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Manners and Monuments of Prehistoric Peoples by The Marquis de Nadaillac

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notches had evidently been made, the better to place the cross-beams;
whilst in others forked branches had been selected, so that a second
branch could be fitted into the fork. Primeval man soon learnt to
appreciate the solidity of such a combination. Do these stations,
however, really date from prehistoric times? Virchow, returning to his
first opinion, now thinks that the pile dwellings of Germany belong to
the same epoch as the intrenchments known as BURGWALLEN, when metals
and even iron were already in general use. They were inhabited until
the thirteenth century, and it is easy to trace in them, as in those
of Switzerland, the signs of the successive occupations, the dwellings
having evidently been abandoned and restored later by fresh comers.


Small terra-cotta figures, from the Laybach pile dwellings.

At the meeting of the British Association at Newcastle in 1863,
Lord Lovaine described a Lake Station in the south of Scotland,
and Sir J. Lubbock mentions one in the north of England. Others are
known at Holderness (Yorkshire), at Thetford, on Barton Mere, near
Bury St. Edmunds; but judging from the description of them they are
not of earlier date than the Bronze age.

Other stations are more ancient. A few years ago a number of piles were
found a little above Kew, beneath a layer of alluvium, and embedded
in the gravel which formed the ancient bed of the Thames. All around
these piles were scattered the bones of animals, of which those of
the BOS LONGIFRONS were the most remarkable. The long bones had been
split to get out the marrow, an evident proof of the intelligent
action of man. In London two similar examples were found on the site
of the present Mansion House, and beneath the ancient walls of the
city. They are supposed to date from times earlier, not only than
the cutting out of the present course of the Thames, but before that
invasion of the sea which preceded the formation of the Thames valley,
now the home of more than four million men and women.

The Lake Stations of France are less important than those of the
neighboring countries. It is supposed that Vatan, a little town
of Berry, was built on the site of a Lake city. It is situated in
the midst of a dried-up marsh, and at different points piles have
been removed which were driven deep into the mud. We also hear of
pile dwellings in the Jura Mountains, in the Pyrenean valleys of
Haute-Garonne, Ariege, and Aude, as well as in those of the Eastern
Pyrenees. In the department of Landes, which on one side joins the
plateau of Lannemezan, and on the other the lofty plains of Bearn,
are many marshy depressions, where have been found numbers of piles,
with charred wood and fragments of pottery.

Discoveries no less curious have been made in the Bourget Lake,
but the dwellings rising from its surface date from a comparatively
recent epoch. The numerous fragments of pottery found prove that
terra-cotta ware had attained to a beauty of form and color unknown
to primitive times. Indeed some of the vases actually bear the name of
the Roman potter who made them. We must also assign to an epoch later
than the Stone age the buildings, remains of which have beet found in
the peat-bogs of Saint-Dos near Salies (Basses-Pyrenees). At a depth
of about thirty-two inches has been found a regular floor formed of
trunks of trees resting on piles and bound together in a primitive
fashion with the filaments of roots. These piles bear a number of
deep clean-cut notches, such as could only have been made with an
iron implement. in other parts of France there are Lake Stations,
which were occupied until the time of the Carlovingians. To this
time belong the pile dwellings of Lake Paladru (Isere), which were
abandoned, so far as we can tell, by their owners when they were
swamped by the rising of the water.

When the Lake Stations of Europe were inhabited, the characteristic
animals of the Quaternary epoch, such as the elephant, the rhinoceros,
the lion, and the hippopotamus had disappeared from that continent,
and their place was taken by the earliest domestic animals. The
Lake fauna of Switzerland includes about seventy species, thirty
mammals twenty-six birds, ten kinds of fish, and four reptiles.[124]
The mammals were the stag, the dog, the pig, the goat, the sheep, and
two kinds of oxen. These animals were already domesticated, there can
be absolutely no doubt on this point, for in many PFAHLBAUTEN their
very dung has been found, a conclusive proof that they lived side by
side with man.

The remains of the stag and of the ox are more numerous than those of
any other animal, and it is easy to see that every clay the importance
of a pastoral life became more clearly recognized. In the most ancient
Lake Stations, those of Mooseedorf, Wangen, and Meilen, for instance,
the stag predominates; in those of the western lakes, which are
comparatively more recent, relics of the ox are more numerous. In the
Lake village of Nidau, which dates from the Bronze age, a greatly
increased number of bones of domestic animals have been found,
whilst those of wild creatures become rarer and rarer. The progress
of domestication is evident, and it is no less certain that the lapse
of centuries must have been required for the formation of the herds
which evidently existed in certain localities. It is possible that
these animals may have first entered Europe in the wake of foreign
invaders, and before being reduced to servitude, they may have roamed
about in a wild state, and even have been contemporaries with species
now extinct. However that may be, there can be no doubt on one point,
they could not domesticate themselves; one race of creatures after
another must have fallen under the subjection of man, who gradually
became the master of all the animals that are still about us.

We do not meet in the pile dwellings with the common mouse, the rat,
or the cat, and the horse is very rare. It is the same with the
kitchen-middings and the caves occupied in Neolithic times. The
disappearance of the horse, so numerous in earlier epochs, is
general, and this would be inexplicable if history did not solve
the mystery. The Bible, which gives us such complete details of the
pastoral life of the Hebrews, speaks for the first time of the horse
after the exodus from Egypt of the children of Israel, and in Egypt
itself the horse is not represented in any monument of earlier date
than the Seventeenth Dynasty. It is the same in America, animals of
the equine race, that were so numerous in early geological times,
had long since disappeared on the arrival of the Spaniards, and the
horses they brought with them inspired the Mexicans and Peruvians
with unutterable terror.

Domestic animals require regular food through the long winter months;
so that their presence alone is enough to prove that their owners
were tillers of the soil. The discovery in many of the Helvetian
Lake Stations of calcined cereals confirms this hypothesis. Amongst
the cereals found, corn is the most abundant, and several bushels of
it have been collected. In the department of the Gironde, regular
silos or subterranean storing-places for grain have been found in
which the calcined corn was stowed away. In the Lake Stations have
also been found millet, peas, poppy-heads, nuts, plums, raspberries,
and even dried apples and pears, doubtless set aside as a provision
for the winter. From the water at Cortaillod, have been taken, with
a few ears of barley, cherry-stones, acorns, and beechnuts[125];
and at Laybach, some water-chestnuts (TRAPA NATANS) of a kind that
has long since disappeared from Carniola. Sometimes the cereals were
roughly roasted, crushed, and put away in large earthenware vessels;
but in some places, regular flat round loaves of bread have been found
about one or two inches thick, which were baked without leaven. We
may well assert that great changes lead taken place since the first
arrival of man upon the earth.

The so-called TERREMARES of Italy date from the same period as the
Danish kitchen-middings and the Swiss pile dwellings. They are met with
chiefly in Lombardy and in the ancient duchies of Parma and Piacenza,
and consist of low mounds rising from thirteen to sixteen feet above
the surface of the soil. In some cases a number of TERREMARES, close to
one another, form regular villages covering an area of from five to six
miles square. Excavations of the TERREMARE have brought to light rows
of piles from seven to ten feet long, connected by transverse beams,
forming a regular floor, from which rose buts built in a similar way to
those of the Swiss pile dwellings, of interlaced branches or of clay
and straw, for no trace has been made out of the use of bricks or of
stones. The refuse of the kitchen and rubbish of all kinds rapidly
accumulated round about these buts, and formed the first nucleus of
the mound, which soon grew to a considerable height as one occupant
of the house succeeded another. When the refuse became too much of a
nuisance, the owner of the but set up fresh piles at a greater height
on the same site, laid down another platform, and built anew but. In
some places three such platforms have been found one above another.

As in the Lake Stations, excavations of the TERREMARES have brought
to light numerous bones of domestic animals; but those of wild
creatures, such as bears, stags, roedeer, and boars, are even rarer
than in Switzerland. The inhabitants evidently had other resources
than hunting at their command, and though the processes they employed
were but elementary, they cultivated corn, beans, vines, and various
fruits. Though iron was still unknown, some bronze objects have been
found in certain TERREMARES, but these were only roughly melted
pieces of metal, showing no traces of having been either hammered
or soldered. Amongst the pottery found in the TERREMARES, we must
mention a number of small objects not unlike acorns in form, pierced
lengthwise, and decorated with incised lines, some straight, others
curved. Italian archaeologists call them FUSAIOLES, and Swiss savants,
who have found a great many in the lakes of their native country,
give them the name of PESONS DE FUSEAU. Both these names connect them
with the process of spinning; but their number renders this hypothesis
inadmissible, and when we give an account of the excavations carried
on at Hissarlik, under Dr. Schliemann, we shall be able to determine
their character (see Chapter VII.).

At Castione, near the town of Parma, and in several other parts of
the provinces of Parma and Reggio, TERREMARES have been discovered
rising from the midst of vast rectangular basins artificially hollowed
out. Some have concluded from this that the TERREMARECOLLI as the
inhabitants of the TERREMARES have been called, were descended from
the people who built the pile dwellings of Switzerland, and that,
faithful to the traditions of their race, they hollowed out ponds
in default of natural lakes. If this were so, Italy must have been
peopled with a race that came over the Alps.[126] Who or what this
race was can only be matter of conjecture. It cannot, however,
have been the Ligures, a branch of the great Iberian family, who
were totally ignorant of culture, and to whom the builders of the
most ancient of the TERREMARES were certainly superior; nor can
it have been the Etruscans, for all relics of that race, which are
moreover easily recognizable, were found quite apart from the deep
deposits containing the TERREMARES. Many indications point to the
conclusion that when the Celts came down into Italy their knowledge of
metallurgy was already more advanced than that of the builders of the
TERREMARES. We are therefore disposed to think with Heilbig, that the
TERREMARECOLLI were the Itali, of Arian race, who were the ancestors of
the Sabini, Umbri, Osci, and Latins. In the great migrations of races,
the Itali bad separated themselves from their brethren the Pelasgi,
who had remained in Epirus, and, continuing their march, they peopled
Switzerland and crossed the Alps, settling down in the fertile plains
watered by the Po, where it is easy even now to prove their presence.

In superintending the excavation of a TERREMARE at Toszig, in Hungary,
Pigorini,[127] was greatly struck by the resemblance between it and
similar erections in Italy, especially that of Casarolo. This is very
much in favor of the Itali having been the builders. But the objects
collected in some of the TERREMARES, those of Varano and Chierici
for instance, prove that they were inhabited from Neolithic times,
so that the Itali of Italy, if Itali they were, did but follow the
traditions of their predecessors. In spite, however, of zealous study,
all that relates to the origin of tribes and races remains involved
in the greatest obscurity, and we can but look to the future to supply
what the present altogether fails to give.

We have yet other tokens of the presence of the ancient races
who peopled Italy. Dr. Concezio Rosa[128] noticed in the Abruzzi
extensive black patches on the ground, which bore witness to the
former residence of men. The excavation of these FONDI DI CABANE, as
they are called, led to the finding of a great many stone knives and
scrapers with numerous bone stilettos and the bones of various animals,
all of them of species still living. Later, similar FONDI were found
between the Eastern Alps and Mount Gargano. In Reggio, at Rivaltella,
at Castelnuovo de Sotto, and at Calerno, they formed regular groups,
and from one of these stations more than one thousand worked flints
were collected. We mention them especially because they were of
lozenge (SELCI ROMBOIDALI) and half-lozenge (SEMI-ROMBI) shapes,
which are forms unknown in other districts.

With these flints were hand-made vases with handles, the clay unmixed
with sand or quartz and ornamented with lines, grooves, and raised
knobs. These vases differ greatly from those found in the TERREMARES;
are they then, as has been said, of earlier (late? It is impossible
to come to any decision on the point.

Before closing our account of prehistoric buildings surrounded by
water, we must say a few words on crannoges though there is the
greatest difference of opinion as to their date.

Crannoges are artificial islets raised above the level of certain lakes
in Ireland and Scotland[129] by means of a series of layers of earth
and stone, and strengthened by piles, some upright, others laid down
lengthwise. Wylde counted forty-six in Ireland in his time, some of
them of considerable extent. That of Ardkellin Lough (Roscommon) is
surrounded by a wall of dry stones resting on piles. In other places
have been found the remains of stockades very intelligently set up
in such a manner as to break the force of the shock of the water.

To add to the difficulties of dealing with the subject of crannoges,
they were successively occupied for many centuries. They are mentioned
in the most ancient Irish legends, and even in the sixteenth century
they served as refuges for the kings of the country in the constant
rebellions that took place. The objects taken from the lakes belong to
very different epochs, and it is impossible to say anything positive
as to the time of their construction.

A but found in Donegal may, however, date from an extremely remote
age.[130] It rested on a thick layer of sand brought front the
neighboring shore, and was covered over by a bed of peat slot
less than sixteen feet thick. Since the hilt was deserted by man
the peat had gradually accumulated till it had at last invaded the
dwelling itself. The but included a ground-floor, and one story about
twelve feet long by nine wide and four high. The walls consisted of
beams scarcely squared, joined together with wooden mortices and
pegs. The roof, which was probably flat, consisted of oak planks,
the spaces between which had been filled in with mortar made of
sand and grease. On the ground-floor lay several flint implements,
showing no signs of having been polished, a quartz wedge, and a
stone chisel, which had evidently seen long service. This chisel,
the discoverers say, corresponded exactly with the notches around the
mortices. A regular paved way, formed of sea-beach pebbles placed on
a foundation of interlaced branches, led up to a hearth made of flat
stones measuring some three feet every way. All about lay fragments
of charcoal and broken nuts, the latter partly burnt. Another but,
with an oak floor resting on four posts, has recently been discovered
in County Fermanagh, beneath a deposit of peat about twenty feet
thick. No trace of metal has been found in either of these Irish buts,
and the thickness of the peat beneath which they lay is another proof
of their great antiquity. One serious objection, however, is this:
Were the Irish sufficiently advanced in prehistoric times to be able
to erect dwellings implying so considerable an amount of civilization?

Crannoges are met with in Scotland as well as in Ireland, and
excavations in Loch Lee have enabled explorers to make out their
mode of construction. The Lake Dwellers began by piling up a number
of trunks of trees in the shallower waters of a lake. They then
strengthened these trunks with branches or beams about which the
mud collected till the whole formed an islet. All about this islet,
beneath the waters of the lake, were found various objects in stone,
wood, and horn, as well as some canoes several feet long. Similar
crannoges are to be seen on the lakes of Kincardine and Forfar,
which Troyon thinks date from the Stone age.[131] If he be right,
and we should not like to make any assertion one way or the other, the
bronze objects and the enamelled glass bowls found near these dwellings
prove that they were occupied by several successive generations.

It is probable that Lake dwellings were also used in Asia and in
Africa from prehistoric times. History tells us that the inhabitants
of Phasis, the Mingrelians of the present day, lived in reed huts
on the water, and that they went from one islet to another in canoes
hollowed out of the trunks of oak-trees. A bas-relief from the palace
of Sennacherib, preserved in the British Museum, represents warriors
fighting on artificial islands made of large reeds. But here w e
enter the domain of history, and we must return to Neolithic times,
and speak of the habitations built of more durable materials and the
ruins of which are still standing.

It is impossible to say with any certainty to what period the most
ancient of these structures belong. It is probable that man early
learned to pile up stones, binding them together at first with clay,
and then with some stronger cements. The BURGHS of Scotland, the
NURHAGS of the island of Sardinia, the TALAYOTI of the Balearic Isles,
the CASTELLIERI of Istria, are all ancient witnesses of the modes of
building employed in the most remote ages.

BURGHS, BROCKS, or BROUGHS are numerous in Scotland,[132] and also in
the islands of the Atlantic. For a long time they were supposed to be
of Scandinavian origin, but Sir J. Lubbock[133] remarks With reason
that no building at all like them exists in Norway or in Denmark, and
it is difficult to admit the idea that the Scandinavians set up in
the islands tributary to them buildings which were unknown to their
own mainland. We are therefore disposed to think that these curious
structures, which were inhabited until the twelfth and thirteenth
centuries of the Christian era, are of much earlier date than the
first invasion by the Northmen, and that the burgh still standing
on the little island of Moussa, one of the Shetlands, is one of the
best examples that we can quote. A tower, forty-one feet high, rises
on the borders of the sea. The walls are of unhewn stones, piled up
without cement, and they form two circles, separated by a passage
four feet wide. In each story are a series of very small openings,
intended to admit air and light to the cell-like rooms inside, and
to a staircase that leads to the top of the tower. The only way into
this burgh is through a door only seven. feet high, and so narrow
that it is impossible for two people to go in abreast.

The regularity of the building of this burgh, and the architectural
knowledge. it implies, prevent our ascribing it either to the
Stone or even to the Bronze age; but we find in Scotland itself
more ancient examples, if we may so express ourselves, of domestic
architecture. These examples are subterranean dwellings, made of
rough-hewn stones of considerable size, laid down in regular courses,
to which the names of EARTH-HOUSES, PICTS' HOUSES, and WEEMS have been
given. The walls converge towards the centre, leaving an opening at
the top, which was covered in with large flat stones. These dwellings
are certainly of earlier date than the burghs, and the discovery of
a PICTS' HOUSE actually beneath the ruins of a burgh enables us to
speak with certainty on this point.

In Ireland similar proofs have been found of the great antiquity of
roan. More than one hundred towers have been found in that country,
all built of large stones, and varying in height from seventy to one
hundred and thirty feet, with a diameter of from eight to fifteen
feet. The most diverse origins have been attributed to these towers,
from prehistoric times to the centuries immediately preceding
the Christian era; from the time of the Druids to that of the
Friars. According to the point of view of different archaeologists,
they have been called temples of the sun, hermitages, phallic
monuments, or signal towers.

We meet with a similar problem in considering the NURHAGS, as in
considering the burghs. They have been justly called a page of
history, written all over the surface of Sardinia by an unknown
people. Count Albert de la Marmora counted three thousand of them a
few years ago, and more recent explorers tell us that this number is
greatly exceeded. Like the burghs, which they strangely resemble, the
NURHAGS are conical towers with very thick walls made of huge stones,
some Hewn, others in their natural state, arranged in regular courses
without mortar. On entering one of them we find ourselves in a vaulted
room, which looks exactly like one half of an egg in shape. In the
upper stories are two, and sometimes three rooms, one above the
other, to which access is gained by steps cut in the walls. The
whole structure is crowned by a terrace (Fig. 53). We must add that
the entrance to the NURHAG is through an opening on a level with the
ground, and so low that one can only go in by crawling on the stomach.

Many conjectures have been made as to the use of these towers. Were
they temples in which to worship, or trophies of victory? Their number
is against either of these hypotheses. Were they then habitations or
towers of observation? Not the former certainly, for no one could live
between walls sixteen or twenty-two feet thick, shut out from air and
light. Some travellers think they were tombs, but excavations have
brought to light no bones or sepulchral relics. We can compare them
to nothing but the Towers of Silence, on which the Parsees expose
their dead to the birds of heaven, which are ever ready rapidly to
acquit themselves of their melancholy functions.


Nurhag at Santa Barbara (Sardinia).

The origin of the NURHAGS is as uncertain as their use. Diodorus
Siculus considered them very ancient, and one fact has come to
light in our day which enables us to arrive at a somewhat more exact
decision. The island of Sardinia was taken by the Romans from the
Carthaginians in 238 B.C., and an aqueduct, the ruins of which can
still be seen, was built by the conquerors on the foundations of an
ancient NURHAG, so that the latter must belong to an earlier (late
than the third century before our era. Fergusson, who speaks with
authority on everything relating to the monuments of the Stone age,
assigns the NURHAGS to the mystic times of the Trojan War. In all
probability they were built by an invading people. La Marmora thinks
these invaders were the Libyans; M. de Rougemont, in his history of the
Bronze age, says that the curved vault is the characteristic feature
of Pelasgian architecture, which is often confounded with that of
the Phoenicians. Although any final conclusion would be premature,
we ourselves think that the builders of the NURHAGS belonged to
the great stream of emigration from the East, the course of which
is marked by megalithic monuments in so many parts of the world. In
some instances, NURHAGS were surrounded by cromlechs, of which most
of the stones have now been thrown down. Some of these stones bore
prominences resembling the breasts of a woman.

The accumulations of earth and rubbish about the NURHAGS are, some
of them, from six to ten feet high. In the lower deposits have been
found coarse pottery, with no attempt at ornamentation, fragments
of flint, and obsidian hatchets of black basalt, or porphyry of the
Palaeolithic type, arrow-head, flint knives, stones used in slings,
and numerous shells; whilst in the upper deposits were picked up
black pottery and fragments of bronze belonging to the transition
period between the Stone and Metal ages.

All over the island of Sardinia, side by side with the NURHAGS, rise
tombs to which have been given the name of SEPOLTURE DEI GIGANTI. They
are from thirty-two to thirty-nine feet long by a nearly equal width,
and are built,. some of huge slabs of stone, some of stones of smaller
size. They are in every case surmounted by a pediment, formed of a
single block, and often covered with sculptures dating from different
epochs. These sepulchres are certainly of later date than the NURHAGS,
and in them have been found numerous implements of bronze, but none
of stone.


"Talayoti" at Trepuco (Minorca).

The TALAYOTI, of which one hundred and fifty are still standing in
the island of Minorca, are circular or elliptical truncated cones,
built of huge unhewn stones, laid one on the other without cement
(Fig. 54). The most remarkable of all of them, that at Torello, near
Mahon, is thirty-three feet high. In many cases there are two stone,
one placed upright, the other across it, in front of the TALAYOTI. The
meaning of these biliths is unknown.

Yet another series of cyclopean monuments are known under the name
of NANETAS, and are not unlike overturned boats. Seven such NANETAS
are still to be seen in the Balearic Isles. The one which is best
preserved consists of large unhewn stones of rectangular shape,
enclosing an inner chamber about six feet in width. The roof having
fallen in, its height cannot be exactly determined; we only know that
the lateral walls are some forty-five feet high.

In Algeria also have been preserved some towers built of stones
without cement. Some of them are square (BASINA) and surmounted by
a small dolmen, others are round (CHOUCHET) and closed at the top by
a large slab of stone, as in the NURHAGS we have just described.

It is difficult to bring this account to a close without mentioning
the TRUDDHI and the SPECCHIE of Otranto.[134] A TRUDDHI is a massive
conical tower consisting of a heap of scarcely hewn stones piled up
without cement and with an exterior facing. Inside is a round room,
the roof of which is formed by a series of circular courses of stone
projecting one beyond the other. Sometimes a second chamber rises
above the first, which IS reached by steps cut in the facing, which
steps also lead to the platform on the top of the tower. Thousands of
TRUDDHI are to be seen in Italy; they date from every epoch, and the
people of Lecce and Bari continue to erect them as did their fathers
before them. Side by side with the TRUDDHI rise the SPECCHIE, which
are conical masses of stone, of greater height and probably of more
ancient date than the towers. Lenormant thinks they were used to live
in; but his opinion has been much questioned, and it is necessary to
speak on this point with great reserve.

The CASTELLIERI of Istria, which the Slavonian peasants call STARIGRAD,
are as yet but little known. Doubtless an examination of them will
bring out their resemblance to the NURHAGS and TALAYOTI. They are,
however, more than mere towers, forming regular ENCEINTES between walls
formed of two facings of dry stones, the space between which is filled
in with smaller stones. There are fifteen of these CASTELLIERI in the
district of Albona, a little town on the southeast of Trieste. They
were at first attributed to the Roman epoch, but later researches
relegate them rather to prehistoric times, and the discovery near
them of numerous stone implements rather tends to support this latter
opinion, but it must not be considered conclusive.

Perhaps we ought also to connect with the earliest ages of humanity
the stations recently discovered in Spain by MM. Siret.[135] These
were evidently centres of population, surrounded by walls of a
very primitive description. We shall have to refer again to these
discoveries; we will only add now that in the black earth forming
the soil were found worked flints, polished diorite hatchets, pierced
shells, with various pieces of pottery, and mills for grinding corn. So
far, however though many of the stations have been explored, no trace
has been found of the use of metals.

A vast period of time, countless centuries, indeed, have passed
away since the close of the Paleolithic epoch. The burghs, NURHAGS,
and CASTELLIERI show the progress of civilization, and at the same
time prove that this progress extended throughout Europe, and that
at a time not so very far removed from our own. The close resemblance
between buildings of different dates enables us to speak with certainty
of the connection between the races which succeeded each other in
Europe. The importance of these conclusions is very great, and will
be brought out still more in our study of megalithic monuments.


Megalithic Monuments.

Megalithic monuments are perhaps the most interesting of all the
witnesses of the remote past, into the history of which we are now
inquiring, and of which so little is known. From the shores of the
Atlantic to the Ural Mountains, from the frontiers of Russia to the
Pacific Ocean, from the steppes of Siberia to the plains of Hindustan,
we see rising before us monuments of the same characteristic form,
built in the same manner. This is a very important fact in the history
of humanity, and of which it is difficult to exaggerate the importance.

What is the age of all these monuments? Were they all erected by one
race, which has thus carried on its traditions front one generation to
another? Were they the temples of the gods of this race, or the tombs
of their ancestors? Did the people who set them up come from the East,
or did they come from the North, on their way to the warmer regions
of the South? These and many other questions are eagerly discussed,
but in the present state of our knowledge not one of them call be
answered in a perfectly satisfactory manner. SCIRE IGNORARE MAGNA
SCIENTIA, said an ancient philosopher, and this is a truth which we
must often repeat when we are dealing with prehistoric times.


Dolmen of Castle Wellan (Ireland).

Under the name of megalithic monuments we include TUMULI, DOLMENS,
CROMLECHS, MENHIRS, and COVERED AVENUES. It may at first sight appear
strange to include tumuli amongst stone monuments, but they almost
always enclose a dolmen, a cist, or a crypt communicating with the
outside by a covered passage. The excavation of more than four hundred
tumuli in England has brought to light now, a stone coffer made of a
number of stones set edgeways and called a KISTVAEN: now of a, tomb
hollowed out beneath the surface of the ground, and enclosed by huge
blocks of stone.[136] Mounds are as numerous in Portugal as tumuli in
England, and the fact that they are of low height has led to their
being called MAMOAS or MAMINHAS, which signifies little mounds. In
Poland, tumuli consist of piles of massive stones; beneath each is
a cist made of four large slabs, and containing as many as eight
or ten urns full of calcined bones. The excavation of a tumulus in
the plain of Tarbes brought to light an enormous block of granite
resting on blocks of quartz. The spaces between these blocks were
filled in with rubble made of small stones cemented into one mass
with clay. Edwin-Harness Mound, near Liberty (Ohio), is 160 feet
long by eighty or ninety wide, and thirteen to eighteen high in the
middle. It contained a dozen sepulchral chambers.


The large dolmen of Coreoro, near Plouharnel.

More rarely tumuli are merely artificial mounds of earth, sometimes
rising to a great height. Those of North America are the most
remarkable known. That of Cahokia is now ninety-one feet high,[137]
and was formerly surmounted by a low pyramid, now destroyed. Its base
measures 560 feet by 720, the platform at the top is 146 feet by 310
feet wide, and it has been estimated that twenty-five million cubic
feet of earth were used in its construction. Major Pearse mentions a
tumulus near Nagpore, which is 3,900 feet in circumference, and 174
feet high. Another between Tyre and Sarepta, is 130 feet high by 650
in diameter. It has never been excavated.[138]


Dolmen of Arrayolos (Portugal).

The dolmen type of monument is a rectangle of u hewn upright stones
covered over with a slab laid across them; this slab being the largest
block of stone that could be found in the neighborhood or obtained
by the builders.

Dolmens are generally found either on the top of a natural or an
artificial mound, in the middle of a plain, or on the banks of
a watercourse. We must mention, amongst others, those in Persia,
which are some 7,000 feet high and from twenty-one to twenty-six feet
long by six wide; that near Mykenae, that of Aumede-Bas, excavated
by Dr. Prunieres; that of New Grange, in Ireland, surmounted by a
cromlech of stones of considerable size, many of them brought from
a distance; that of Hellstone, near Dorchester, consisting of nine
upright stones supporting a table more than twenty-seven and a half
feet in circumference, seven feet wide and two and a half thick. The
dolmens near Saturnia, one of the most ancient Etruscan towns, include
a quadrangular room, sunk some feet into the earth, and having walls
made of blocks of stone and a roof of a couple of large slabs, sloped
slightly to let the rain run off. We give illustrations of the dolmens
of Castle Wellan in Ireland (Fig. 55), of Coreoro near Plouharnel
(Morbihan) (Fig. 56), of Arrayolos in Portugal (Fig. 57), and Acora in
Peru (Fig. 58), which will enable the reader to judge of the different
modes of construction employed in building these megalithic monuments.


Megalithic sepulchre at Acora (Peru).

In some cases the dolmen, which alone is visible from without, is
placed upon a mound, covering a hidden sepulchral chamber, whilst in
others the crypt is replaced by a simple stone cist, generally of
rectangular shape. We may mention in this connection the dolmen of
Bekour-Noz at St. Pierre Quiberon, which is remarkable for its great
size, and rises from the midst of a cemetery in which a great many
coffins have been found. The bones they contained were unfortunately
dispersed at the time of their discovery.

Dolmens are scattered about in great numbers in the Kouban
basin and all along the coasts of the Black Sea occupied by the
Tcherkesses. These curious vestiges of an unknown civilization are
still an unsolved enigma to us, as are those of Western Europe; they
are generally formed of four upright slabs surmounted by a fifth laid
horizontally, and one of the supporting slabs is nearly always pierced
with a small round or oval opening. Excavations have brought to light
arrow-heads, rings, and bronze spirals, but Chantre, an authority
of considerable weight, and who has moreover had the advantage of
actually seeing these megalithic monuments of the south of Russia,
attributes the objects found beneath them to secondary interments, and
does not hesitate in assigning the more ancient monuments themselves
to the Stone age. We must not omit to mention the dolmens found in
the southern portion of the island of Yezo (Japan),[139] nor that
described by Darwin at Puerto Deseado (Patagonia). They are both very
similar to those of Europe.

To resume, dolmens, called HUNENGRABER in Germany, STAZZONA in Corsica,
ANTAS in Portugal, and STENDOS in Sweden, have all alike one large flat
horizontal slab placed on two or more upright unhewn stones. This is
the one fixed rule; local circumstances, perhaps even the caprice of
the builders, decided the position and the mode of erection. Often,
as I have already remarked, dolmens are buried beneath tumuli, but
exceptions to this are numerous. General Faidherbe, after having
examined more than six thousand dolmens in Algeria, affirms that the
greater number have never been covered with earth.[140] In the Orkney
Islands there are more than one hundred dolmens without tumuli, and
Martinet failed to find any trace of mounds in Berry. In Scotland
and Brittany we find dolmens buried, not beneath mounds of earth,
but under accumulations of pebbles, called CAIRNS in Scotland and
GALGALS in Brittany. However minor details may vary, and they do vary
infinitely, one main idea everywhere dominated the builders, and that
was the desire to protect from all profanation the resting-place of
what had once been a human being.

Cromlechs are circles of upright stones often surrounding dolmens or
tumuli. Sometimes they form single circles, and at others two, three,
or even seven separate enclosures. They are common in Algeria, Sweden,
and Denmark, and in the last-named country two kinds are distinguished:
the LANGDYSSERS, which form an ellipse, and the RUNDYSSERS which
form a perfect circle. In other countries cromlechs are slot so
numerous; there are but few in France, of which we may name those of
Kergoman (Morbihan), Lestridion in Plomeur, and Landaondec in Crozon
(Finistere). The last-named, known its LE TEMPLE DES FAUX DIEUX,
is closed by a double row of small menhirs. In Italy, the only
cromlechs known are those of Sesto-Calende and those of the plateau
of Mallevalle near Ticino. One of the latter still retains in their
original position fifty-nine huge granite blocks, forming a circular
enceinte, a semicircle, and an entrance avenue. A few leagues from the
ancient Tyre can still be seen a circle of upright stones. Ouseley
describes another at Darab, in Persia; a missionary speaks of three
large circles at Khabb, in Arabia, which circles he compares with
those at Stonehenge; and Dr. Barth tells us of a cromlech between
Mourzouk and Ghat.

A kurgan, or tumulus, leaving been opened in the Kherson district,
three or four concentric circles were discovered beneath it,
surrounding a structure of considerable size.[141] The cromlech
of Anajapoura in Ceylon, probably, however, erected comparatively
recently, consists of fifty-two granite pillars, about thirteen feet
high, encircling a Buddhist temple. At Peshawur is another circle,
fourteen of the stones of which are still upright, whilst traces can
be made out of an outer enceinte of smaller stones; in Peru there
are several cromlechs, whilst others have been found at the foot of
Elephant Mount, in the desert plains of Australia. The last-named vary
from ten to one thousand feet in diameter, but excavations beneath
them have brought to light only a few human bones.

At Mzora, in Morocco, the traveller will notice a mound of elliptical
shape, some 21 or 22 1/2 feet high, flanked on the west by a group
of menhirs, and surrounded by an enceinte of upright stones which
now number about forty. In 1831, there were still ninety, and on
the south side were noticed two round pillars parallel with each
other, which probably formed an entrance.[142] This group evidently
originally formed the centre of a series of megalithic monuments, for
on the north and southwest some fifty monoliths can still be made out,
some still erect, others fallen.[143]

It was in Great Britain, however, that cromlechs appear to have
reached their highest development. That of Salkeld in Cumberland
includes sixty-seven menhirs; that near Loch Stemster in Caithness,
thirty-three, whilst in Westmoreland, LONG MEG AND HER DAUGHTERS are
still the objects of superstitious reverence. The remains at Avebury
are among the most remarkable prehistoric monuments still extant,
and evidently originally formed part of a most important group. This
group had an outer rampart of earth, with a ditch on the inner side,
within which was a circle of upright stones, probably numbering as many
as one hundred. Within this circle were two others of smaller size,
each in its turn enclosing yet another circle of upright stones. In
the middle of one of these inner circles, that on the north, was a
dolmen, whilst that on the south enclosed in the centre but a single
upright menhir. The stones used in constructing these various groups
were all such as are still to be found on the Wiltshire downs. From
the southeastern portion of the extensive earthen rampart, a stone
avenue extended for a considerable distance in a perfectly straight
line, and is still known as Kennet's Avenue, on account of its leading
to the village of Kennet. The remains on Hakpen Hill and on Silbury
Hill are all supposed to have been originally connected with those
at Avebury. The remains at Hakpen consist of relics of two circles,
one about 140 feet in diameter, the other not more than forty. About
eighty yards from the inner circle was found a double row of skeletons,
all with the feet pointing towards the centre. Silbury Hill is itself
an artificial conical mound, the largest in England, 170 feet high,
on which were originally no less than 650 upright stones, of which
only twenty are still standing, surrounded by a trench. In the centre
of the circle of stones a single menhir of great height still remains
with three others sloped so as to form a kind of crypt.

The megalithic monuments of Stonehenge, which are probably better known
than any others in the world, are perhaps also the most curious. The
group is supposed to have originally consisted of an outer stone
concentric circle some one hundred feet in diameter, formed by thirty
piers of solid masonry, of which about twenty can still be made out,
some few standing, others lying broken upon the ground. This outer
circle enclosed a second of similar shape but lesser diameter, within
which again were taro elliptic circles, the outer consisting of ten or
twelve sandstone blocks some twenty-two feet high, standing in pairs,
each pair united by a slab laid horizontally across, so as to form
a trilithon. The inner ellipse was formed by nineteen upright masses
of granite, within which was the famous slab of blue marble, by many
supposed to have been an altar. The pillars and lintels of the outer
portico, and those of the trilithons, are fitted together with the
greatest skill, with tenons and mortices, a remarkable exception
to the general rule with megalithic monuments. Everywhere in the
neighborhood of Stonehenge, as far as the eye can reach, are tumuli,
all nearly equidistant from the principal group of monuments, a fact
which has led many archaeologists, including Henry Martin, to look
upon. Stonehenge as a temple surrounded by a necropolis. Excavations
at Stonehenge have yielded a few human bones which have escaped the
flames, with some stone and bronze weapons.

The megalithic monuments of Ireland are not less important, and
a recent survey has reported no less than 276 still standing.[144]
The cromlechs of Moytura[145] are supposed to commemorate the fearful
combats which took place between the FIRBOLGS, or Belgae as they are
called by Irish antiquaries, and the Tuatha de Dananns, when the
plains of Sligo and Meath were dyed with blood, before the former
were vanquished and retired to Arran. There are still no less than
fourteen dolmens and thirty-nine cromlechs. The bones picked up beneath
the stone circles, which keep alive the memory of these sanguinary
conflicts, are those of the warriors who fell on the battlefield,
but the story of how they met their fate belongs rather to history
than to the subject we are considering. It is the same with the two
huge monoliths of Cornwall. which commemorate a battle between the
Welsh King Howel Dha and the Saxon Athelstane, as well as with the
cromlechs of Ostrogothland, where, in 736, took place the battle in
which the old King Harold Hildebrand was overcome and killed by his
nephew, Sigurd-Ring. A group of forty-four circles also marks the site
of the celebrated combat of 1030, in which Knut the Great defied Olaf
the patron saint of Norway. We may also name in this connection the
twenty circles of stone erected at Upland in memory of the massacre
of the Danish prince, Magnus Henricksson, in 1161. Yet another group
of circles marks the spot where, about 1150, the Swedish heroine,
Blenda, overcame King Sweyne Grate. We might easily multiply instances
of the erection in historic times of similar monuments, but we have
said enough to show that the megalithic form was by no means confined
to prehistoric days.

Menhirs properly so called, also known as LECHS in Brittany, are
in reality isolated monoliths or single upright stones, often of
considerable size. One of the best known is that of Locmariaker
(Fig. 59) which was nearly seventy feet high.[146] It was still
standing in 1659, but is now overturned and broken into four
pieces. The flat stone resting on one portion of it is known
as Caesar's table. On some menhirs, notably on Sweno's pillar in
Scotland, a cross has been cut on one side, showing either that this
form of monument was early adopted by Christians, or more probably,
that it was adapted to their use after having long previously been
a relic of prehistoric times. On the other side of Sweno's pillar is
a bas-relief of fairly good execution.

In some cases menhirs mark the site of a tomb, and sometimes, as is
the case with the obelisks of Egypt, they commemorate some happy
event. A standing stone in Scotland preserves the memory of the
battle of Largs, which took place in the thirteenth century, and a
piously preserved legend tells how the menhir of Aberlemmo was set
up in honor of a victory over the Danes in the tenth century.


The great broken menhir of Locmariaker, with Caesar's table.

Some archaeologists in view of the shape of certain menhirs and
the superstitions connected with then, think they must be phallic
monuments. Menhirs in France are quoted in this connection, cut into
the form of the phallus; and the same form occurs in some menhirs near
Saphos, in the island of Cyprus,[147] and in others found amongst the
ruins of Uxmal, in Yucatan. Herodotus relates that Sesostris caused
toy be set up, in countries he conquered, monoliths bearing in relief
representations of the female sexual organs. These are, however,
but exceptions, isolated facts, and it would certainly never do to
argue from them that menhirs were connected with the worship of the
generative flowers of nature.

It is extremely difficult to get at the statistics of menhirs. A
great many have been overthrown, and yet more have disappeared
altogether. Probably, besides the alignments or stone avenues, there
are not more than twenty still standing.[148] One thing is certain,
the monolithic form of monument has always had a great attraction
for the human race, and we meet with it in Egypt, Assyria, Persia,
and Mexico, as well as in England and Brittany. The historian speaks
of such monuments in the earliest of existing records; Homer refers
to them in the Iliad,[149] and in the Bible we find it related that
the Lord ordered Joshua to set up twelve stones in memory of the
crossing of the Jordan by the Israelites.[150]

Alignments are groups of menhirs set up in one or wore rows. Sometimes
large slabs are laid across them, when they arc, called covered
avenues. One such alignment at Saint Pantaleon (Saone et Loire)
consists of twenty menhirs. The menhirs of El Wad, in Algeria, form
long avenues, running front west to east. The Arabs call them ESSENAM,
and according to tradition they were erected in fulfillment of a vow
made in the hope of arresting the march of an enemy. The tumulus of
Run-Aour (Finistere) has two avenues running at right angles to one
another.[151] This disposition, which is very rare, also occurs at
Karleby, in Sweden, and by a remarkable coincidence the length of the
avenues (about thirty-nine and fifty-five feet), is the same in both
cases. Sometimes such avenues form communications between several
dolmens, leading us to suppose that near the chief slept the members
of his family or his favorite companions.

The covered avenues are often built beneath masses of earth, and the
inner rooms became regular hypogea, These hypogea, or subterranean
chambers, are very common near Paris, and we may mention amongst
many others those of Meudon, Argenteuil, Conflans-Sainte-Honorine,
Marly, Chamant, La Justice, and Compans. The tombs of Denmark,
the GANG GRABEN of Nilsson, show an arrangement somewhat similar,
a vast subterranean chamber being reached by a passage ending in
a small stone cist. The tumulus of Dissignac, near Saint-Nazaire
(Fig. 60), shows this strange arrangement of two galleries running
parallel with each other at a distance of about eighteen feet. The
walls and ceilings are made of slab, anti the interstices are filled
in with flints. These galleries are some thirty feet long, and their
height insensibly increases from about three to nine feet.


Covered avenue of Dissignac (Loire-Inferieur); view of the chamber
at the end of the north gallery.

We must also mention the Cueva de Mengal, near the village of
Antequera, in the province of Malaga (Fig. 61) Twenty stones form
the walls of the crypt, five blocks of remarkable size serve as a
roof, and to ensure solidity three pillars are set upright inside
of the junction of the roof blocks. The crypt is some seventy-nine
feet long, its greatest width is about nineteen feet, and its height
varies from about eight to nine feet. The length of the Pastora room,
near Seville is about eighty-seven feet, but its height is not to
be compared with that of the one at Antequera. The square crypt at
Pastora is very interesting. One of the roof stones having been broken,
it has been strengthened by the addition of an inside pillar.[152]


Covered avenue near Antequera.

At Gavr'innis, the length of the passage leading to the crypt exceeds
forty-two feet (Fig. 62), and the Long Barrow of West Kennet is
more than seventy-three feet long by a width in some parts exceeding
thirty-two feet. In the Long Barrows of Littleton, Nempnitt, and Uley,
the crypt is reached by an avenue, the entrance of which is closed by
a trilithon, and a similar arrangement is met with in many megalithic
monuments of Scania. The sepulchral chambers of oval shape, such as
that met with in the island of Moen, were surmounted by a tumulus some
100 yds. in circumference; twelve unhewn stones formed the walls, and
five large blocks the roof. In removing the earth from the Moen tomb,
the bones of several human individuals were found; and a skeleton,
doubtless that of the chief, lay stretched out in the middle of the
chamber, whilst the bones of the others had evidently been ranged
against the walls either in a sitting or crouching position. With
the bones were found a flint hatchet, which appeared never to have
been used, a number of balls of amber, and several vases of different


Ground plan of the Gavr'innis monument.

The megalithic monuments of Mecklenburg are supposed to date from
Neolithic times, and are constructed in two very different ways. The
HUNENGRABER, formed of huge blocks of granite set up at right angles
to each other, resemble the covered avenues of France and elsewhere;
in the so-called RIESENBETTEN, or giant's beds, on the contrary,
the sepulchral chamber is merely sunk in the ground.

We must also mention the so-called GROTTE DES FEES, or fairy grotto,
forming part of so many of the megalithic monuments of Provence. This
fairy grotto includes an open-air gallery cut in the mountain limestone
and roofed in with huge flat stones. This gallery leads to a sepulchral
chamber not less than seventy-nine feet long.

The stones used for the covered avenue of Mureaux (Seine et Oise)
carne from the other side of the Seine, so that the builders must have
crossed the river in a raft. Excavations have brought to light several
skeletons that had been buried without any attempt at orientation,
the bores of which were still in their natural position. The objects
found in this tomb were very numerous mid belonged to the Neolithic

We have now specified the chief forms and modes of arrangement of
megalithic monuments, and must add that they are often found in
juxtaposition. At Mane-Lud, for instance, on a rocky platform which
had been artificially smoothed, and which is some 246 feet long by
162 in area, we find at the eastern extremity an avenue of upright
stones, on the west a dolmen, and in the centre a crypt surmounted by a
conical pile of stones. Between the cone and the avenue the ground is
covered with an artificial paving of small stones cemented together,
and known in France as a NAPPE PIERREUSE, and amongst the stones
forming this paving were found quantities of charcoal and bones of
animals. The megalith was completely buried beneath a mound of earth,
or rather of dried mud, the amount of which was estimated at more than
37,986 cubic feet. At Lestridiou (Finistere), a cromlech forms the
starting-point of an alignment formed of seven rows of small menhirs,
the mean height of which above the ground does not exceed three feet;
and these alignments lead up to two covered avenues and a central
dolmen. In other cases, in England and the land of Moab for instance,
alignments simply lead to cromlechs; whilst in some few cases, as
at Stennis (Fig. 63), the menhirs are scattered about a plain in
great numbers, with nothing either in their form or their position,
or in the traditions relating to them, to throw the slightest light
on their origin.


Monoliths at Stennis, in the Orkney, Islands.

One of the most important monuments that have come down to us is that
of Carnac. The alignments of Menec, Kermario, and Kerlescant include
1,771 menhirs, of which 675 are still standing. The alignments of
Erdeven, which succeed those of Carnac, extend for a length of more
than a mile and a half. They originally included 1,030 menhirs,
of which 288 are still extant.

The archaeologists of Brittany, carried away perhaps by their
patriotic enthusiasm, claim that when these monuments were intact
they included two thousand menhirs. What is really certain, however,
is that a definite plan was evidently followed, the distances
between the alignments tallying exactly; the menhirs being set up
in straight parallel lines gradually decreasing in size towards
the east. Excavations near them have brought to light fragments of
charcoal, masses of cinders, chips of silicate of flint, with numerous
fragments of pottery, and tools made of quartzite, granite, schist,
and diorite, similar to those met with under all the other megaliths
of Morbihan. This is yet another proof, if such were needed, that
they were all the work of the same race and all probably date from
the same period.

The number of megalithic monuments in the world is simply
incalculable. M. A. Bertrand estimates the total number in France
as 2,582, distributed in 66 departments and 1,200 communes. They are
most numerous of all in Brittany; there are 491 in the Cotes-du-Nord,
530 in Ille-et-Vilaine. I am not sure of the number in Morbihan,
but I know it is very considerable. The commission appointed at
the instigation of Henry Martin decided that there were as many
as 6,310 megaliths in France, but then amongst these were included
polishing stones and cup-shaped stones, with other similar relics of
the remote past. Lastly, a report recently presented to the Chamber
of Deputies by M. A. Proust estimates at 419 the number of groups
classed by government. In other countries these numbers are greatly
exceeded. There are 2,000 megaliths in the Orkney Islands and a
great many in the extreme north of Scania, and in Otranto in the
southern extremity of Europe, where they resemble the PEDRAS FITTAS
of Sardinia. Pallas, and after him, Haxthausen, tells us that there
are thousands of kurganes in the steppes of Central and Southern
Russia.[154] These kurganes are cromlechs, tombs surmounted by upright
stones, square or conical hypogea, all scattered about without any
apparent system, surmounted by roughly sculptured female busts, known
amongst the common people as KAMENA BABA, or stone women. Tumuli,
too, abound on the shores of the Irtisch and of the Yenisei, mute
witnesses to the former presence of a vanished race of which we
know neither the ancestors nor the descendants. These monuments are,
however, by some attributed to the Tchoudes, a people who came from
the Altai Mountains. The Esthonians, the Ogris or Ulgres, the Finns,
and perhaps even the Celts, are supposed to be branches of the same
ethnological tree. This is however quite a recent idea, and at best
but a mere hypothesis.[155]

Algeria presents a vast field for research, and it is easy to find
dolmens and cromlechs, such as that shown in Fig. 64, which are
sepulchres with a central dolmen surrounded by a double or triple
enceinte of monoliths driven into the ground. These monuments, much
as they differ in form and arrangement, are undoubtedly the work of
one strong and powerful race that dominated the whole of the north
of Africa; and are represented in historic times by the Berbers,
and at the present clay by the Kabyles.


Cromlech near Bone (Algeria).

Although a very great many of them have been destroyed, the French
possessions in Algeria are still as rich in monuments of this kind
as any of the countries of Europe. On Mount Redgel-Safia six hundred
dolmens have been made out, with stone tables resting on walls of
dry stones and frequently surrounded by cromlechs. Dr. Weisgerber
has recently announced the discovery in the valley of Ain-Massin,
on the vest of Mzab,) of a cromlech consisting of a number of
concentric circles of large stones set upon an elliptical tumulus,
more than fifty-four square yards in area. Quite close is a workshop
of flint weapons, probably in use at the time of the erection of the
megaliths.[156] In Midjana, the number of megaliths exceeds 10,000,
and General Faidherbe counted more than 2,000 in the necropolis of
Mazela, and a yet larger number in that of Roknia. "At Bou-Merzoug,"
says M. Feraud,[157] "in a radius of three leagues, on the mountain as
well as on the plain, the whole country about the springs is covered
with monuments of the Celtic form, such as dolmens, demi-dolmens,
menhirs, avenues, and tumuli. In a word, there are to be found examples
of nearly every type known in Europe. For fear of being taxed with
exaggeration, I will not fix the number, but I can certify that I saw
and examined more than a thousand in the three days of exploration, on
the mountain itself, and on the declivities wherever it was possible
to place them. All the monuments are surrounded with a more or less
complete enceinte of large stones. sometimes set up in a circle,
sometimes in a square, In some cases the living rock forms hart of
the enceinte, which has been completed with the help of other blocks
frolic elsewhere. It is often difficult to decide where the monument
end, and the rock begins. When the escarpment was too abrupt, it
was levelled with the aid of a kind of retaining wall, which forms a
terrace round the dolmen. The dolmens in the plain seem to have been
constructed with even greater care. The enceintes are wider and the
slabs of the tables larger." Megalithic monuments are met with even
in the desert. A pyramid built of stones without mortar rises up in
the districts inhabited by the Touaregs; and quite near to it are
four or five tombs surrounded by standing stones.

In Algeria, we also meet with quadrangular pyramids called DJEDAS,
which measure as much as ninety feet on each face, but do not rise
more than three feet above the ground. The (lead were buried beneath
them in a crouching position. We know nothing either of the origin
of these djedas or of the date to which they belong.

The monuments of Tunisia were probably as numerous as those of
Algeria. We may note especially the vast area in Enfida, completely
covered with dolmens, one hundred of which are still standing, and in
excellent preservation, whilst the ruins of others strew the soil,
bringing up their original number to at least three thousand. Those
described by M. Girard de Rialle[158] are yet more interesting. Near
the village of Ellez, on the road from Kef to Kerouan, are some fifteen
covered avenues distributed without apparent order, and rising from
the midst of Roman ruins. The upright stones vary from about ten to
thirteen feet, and are surmounted by huge slabs. The chief dolmen
has within it as many as ten chambers.

There are also numerous tumuli in Syria. We have already alluded
to that of Sarepta; and there are others near Antioch and in the
plain of Beka, between Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon. Major Conder, who as
captain conducted the interesting campaign organized by the Palestine
Exploration Society in 1881 and 1882, speaks of the exploration of
the rude stone monuments as one of the most interesting features of
the surveys, and says: "The distribution of the centres where these
monuments occur in Syria, is a matter of no little importance ... no
dolmens, menhirs, or ancient circles have been discovered in Judaea,
and only one doubtful circle in Samaria. In Lower Galilee a single
dolmen has been found; in Upper Galilee four of moderate dimensions
are known. West of Tiberias is a circle, and between Tyre and Sidon
an enclosure of menhirs. At Tell el Kady, one of the Jordan sources,
a centre of basalt dolmens exists, and at Kefr Wal ... there is
another large centre. At Amman several fine dolmens and large menhirs
are known to exist ... it is doubtful, however, if all these examples
added together would equal the great fields of rude stone monuments to
be found in Moab, for it is calculated that seven hundred examples
were found by the surveyors in 1881.[159] There is one group of
dolmens at Ali Safat, in Palestine, in which the supports of the
table are pierced with an opening. This is a very interesting fact,
to which I have already alluded, and to which I shall have to refer
again. Another group of some twenty dolmens was discovered by M. de
Saulcy on the plateau of El Azemieh, one of which rises in the centre
of a belt of roughly sculptured upright stones; and yet a third group
is to be seen near Mount Nebo, which Major Conder thus describes:
"Here a well-defined dolmen was found northwest of the flat, ruined
cairn, which harks the summit of the ride. The cap-stone was very
thick, and its top is some five feet from the ground. The side-stones
were rudely piled, and none of the blocks were cut or shaped ... In
subsequent visits it was ascertained that on the south slope of the
mountain there is a circle about 250 feet in diameter, with a wall
of twelve feet thick, consisting of small stones piled up in a sort
of vellum."[160]

With regard to the megalithic monuments of India, we can only repeat
what we have already said. Colonel Meadows Taylor has counted 2,129
in the district of Bellary (Deccan) alone. Many legends are connected
with them which remind us of those of Europe, some attributing their
erection to dwarfs or rants, to fairies or to genii, whilst others
think they were the work of the Kauranas and Pandaves, the celebrated
families whose long struggle is described in the Mahabharata, and were
probably aboriginal races of the continent. The plain of Jellalabad and
of Nagpore, stud the valley of Cabul are literally strewn with these
monuments. They are not less numerous in the Presidency of Madras,
where they chiefly consist of subterranean chambers made of huge unhewn
stones or of dolmens above ground surrounded by one or more circles
of upright stones, such as are shorn in Fig. 65. Major Biddulph, when
he ascended the valleys of the Hindoo Koosh Mountains, was astonished
to see on every side megalithic monuments resembling those of his
own country, and, like them, the work of an unknown race.[161]


Dolmen at Pallicondah, near Madras (India).

This is, of course, but a very rapid survey of the megalithic monuments
of our globe. They are most of them either tombs intended to hold
the bodies of the dead, or memorials set up in their honor. New
facts are constantly coming to light in this connection, and we may
add to what we have already said, that beneath the tumulus of Mugen,
as in the Cabeco d'Aruda ( Portugal), there are numerous skeletons;
sixty-two repose in the sepulchral chamber of Monastier (Lozere);
the dolmen known as the Mas de l'Aveugle (Gard) covers a circular
cavity in which fifteen corpses had been placed; that of La Mouline
(Charente) also enclosed a number of skeletons, all in a crouching
position, whilst above them were placed two clumsy vases, a pious
offering to the unknown dead. The prehistoric cemetery of Maupas
contains several crypts of irregular form, built of rubble stone, and
surmounted by a huge stone which had become corroded by age. In these
crypts, too, the dead were piled up on each other, and the relics found
with them justify us in assigning them to the Neolithic age. Beneath
the dolmens of Port-Blanc (Morbihan) were two upper layers of dead,
stretched out horizontally and separated by flat stones. In the Isle
de Thinie (Morbihan) excavations have brought to light twenty-seven
stone cists or coffins of different sizes, all intended to be used for
burial. Beneath the menhirs of Finistere, cinders and stones charred
by fire bear eloquent witness to the cremation of the dead. "Whenever
a dolmen has been opened in Finistere," says Dr. Floquet, "cinders
or bones have been picked up; why, then, should we not admit that all
dolmens are tombs?" This is really a conclusion to which we are almost
compelled to come, and the names handed down by popular tradition
are, if need be, yet another proof of the same thing. One dolmen
at Locmariaker, for instance, is known as LE TOMBEAU DU VIEILLARD,
a covered avenue at Saint Gildas is LE CHAMP DU TOMBEAU, and farther
on a pathway leading to a ruined megalith is known as the CHEMIN DU
TOMBEAU. The Abbe Harvard speaks of a remarkable monolith known as
LA PIERRE DU CHAMP DOLENT, and another CHAMP DOLENT is met with near
Rheims, whilst a group of monuments near Trehontereuc is called the
JARDIN DES TOMBES, and the upright stones of Auvergne are known by
the characteristic name of the PLOUROUSES.

Whether we examine the megaliths of Germany or of Poland, the mounds
of Ohio or of Kentucky, of Missouri or of Arkansas, it is ever the same
thing; excavations bring to light striking proofs of their destination,
and everywhere we are led to the same conclusions.

Archaeologists would certainly appear to have been justified in hoping
that the tombs thus scattered about all over the world would yield such
useful information as to lead to some final conclusions. Unfortunately,
however, this has not been the case. Often all trace of burial has
disappeared in successive displacements, and more often still, the
home of the dead has been violated in the hope, which turned out to be
imaginary, of finding treasures; whilst in other cases the earliest
inhabitants of the tombs have been removed to make way for their
successors, who in their turn were soon afterwards expelled. Victory
and defeat were not over with life, but were met with yet again in
the grave.


Dolmen at Maintenon, with a table about 19 1/2 feet long.

It has been well pointed out by Fergusson, in his "Rude Stone
Monuments," that the megalithic architecture of the remote past
is a thing altogether apart; its special form indicating now the
tendencies of a race or group of races of mankind, now the particular
degree of civilization attained by a race at a certain period of
its development. A cursory view of these monuments as a whole would
lead us to class them all together as masses of rough, scarcely
hewn stones piled up without cement, and almost always without
ornamentation. In studying them one by one, however, we find, in
spite of their undeniable family likeness, if we may use such a term,
that it is quite easy to snake out certain differences, the result of
the peculiar genius of the race by whom they were erected, or of the
nature of the materials the builders had at their disposal. To take
a case in point: Cromlechs are most numerous in England, and dolmens
in France, and in both these countries we meet with a form of dolmen
(Fig. 66) such as is rarely set up in other districts; one of the
extremities of the table resting on the ground, and the other opt two
supporting stones. In Scandinavia the supports are erratic blocks, in
India fragments of the rocks in the neighborhood, in Algeria and the
south of France buildings in courses are often met with; in Brittany
the monuments of Mane-er-H'roek and Mane-Lud are paved with large
stones. The ground from which rises the dolmen of Caranda, near Fere
in Tardenois (Aisne), is covered with slabs, and the opening is closed
with a flat stone resting on two lintels. We cannot speak of Caranda
without referring to the discoveries and magnificent publications of
M. F. Moreau, thanks to whom the daily life of the Gauls, Gallo-Romans,
and Merovingians is brought vividly before us. To return, however to
our monuments: As we have seen, the crypt was in many cases divided
into two or more sepulchral chambers by walls made of stones. We
find this arrangement at Gavr'innis, at Gamat (Lot), at Alt-Sammit in
Mecklenburg, in Wayland Smith's cave in Berkshire, and in a great many
monuments in Scandinavia. M. du Chatellier speaks of several megalithic
monuments in Finistere, including a central dolmen and several lateral
chambers. The chambered graves at Park Cwn in Wales, and at Uley in
Gloucestershire, contain side chambers, those of the former with a
covered passage between them, whilst in the latter the side chambers
are grouped round a central apartment. At New Grange, in Ireland, a
passage more than ninety-two feet long leads to a double chamber of
cruciform shape, with a roof of converging stones. Yet another fine
example of a similar kind is that of Maeshow in the Orkney Islands. The
tomb of Vaureal (Seine-et-Oise) contains three crypts of different
sizes. The long barrow of Moustoir-Carnac contained four separate
chambers, the western one of which is a dolmen of the kind known as
GROTTES DES FEES, and is supposed to be much older than the rest of
the group. A central circular chamber, with walls of upright stones,
has a roof in which an attempt has been made to form a kind of dome,
the stones of which project and overlap each other, marking, clumsy
as is the construction, a considerable advance on anything previously
accomplished, and adding considerably to the solidity of the monument.

An examination of the megalithic monuments still standing enables
us to judge of the difficulties with which their builders had to
contend, bearing in mind the primitive nature of their tools. We have
already given the dimensions of the stones forming the alignments
at Carnac. Those at Avebury vary in height from about fourteen to
sixteen feet, and in the Deccan is a tumulus surrounded by fifty-six
blocks of granite of an even greater size. One of the slabs of the
Pedra-dos-Muros (Portugal) is remarkable for its size; and the length
of the table of a dolmen on the road from Loudun to Fontevrault is more
than seventy-two feet long; that of the dolmen of Tiaret (Algeria) is
some seventy-five feet long by a width of nearly twenty-six feet and
a thickness of nine and a half feet. This extremely heavy block rests
on supports rising more than thirty-nine feet from the ground.[162]

Stone as well as wood can be much more easily cut in one direction
than in any other. Men early learnt to recognize this peculiarity, and
to take advantage of it in attacking rock. With their stone hammers
they struck in straight lines, always aiming at the same points,
and then, probably with the help of a fierce file, they succeeded
in breaking off fragments. They also employed wedges of wood, which
they drove into natural or artificial fissures, pouring water on to
this wedge again and again. The wood became swollen with the damp,
and in course of time a block of stone would be detached. Neither
time nor sinewy arms were wanting, and Fergusson has remarked that
any one who has seen the ease with which Chinese coolies transport the
largest monoliths for considerable distances, will not look upon the
difficulties of transport as insurmountable. A more serious difficulty
would be the placing of the table of the dolmen on the supports,
which are often raised to a great height above the ground. It is
supposed that earth was piled up against the jambs so as to form an
inclined plane, up which the table was slid into place with levers
and rollers of the most primitive form, such as were in use in the
most remote antiquity. Sometimes the way in which these stones are
balanced is perfectly marvellous. The Martine stone, near Livernon
(Lot), for instance, is the shape of a boat, and the slightest touch
is enough to make it rock on its two supports. That of Castle Wellan
(Fig. 55) rests on three stones pointed at the top, and some of the
trilithons of India are of even more remarkable construction.

Although, as a general rule, megalithic monuments are without
ornamentation, there are a good many exceptions in the case of
dolmens made of very hard granite, on which numerous carvings and
engravings have been made. It is, however, impossible to decipher
any but a very few of these signs, whether circles, disks, dots,
tooth or leaf mouldings, spirals, serpentine lines, lozenges, or strip.

M. du Chatellier describes at Commana (Finistere) an entrance gallery
loaded with carvings, and the walls of one of the Deux-Sevres monuments
have on them some very rough representations of the human figure cut
in INTAGLIO, whilst various megaliths of Ireland are adorned with
circles, spirals, stars, etc. One of the supports of the dolmen of
Petit-Mont-en-Arzon has on it a representation of two human feet in
relief; that of Couedic in Lockmikel-Baden is paired with flat stones
covered with engravings. On the granite ceiling of the crypt beneath
the dolmen of the Merchants, or as it is called in Brittany the DOL
VARCHANT, is engraved the figure of a large animal supposed to have
been a horse, but the head of which was unfortunately broken off at
some remote date.[163] We often meet with representations of hammers,
sometimes with and sometimes without handle. We give an illustration of
one of the walls of the Mane-Lud monument (Fig. 67), which will enable
the reader to judge of the general character of these engravings.


Part of the Mane-Lud dolmen.

The monument of the Isle of Gavr'innis, of which we have already
spoken, is the most remarkable of any for the richness of its
decoration. It includes a gallery, consisting of forty-nine blocks
of granite and two of quartz, leading to a spacious apartment. These
blocks were brought from a distance, and the fact that the little
arm of the sea separating the island from the mainland was crossed,
proves that the men who built the monument owned boats strong enough
to carry heavy loads. Excavations carried on in 1884 brought to light
a pavement consisting of ten large slabs of granite, and beneath
this pavement was found a kind of crypt at least three feet deep,
the lower part of the lateral menhirs forming the walls. We must add,
however, that Dr. de Closmadeuc, and his opinion should carry weight,
thinks that when the Gavr'innis monument was erected the island was
connected with the mainland. Three of the supports, forming the walls
of the crypt, and all those of the gallery are covered with chevrons
or zig-zag ornaments, circles, lozenges, and scrolls of which Fig. 68
will give some idea, and which Merimee compares to the tatooing of
the inhabitants of New Zealand. Megalithic monuments of Ireland and
certain stones in Northumberland are ornamented in a manner resembling
the Gavr'innis engraving, similar designs being produced by similar
means, and although the engravings of Morbihan are generally more
clearly cut and distinct, Ave note in all alike the same absence of
regularity, the same roughness of execution, the same strange types,
the same disorder in the arrangement of the signs, and the same care
to preserve the surface of the block in its natural condition.


Sculptures on the menhirs of the covered avenue of Gavr'innis.

There has been a good deal of discussion about the orientation of
megalithic monuments, and the truth on that point once ascertained,
some light might be thrown on the aim of the builders. It is evident,
however, that there never was any general system of orientation. The
dolmens of Morbihan, it is true, nearly all face the east, doubtless
in homage to the sun rising in its splendor; but this is not the
case in Finistere, and the dolmens of Kervinion and Kervardel, for
instance, are set due north and south. Leaving Brittany, we are told
by the Rev. W. Lukis that the position of the megalithic monuments
of England varies considerably: most of the dolmens of Berry, Poitou,
Aveyron, and the island of Bornholm, face west; and those of Algeria
are set southwest, and northeast, so that it is really impossible to
come to any final conclusion.

Some of the megalithic monuments already noticed have a peculiarity
to which we must refer here on account of its importance. One of
the supports, in nearly every case that which closes the entrance,
is pierced with a circular opening. Sometimes, however, the opening
is elliptical or square.


Dolmen with opening (India).

We meet with dolmens thus distinguished in India (Fig. 69), in
Sweden, in Algeria, in France, and in Palestine, where they are
often associated with sepulchral niches hewn out of the rock and also
pierced with an opening corresponding with that of the entrance. In
Alemtejo (Spain), square openings occur. West of Karleby in Sweden,
is a sepulchral chamber about twenty-nine feet long, made of slabs
set upright, all those facing south being pierced with a nearly
circular opening; and on the shores of the Black Sea dolmens made
of four upright stones surmounted by a slab, have, in every case,
one of the uprights pierced with an artificial opening about six
inches in diameter. These dolmens are said by the country people to
have been set up by a race of giants who built them as shelters for
a dwarf people on whom they had compassion.


Dolmen near Trie (Oise).

In France, dolmens with openings are so numerous that it is difficult
to make a selection. That known as La Justice, near Beaumont-sur-Oise,
consists of a small vestibule and a very long mortuary chamber,
separated by a slab pierced with a round opening. We must also mention
the megalithic monument of Villers-Saint-Sepulchre at Trie (Oise)
(Fig. 70), that of Grand-Mont, with many of those of Morbihan, of
which that of Kerlescant has an oval opening; the covered avenue of
Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, originally erected at the confluence of
the Seine and Oise, and now set up exactly as it was found at Saint
Germain, has an oval opening, and presents the exceptional feature,
of which I know no other instance, of having a stone for closing the
opening if necessary; the covered avenue of Bellehaye in Normandy,
reproduced with precision at the Paris Exhibition of 1889, which was
closed by a transverse stone with an opening some inches in diameter.

Of English examples we may mention the dolmens of Rodmarten and
Avening; Merimee quotes several megalithic monuments in Wiltshire;
and Sir J. Simpson, the well-known and oft-described KIT'S COTTY
HOUSE, which is nothing more than a dolmen with an opening. HOLED
STONES, as they are called, are numerous in Cornwall, the size of the
opening varying considerably; that at Men-an-Tol, for instance, is more
than a foot in diameter, whilst others are but a few inches long. At
Orry's Grave, in the Isle of Man, two large stones are so placed as
to leave a circular space between them, which was evidently intended
to serve the same purpose, or at least was in accordance with the
same superstition, as were similar characteristics elsewhere. Setting
aside the interminable legends connected with dolmens having openings,
there is no doubt that this peculiarity of structure, which we meet
with in India as in Scandinavia, in the Caucasus as in France, shows
that the builders of all of them were impelled by a similar idea. These
openings are too small to allow of the introduction of other corpses,
or to afford to the living a refuge in the home of the dead; they
could but have served for the passing in of food, of which a supply
was so often left for the departed; or yet another interpretation is
possible: they may have been left for the soul or the spirit to leave
its earthly prison and take flight for those happy regions in which
all races more or less believe, and to which belief these openings
may be witnessed to the present day. M. Cartailhac, however, hazards
yet another explanation, and suggests that the megalithic monuments
were intended for the interment of whole families, and that the bodies
were not introduced into the tombs until all the flesh was gone, when
the skeletons might have been slipped through the openings left for
that purpose. The repeated disturbances of the remains in the graves
have unfortunately often entirely dispersed all the human bones.

It was in Brittany that the art of erecting dolmens reached its fullest
development, and it is there that the relics found in the tombs are
of the most important character. Nowhere do we find weapons more
carefully preserved, more delicately finished ornaments of a more
remarkable kind. The Museum of Vannes, where most of the valuable
objects found in the excavations are preserved, possesses quartzite,
fibrolite, diorite, and even nephrite and jadeite hatchets, some
of which materials are not native to Europe; as well as amber beads
and a necklace of calaite, that precious stone described by Pliny,
and which long remained unknown after his time.

Hatchets or celts are more numerous than any other objects found
beneath dolmens of Brittany. A report, read by M. R. Galles to the
Societe Polymathique of Morbihan, enumerates the objects found
with the dead beneath the dolmen of Saint-Michel. This report
is a regular inventory, in which figure eleven jade celts of
great elegance of form and varying from about three and a half to
sixteen inches, two larger celts of coarse workmanship both broken,
twenty-six small fibrolite celts with sharp edges, nine pendants,
more than one hundred jasper beads which had been part of a necklace,
and lastly an ivory ring. Other megalithic monuments were not less
rich in relics. Thirty hatchets were picked up at Tumiac; more than
a hundred, nearly all of tremolite, at Mane-er-H'roek; which were
remarkable for their regularity of form, their polish, and the variety
of their colors. They seldom bear any traces of having been used, and
in many cases they appear to have been intentionally broken, probably
in conformity with some funereal rite. Finistere, though not so rich
as Morbihan, furnished an important contingent. The excavations of
the Kerhue-Bras tumulus brought to light a sepulchral chamber which
contained thirty-three arrow-beads. Beneath other dolmens were picked
up a number of little plaques of slate, all pierced with holes;
one of these pieces of slate, which was oblong in form, bore on it
a representation of a sun with rays surrounded by ornaments not easy
to make out. The Breton megalithic monuments also contained numerous
fragments of pottery, some of which had formed part of vases without
stands, such as those found at Santorin and at Troy.

In other parts of France, similar discoveries have been made; shells
often brought from distant shores, glass beads, amber bowls, hatchets
and celts made of stone foreign to the country. Dr. Prunieres presented
to the French Association, when it met at Bordeaux, a collection
of weapons and ornaments which came from the megalithic monuments
of Lozere. M. Cartailhac described at the Prehistoric Congress of
Copenhagen the dolmen of Grailhe (Gard). A skeleton was found beneath
it crouching in a corner; whilst round about it lay a knife, a flint
arrow-head, a vase of coarse pottery, and in the earth forming the
tumulus were picked up twenty arrow-heads, a hatchet of chloromelanite,
with numerous beads and fragments of pottery. Were these offerings to
the dead, or to the infernal deities, given to them in the hope of
propitiating them in favor of the deceased? Beneath the megalith of
Saint Jean d'Alcas were found beads of blue glass and of enamel which
Dr. Prunieres, having compared with those in the Campana collection
in the Louvre, thinks are of Phoenician origin. The tumuli of the
Pyrenees have yielded calaite beads of the shape of small cylinders
pierced with holes; and the dolmen of Breton (Tarn-et-Garonne)
eight hundred and thirty-two necklace beads, some of the shape of a
heart. Beneath the Vaureal dolmen were found five skulls in a row,
and near one of them, that of a woman, lay a necklace made of round
bits of bone and slate, on which hung a little jadeite hatchet as an
amulet. These human relics were also accompanied by a fibrolite celt,
numerous little worked flints, and some fragments of pottery. This
arrangement of skulls in a tomb is very rare, and the only thing I
can compare it to is the row of five horses' heads placed at the end
of the entrance gallery of Mane-Lud.

At Alt-Sammit (Mecklenburg), were round stone hatchets, flint knives,
fragments of pottery covered with strive and ornaments; at Tenarlo
(Holland), urns and amber beads. At Ancress in the island of Jersey,
we find a regular necropolis dating from Neolithic times, and one
hundred vases or urns of different forms were collected. In the Long
Barrow of West Kennet, too, were found numerous fragments of pottery,
and with these fragments boars' tusks longer than those of the boar
of the present clay, the bones of sheep, goats, roedeer, pigs, and of
a large species of ox, all of which are probably relics of a funeral
feast. At a little distance from West Kennet the Rev. Doyen Merewether
found several flint implements. Here too, then, as elsewhere, the home
of the living was side by side with the resting-place of the (lead.

Beneath the dolmens of West Gothland have been found polished stone
weapons and tools associated with the bones of domestic animals,
in many cases bearing traces of the work of the hand of man. At
Olleria, in the kingdom of Valencia, at Xeres de la Frontera, we find
diorite hatchets, and in Algeria vases filled with the shells of land
mollusca. In every clime we meet with tokens of the respect in which
the dead were held.

This respect is really very remarkable. The builders of the dolmens
did not hesitate to sacrifice their most precious objects, their
richest ornaments, their hatchets and precious stones brought from
a distance by their tribe in their long migrations. No one would
dream of robbing the sacred collection. Our own contemporaries,
however civilized we may flatter ourselves by considering them,
would not prove themselves as disinterested.

Hatchets, pottery, and personal ornaments of stone bone, etc.,
are not the only artificial objects found beneath the megalithic
monuments. Metals, too, have been discovered, and M. Piette in one
of his excavations, came across a plate formed of very thin layers
of gold leaf welded together by hammering; and in several parts of
the south of France have been found olives made of gold and pierced
lengthwise. The dolmen of Carnouet in Brittany, insignificant as it
appears and containing but one small sepulchral chamber with no gallery
of access or lateral crypts, beneath a tumulus about thirteen feet
high by some eighty-five in diameter, and which was left untouched
until our own day, actually contained a golden necklace weighing
over seven ounces; in the crypt of the Castellet monument was found
a golden plaque and a golden bead; whilst the Ors dolmen in the isle
of Oleron concealed a nugget which had been rolled into the shape
of a bead probably after having been beaten thin with a hammer. At
Plouharnel, two golden amulets were found beneath a triple dolmen,
and M. du Chatellier, in excavating beneath a megalithic monument
in Finistere, found a magnificent chain of gold. A somewhat similar
chain was taken from the Leys dolmen near Inverness, and in 1842 Lord
Albert Cunningham picked up at New Grange (Ireland) two necklaces,
a brooch, and a ring, all of gold.

More than a hundred megalithic monuments of France have been found
to contain bronze, and this number would be more than doubled if we
counted the finds in tombs not connected with megaliths, such as those
of Aveyron and Lozere, where a few bits of bronze were found mixed
with numerous stone objects. One fifth of the weapons, especially the
swords and daggers found beneath the dolmens, are of bronze. At Kerhue
in Finistere, a number of bronze swords were arranged in a circle round
a little heap of cinders and black earth, relics, probably, of the
cremation of the dead, in honor of whom the tumulus had been erected.

Beneath the dolmens of Roknia (Algeria) were found thirteen bronze
ornaments, and two in silver gilt of very superior workmanship,
and under those of the Caucasus were picked up blue-glass beads,
arrow-heads, and bronze rings; but M. Chantre, who is an authority
in the matter, thinks these objects date from interments subsequent
to the erection of the dolmens.

Iron was much more rarely used than bronze in the greater part of
Europe. It was not even known in Scandinavia before the Christian
era. In Germany, Pannonia, and Noricum its use dates from the sixth
or seventh century B.C. Beneath the mounds of Central America we find
but a few fragments of meteoric iron, the rarity of which made them
extremely valuable; on the other hand iron was known to the Hellenes
as long ago as the fourteenth century B.C., and it had been employed
in Egypt for many centuries prior to that time. The most ancient
sepulchres of Malabar contain iron tridents, and Genesius dates their
use from before the deluge. It is therefore surprising to find that
some races remained for an illimitable time ignorant of the way to
procure a metal of such great utility.

Iron was not used in Brittany until towards the close of the period
during which megalithic monuments were erected. Stone, bronze, and
iron were found together in the Nignol tomb at Carnac, which dates
from the time when cremation was already practised. We find the same
association of different materials in the Rocher dolmen.

In the British Isles, especially in Scotland and in Ireland, bronze
and iron objects are more numerous than in France. At Aspatria,
near St. Bees in Cumberland, a cist was discovered containing the
skeleton of a man measuring seven feet from the crown of the head
to the feet. Near the giant lay numerous valuable objects, including
an iron sword inlaid with silver, a gold buckle, the fragments of a
shield and of a battle-axe, and the iron bit of a snaffle bridle. The
great cairn of Dowth, in Ireland, contained iron knives and rings
mixed with bone needles, copper pins, and glass and amber beads,
all showing rapid progress in the industrial arts. The remarkable
cairns near Lough Crew (Ireland), which were untouched and indeed
unknown to archaeologists until 1863, were found to contain, amongst
many other interesting objects, numerous human bones, fragments of
pottery, shells of marine mollusca, 4,884 bone implements, and seven
pieces of iron very much oxidized. The tumuli of the Grand Duchy of
Posen and those of Prussia cover kistvaens containing funeral vases,
weapons, and silver and gold ornaments.

We are altogether in the dark as to the date or the use of the various
objects found in these tombs, and the coins bearing dates which are
often associated with them, do not seem to help us much, belonging
as they doubtless do to a much later period than the erection of the
monuments. We may, however, mention that near the surface of the mound
of Mane-er-H'roek eleven medals of Roman emperors from Tiberius to
Trajan were found; whilst under the tumulus of Rosmeur, on the Penmarch
Point (Finistere), were various Roman coins; at Bergous in Locmariaker,
at Mane-Rutual, and at other places in Brittany, coins of the earliest
Christian emperors; at Uley, in Gloucestershire, some coins of the
time of the sons of Constantine; at Mining-Low (Derbyshire), beneath
a kistvaen surrounded by a cromlech, some medals of Valentinianus;
at Galley-Low, with a magnificent gold necklace set with garnets,
a coin of Honorius, but as these last were found at the outer edge
of the mound there are doubts as to the time of their deposition;
these doubts were, however, to some extent set at rest by the finding
of a coin of Geta beneath the monument itself. We might multiply
instances of similar finds, but I will only mention one more, the
discovery under some Scotch barrows of silver necklaces and coins of
the Caliphs of Bagdad, bearing date from 88 887 to 945 A.D.

This last discovery confirms what I have already said, that the
introduction of the coins was of much later date than the erection
of the monument. Another fact adds weight to this decision. The most
ancient Gallic coins date from about three centuries before our era,
and the earliest British from a century earlier than that. How is it
that excavations have brought to light no specimens of either? The
Romans successively occupied all the countries of which we have just
spoken; the tombs themselves bear witness to their conquests; and it
is to the violation of the tombs, the displacements, and secondary
interments that we owe the introduction of coins, pottery, and bricks
that undoubtedly date from the Roman period, and were probably placed
beside their dead by the Roman legionaries.

Whatever may be the difficulties, however, we are already able to come
to certain definite conclusions. We cannot connect the megalithic
monuments with any one of the ancient religions known. They were
certainly not set up in honor of Odin or of Osiris, of Astarte or of
Athene, the Phoenician or the Egyptian, the Greek or the Roman gods;
their erection seems to have had but one end in view, to do honor to
the dead. Beneath none of them do we find the remains either of the
cave-bear or of the reindeer, still less of the mammoth or of the
rhinoceros; whereas we do constantly meet with the bones of animals
characteristic of Neolithic times. It is therefore to that period that
we must attribute the more ancient of these mysterious monuments. And
the setting up of such memorials continued throughout the intermediate
time between the Stone and Bronze ages, and through the Bronze and Iron
periods. It was, indeed, still practised now and then in the earlier
centuries of the Christian era. More than that, such monuments are
even now occasionally erected. The Khassias of India make cromlechs
of large, flat unhewn stones, some six to seven feet high, and the
Angami-Nagas of the extreme north of British India set up extensive
alignments of menhirs, similar to those of France. Inscriptions in
the old Irish cipher writing, known as ogham, prove that megalithic
monuments were erected in Ireland after the time of St. Patrick; and,
as we have already remarked, some of the Breton menhirs are surrounded
by crosses. In India, too, we find the symbol of the Christian faith,
and in 1867, were discovered on the shores of the Godavery between
Hyderabad and Nagpore, a few dolmens made of four upright stones
surmounted by one or two slabs of sandstone, and encircling a cross
which is said to date from the same age as the dolmens themselves. We
must add, however, that the most competent archaeologists are of
opinion that this form of the cross was not introduced into India
until about the sixth or seventh century of our era. Probably the
erection of megalithic monuments was not discontinued in England or in
France until towards the eighth or ninth century after Christ; and the
menhirs set up later in Scotland and in Scandinavia prove how fondly
the people of those countries clung to ancient traditions. These
rude stone monuments were handed down from one race to another,
from invaders to invaded, from conquered to conquerors.

We must not, however, omit to mention one serious objection. Roman
historians, exact as is their description of Gaul, Britannia,
and Germania, are silent as to stone monuments. Tacitus does not
refer to Stonehenge or to Avebury. Caesar was present at the naval
battle between his own fleet and that of the Veneti, in the Gulf of
Morbihan, and if the megalithic monuments of Carnac were then there,
would they not have arrested the attention of the great captain? This
silence is the more inexplicable as one of the earliest geographers
mentions the stone of Iapygia; Ptolemy speaks of a similar stone on
the shores of the ocean; Strabo, of a group of dolmens near Cape
Cuneus; Quintus Curtius, of an important alignment in Bactriana;
Pliny, who mentions a leaning pillar in Asia Minor, says nothing of the
megalithic monuments of Gaul, which he crossed several times. Moreover,
Ausonius, Sidonius, Appollinaris, and Fortunatus, who are so eager
to glorify their own land, maintain a similar silence with regard
to these structures. Sulpicius, Severus, and Gregory of Tours,
old chroniclers of French history, also pass them over without a
word. More than that, Madame de Sevigne, who was stopping at Auray
in 1689, and visited its environs, writes to her daughter of all she
has seen and done, without alluding to the alignments of Carnac, or
of Erdeven, which were, of course, much more complete in her day than
in ours. In fact, they are mentioned for the first time by Sauvagere,
in his "Recueil des Antiquites de la Gaule," in which he attributes
them to the Romans. We may therefore, perhaps, conclude that these
decayed and clumsy-looking monuments were despised for generations,
no one realizing their importance or caring to penetrate their secrets.

If need were, we have yet other proofs of their extreme antiquity. In
excavating an alignment in the district occupied by the Kermario group,
a Roman encampment was discovered. The enceinte is represented by
a long wall about six feet thick, and propped up against this wall
were found a number of flat stones blackened with smoke, on which
the legionaries doubtless cooked their food. In some instances these
hearths were made on an overturned menhir, and other menhirs, which
had belonged to the alignment, were fitted into the walls. A Roman
road passes near Avebury, and, contrary to their general custom, the
haughty conquerors had turned aside to avoid the tumulus. These are
decisive proofs that in France and England at least the megalithic
monuments were erected before the advent of the Romans.

Difficult as it is to come to any definite conclusion as to the age of
the monuments, it is yet more difficult to ascertain to what race their
builders belonged. In the first place we ask: Are they all the work of
one race? The contrary, earnestly maintained by M. de Mortillet, has
long been the general opinion. M. Worsaae declared, at the Brussels
Congress,[164] that the dolmens were erected by different peoples;
M. Cazalis de Fondouce,[165] M. Broca,[166] and M. Cartailhac,[167]
share this belief. "Are not the monuments of huge stones," says
M. Fondouce, "the product of a progressive civilization growing by
degrees, rather than the work of a single people maintaining their
own manners and customs in the midst of the old primitive populations
they visited, without borrowing anything from their hosts?" To Broca,
the resemblance between the dolmens of Europe, Africa, and even of
America proves but one thing

the similarity of the aspirations and powers of all men. Everywhere,
and at every time, men have aimed, in their monuments, not only
at durability, but at the expression of force and of power. It was
with this end in view that they erected menhirs and selected enormous
stones for their megalithic monuments. The dolmen, which looks like an
architectural building, is but a modification of primitive tombs. The
cave-man first turned to account natural or artificial rock shelters,
and when they were not to be had, he imitated them in such materials as
he had at his disposal. Hence we have crypts, kistvaens, and dolmens;
and the resemblance between them proves nothing as to the parentage
of their builders.

We may add that the distances between what we may call megalithic zones
is considerable. We meet, for instance, with dolmens in Circassia and
in the Crimea, but there are no others nearer than the Baltic. There
are none in the districts peopled by the Belgae, from the Drenthe
to the borders of Normandy, nor are there any in the valleys of the
Rhine or of the Scheldt. There are but a few in Italy or in Greece,
where Pelasgic buildings were early erected, and bore witness to
a more advanced civilization. We meet with them again, however,
in Palestine, but we must traverse many miles before we find other
examples at Peshawur and in the valley of Cabul. It is difficult to
overrate the importance of these facts, or to explain these gaps. Are
they, however, so complete as has been supposed? The few travellers who
have crossed Afghanistan and Daghestan have seen tumuli which may have
served as points of union between the monuments of India and those of
the Caucasus. The megalithic monuments of Palestine and of Arabia may
yet be found to be linked with those of Algeria, by examples in the
little known regions between the Nile and the Regency of Tripoli. If
our ignorance forbids us to assert anything on this point, it equally
forbids our denying anything with any confidence. We may also add
one general remark: the countries where megalithic monuments are
found, abound in granite, in sandstone, and in flint, whilst other
districts have only very friable limestones; and, their monuments,
if they were ever erected, would have been more easily destroyed,
the very ruins disappearing and leaving no trace.

It has been said, moreover, that the mode of construction of the
dolmens, and we hate ourselves made the same remark, is far from being
the same everywhere. The dolmens of Brittany have sepulchral chambers
with long passages leading to them; those of the neighborhood of
Paris have wide covered avenues with a very short entrance lobby. In
the south of France we see nothing but rectangular compartments
formed of four or five colossal stones. All this is true enough;
but if we examine our old cathedrals of comparatively modern date,
the common origin of which is never disputed, we note differences
no less remarkable. On the other hand it is urged that if megalithic
monuments were all erected by one race, the objects they contain would
certainly resemble each other to a great extent. But even this is not
the case. The hatchets so numerous in the west of France are rare in
the south; those from the Algerian monuments are always of coarse
workmanship, whilst those of Denmark are highly finished. We might
multiply instances, but as a matter of fact do we not see the same
kind of thing in the present day, in spite of our railways and other
modes of rapid communication, and the perpetual intermarrying of modern
peoples? Compare the ornaments of Normandy with those of the Basque
provinces, those of Brittany with those of Burgundy, and surely the
differences between them will be found to be as great as we note in
the weapons and ornaments of the builders of the megalithic monuments.

To sum up: according to the opinion of many eminent savants, numerous
races have been in the habit of raising megalithic monuments, the
form of which varies AD INFINITUM according to the genius or the
circumstances of each race, and according to the nature of the soil or
of the material at the disposal of the builders. All, however, belong
to one general type, and bear witness to one general influence, which
extended throughout the whole world at a certain epoch. M. Cazalis de
Fondouce, from whom I borrow these last observations, would probably
find it as difficult to say how a general influence was extended to
races of which he denies the common parentage, and the relations and
contemporaneity he can but guess at, as I myself should -- granting
the contrary hypothesis -- to explain how a people could wander about
the world in incessant migrations without modifying its own habits or
communicating to others its rites and its mode of erecting monuments.

We cannot, however, fail to recognize the evidence of facts. We can
understand how men were everywhere impelled to raise mounds above
the bodies of their ancestors, to perpetuate their memory or to
enclose their mortal remains between flat stones to save them from
being crushed by the weight of earth above them. We may even, by
straining a point, admit the idea that a large cist developed into a
dolmen, but when in districts separated by enormous distances we see
monuments with the wall pierced with a circular opening or combining
an interior crypt with an external mound and dolmen, it is impossible
to look upon these close resemblances as the result of an accidental
coincidence, and equally impossible to fail to conclude that the men
whose funeral rites were remarkable for such close similