extreme. As regards internal communications, the working of gold and copper, and the manufacture and decoration of pottery, these American kingdoms were on a level with all but the most advanced nations; but of history in the true sense of the word they have none. In spite of this, it is by no means a hopeless task to disentangle the apparent confusion of their archaeology. It is now fairly well known what were the races or tribes that inhabited particular districts, and it is thus easy to make a corpus of the types adopted by the various peoples. This is the first certain step in the application of archaeological method. By degrees, as these types become familiar to the trained eye, it will not be difficult to arrange them in a progressive series, from the earliest in style to the latest. That this will be done by the archaeologists of the American continent, even with the present scanty materials, there can be little doubt. Numbers of young and enthusiastic workers have now had a good training in exploration in historical lands, and will usefully employ their experience on the antiquities of their own country. But if once a key be found to the ancient Mexican inscriptions, so plentifully scattered through the ancient monuments, it may be that enlightenment will come even more suddenly and more surely. The one problem that is of the greatest interest still awaits solution, viz. whether there is any relation, in culture or more remotely in race, between the inhabitants of ancient America and those of Europe or Asia. One thing is certain, that if there be any connexion, it is of


infinite remoteness. But it is at any rate noteworthy that the same designs, patterns and even games are found in ancient Mexico and in India or China; and whether these resemblances arise from relations between the peoples using them or from accident, is a problem well worth investigation. In countries like Scandinavia or Switzerland, the story of the early ages is clear and comparatively free from complications. The one by its remoteness was left to develop with but little help from the rest of Europe up to historical times; the other, protected on so many sides by its mountain ranges, seems to have enjoyed a peaceful existence during the Stone and Bronze Ages. A community of fishermen and agriculturists, they led a calm domestic life on the edges of their many lakes where they constructed dwellings on piles with only a gangway to the shore, to prevent the attacks of predatory animals. The practice of building houses in lakes was a common one not only in Switzerland, but also in Britain and in Ireland, as in modern times among the natives of New Guinea. Besides securing the safety of the inhabitants, it had the not unimportant advantage of being more healthy; all refuse of food and other useless matter could at once be thrown into the water where it would be harmless. A similar form of dwelling is the Irish “crannog,” constructed on an island or shoal in a lake, in some cases artificially heightened so as to bring it above water. These crannogs were probably inhabited in Ireland up to comparatively recent times, if one may judge by the remains found on the sites. It must not be forgotten that although the neolithic period had many phases, yet its duration is in no way comparable to the incalculable length of the palaeolithic age. For a variety of reasons it is thought that one of the earliest stages of neolithic times is represented by the now well-known kitchen-middens (refuse-heaps) of Denmark. These heaps are often of great size, sometimes reaching 1o ft. in height, and nearly 350 yds. in length. Here along the coast line the natives of Denmark lived, apparently building their huts upon the mounds and cooking their food upon hearths of stone. The conditions of their daily life would seem to have resembled those of the natives of Tierra del Fuego. Their implements of flint seem to have been chipped only, and it is conjectured that the few polished and more highly finished implements that have been found in the middens are importations from more cultured tribes living inland. Their food was in very great part composed of shell-fish, though they evidently caught and ate various kinds of deer, boar and a variety of carnivorous animals. The race which made these mounds is believed to have been akin to the Lapps, and their dwellings can hardly have been anything more than the rudest protection from the weather. The Swiss lake-dwellers were far more advanced, even in the Stone Age; their dwellings were elaborately planned and constructed, and remains of them have been plentifully found in the various Swiss lakes. Various forms of construction were adopted: in one the foundations consisted of poles driven into the bed of the lake; in others a kind of framework simply rested on the bottom, and in a third, the substructure was formed of layers of sticks reaching from the bottom of the lake up to the surface. The walls were of wattle, closed up with clay to keep out the weather; the hearths were of stone slabs, and the floors of clay well trodden down. Practically the same type of dwelling seems to have continued through the Stone and Bronze Ages, though on some sites no metal whatever is found and it is therefore assumed that these are of the earlier period. These people cultivated the land, growing wheat and barley; they were also hunters and fishermen, capable of manufacturing pottery without the aid of the wheel, which had not yet come into use so far north; and they wove mats and garments, while ropes and netting are plentiful. Their tools and weapons were made of stone, and to a great extent of deer's horn. Human remains are hardly ever found on the sites of the lake-dwellings, and it is therefore uncertain what were the social affinities of the people; but the evidence of the sites is in favour of the same race being continuous into the Bronze Age, when their condition was more comfortable, as is shown by the abundant remains of domesticated animals.

Among the most notable and obvious relics of pre-historic times, both in Britain and in many other countries such as Spain, Portugal, France and even India, are gigantic circles and avenues of stone and dolmens (see StoNE MonuMENTs). These enduring monuments have excited the wonder of countless generations, and lent themselves to superstitious practices down to modern times. But the precise purpose for which they were erected and even the period to which they belonged, had never been definitely settled. They had been called burial places of great chiefs, and not unnaturally had been thought by others to have been temples or places of primitive worship used by the Druids, who moreover were often credited with their erection. Obviously such a question called for settlement, and the British Association in the year 1898 appointed a committee to investigate these stone circles with a view to ascertaining their age. Operations were begun at the well-known circle of Arbor Low, south of Buxton in Derbyshire; careful excavations were made through the ditch and the encircling mound and also within the circle, and although the evidence was not of the most complete kind, yet the committee came to the conclusion that the circle belonged to the end of the neolithic age. At Arbor Low all the stones are now lying on the ground (although, to judge from the other circles in England, they were certainly once upright), and the opportunities for surveying were thereby much diminished. It is a fortunate circumstance, therefore, that the fall of one of the stones at Stonehenge (q.v.) at the end of the 19th century, and the increasingly perilous state of some of the others, caused the owner, with the advice of the Society of Antiquaries of London, to undertake the raising of the great leaning stone in the interior of the circle. The work was superintended by W. Gowland, F.S.A., who made special investigations during the necessary digging, for the purpose of recovering any remains of man's handiwork that had been left by the builders of the monument. In this he was very successful, finding in the course of the very limited excavation at the base of the monolith, a great number of stone mauls or hammers that corresponded so nearly with the bruised surfaces of the monoliths, that there can be no doubt of their having been used to dress the standing stones.

From a review of all the evidence of an archaeological nature that was to be obtained, Gowland came to the conclusion that the construction of Stonehenge belonged to the latter part of the neolithic age. No trace of a metal implement occurred in any of the debris. This would of itself be an interesting fact, but it became infinitely more interesting from researches in quite another direction, which brought corroborative evidence of a curious kind. For many years Sir Norman Lockyer and Prof. Penrose were engaged in examining the orientation of temples in Egypt and Greece, with a view to determining on what astronomical principle, if any, the plans had been laid down. With a rectangular plan, and with portions of the interior still well defined, they were able by elaborate calculation to determine that the temples had been definitely planned with relation to the rising or setting of the sun or of a particular star. Having been successful in these investigations they proceeded to apply the test to Stonehenge. The experiment was made on the longest day in the year 1901. Owing to a gradual change in the obliquity of the earth's orbit, the point of sunrise on corresponding days of each year is not constant; and though the difference is hardly perceptible from year to year, in the course of centuries it becomes great enough for use as a measure of time. Enough remains of the monument to show the direction of sunrise at the time that Stonehenge was erected, it being always assumed that the coincidence of the main axis with the central line of the Avenue was designed with reference to sunrise on the longest day of the year. At the date of the experiment it was found that the sun had shifted nearly two diameters in the interval, and this variation gives a date of about 1680 B.C., which practically confirms the verdict of archaeology and seems to prove, moreover, that Stonehenge was a temple of the sun.

Stonehenge therefore may be taken as marking for Britain the close of the neolithic period and heralding the dawn of a new

Stone Age relics.

era, in which the inhabitants of the British Isles first acquired the art of working metal. There is reason to believe that the transition from the use of stone to that of bronze was not due to the peaceful advance of civilization, but rather to the irruption of an Aryan race from the south-east of Europe into the countries to the west and north. Of these people the Celts are to some extent the representatives at a somewhat more recent period. Here, however, we are dealing with terms the precise meaning of which is not yet generally admitted, and which, moreover, have too intimate a relation to the problems of philology to be fully discussed here (see INDo-EUROPEAN). The term Aryan (q.v.) itself is not free from objections. It was held by Max Müller to relate to a language and a civilization that took its rise in Central Asia, while others now contend that, although it is the mother language of the Sanskrit, Greek, Latin, Teutonic and Celtic languages, it might equally well have originated in Europe. However this may be, and even this brief statement shows how wide a field the arguments would cover, there can be little doubt that the Bronze Age Celts were of this stock, and that in course of time they gradually spread their language and culture over a large part of Europe. Whether or no the knowledge of bronze started from one or more centres, it gradually spread from the south-east of Europe until it reached Scandinavia; the dates being roughly in Crete, 3000 B.C.; in Sicily, 2500 B.C.; in central France, 20oo B.C.; in Britain and in Scandinavia 1800 B.C. The appearance of the Celts in Britain is indicated by the presence of the round barrows. They were a fairly tall, short-headed race, using cremation and also inhumation in their burials, skilful in the manufacture of pottery and of the simpler forms of bronze implements, and freely using bone, jet, and at times amber, while gold was well known and evidently greatly esteemed. In the early centuries of the Bronze Age, swords, spears and shields were apparently quite unknown, the principal metallic products being flat axes, simple knives or daggers, and small tools or ornaments. In the burial places the bodies, if unburnt, are nearly always found in a crouching position, as if in the attitude of sleep; if cremated, the burnt bones are generally enshrined in an urn under the tumulus, the burial being sometimes in a cist formed of large stones. The pottery vessels are remarkable in more ways than one. In the first place they would seem to have been specially made for the burial rites, for whenever domestic pottery has been found, it is of quite a different character, unornamented and simple in outline. It must be confessed, however, that this latter is by no means common. The sepulchral vessels are at times highly decorated, and sometimes of great size. They are invariably hand made, and though they are by no means well fired they are never sun-dried, as is often said to be the case. A common kind of decoration is produced by impressing twisted cords in the damp clay, and this is believed with some reason to have had its origin in the practice of winding cords round the unbaked vessel to prevent distortion before or during the process of firing. That operation would of course burn away the cord and leave only its impression on the urn. Other forms of ornament are also used, incised lines in rudely geometrical designs, impressions of the end of a stick, and at times rows of hollows produced by the finger or thumb. The method of the burial, beyond giving an insight into the art of the period, also helps us to realize to some extent the ideas of primitive man. The underlying reason for careful and ceremonial burial is not always readily understood, apart from a knowledge of the ritual, such as existed in ancient Egypt. But in the Bronze Age in Britain it was the custom to bury with the dead not only carefully made vessels which doubtless contained food for the journey to the lower world, but also the ornaments and weapons of the deceased. Often the bones of a pig have been found in the grave, doubtless representing part of the provender which could not conveniently be placed in the so-called food-vessel. Such practices indicate with a fair amount of certainty a belief in a future life in another world, where probably the conditions were thought to be much the same as in this. The burial of


the weapons and other property of a dead man is, however, not always due to the belief that he may need them in some future state. The reason may well be that it would be thought unlucky for a survivor to use them. Just as the neolithic age was immeasurably shorter than the palaeolithic, but was notable for great improvements in the arts of life, so the Bronze Age in its turn was shorter than the neolithic age, and again witnessed even more marked advance in culture. It is in fact an illustration of the truism that each step in knowledge renders all that follow less laborious; but it is not easy to understand how the transition from stone to metal came about, nor why bronze came to be the chosen metal rather than iron. Bronze, in the first place, is a composite metal, a mixture of copper and tin, while iron can be at once reduced from its ores; indeed, in the form of meteoric iron, it is already metallic, and needs but a hammer to produce whatever form may be wanted. From the archaeological point of view, there is, however, good reason for believing that bronze preceded iron. The forms of axes that are without doubt the earliest, are in outline much the same as the stone prototype, being only thinner in proportion. Then again, iron implements are never found on the earlier sites, and if they had been in existence some of them certainly would remain: further, at the end of the Bronze Age it is found that the forms of weapons in that metal are exactly copied in iron, as, for instance, at Hallstatt (q.v.) in the Salzkammergut, the famous cemetery which best illustrates the passage from the use of bronze to that of iron. It has been claimed that bronze was preceded by copper, a sequence which seems inherently probable; and whether or no it was general enough or enduring enough to constitute a period, there can be no reasonable doubt that in the Mediterranean area, and in central Europe, as well as in Ireland, great-numbers of implements were made of copper alone without any appreciable admixture of tin. The casting of pure copper presents certain difficulties, in that the metal is not adapted for anything but a mould open to the air, and this would limit its utility, until the discovery that tin in a certain proportion (roughly 1: 9) not only made the resulting metal much harder and better fitted for cutting-tools and weapons, but at the same time rendered possible the use of closed moulds. There are thus two problems in connexion with the history of the Bronze Age. How was the metal discovered? And by whom or where? As to the first, it must be remembered that in some parts of the world, e.g. in China and in Cornwall, copper and tin are found together, and it may well be that tin was first accidentally included as an impurity, which, had it been noticed, would have been eliminated. Once it was found to produce a more useful metal, the blend would be deliberately made, and repeated trials would eventually demonstrate the most suitable proportion of one metal to the other. The question of where it was first discovered is one that is not likely to be answered with certainty, but the one essential is the presence of the two metals in one and the same locality. Tin does not exist in either Egypt or Mesopotamia, although bronze articles from the fourth and third millennium respectively B.C. have been found in these countries. The tin to produce the mere metal must have come from some foreign country, and the choice seems to be very small. Spain at the other end of the Mediterranean is unlikely, and Britain still more so; central Asia, Asia Minor, or China again seem too remote; for the spread of metallurgy from these centres would imply a trade connexion nearly 4000 B.C. In later times, later perhaps by 3000 years, Spain and Britain were undoubtedly among the chief sources of the tin supply of Europe and of the Mediterranean generally; but it will long remain a problem where bronze was first produced. There is indeed, no real necessity for confining its origin to a single locality; it is easily conceivable that the invention occurred independently in more places than one. The history of early metallurgy has been carefully studied by W. Gowland, who communicated the results of his researches to the Society of Antiquaries of London in 1899. In his opinion the ores from which copper was first obtained by smelting were

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »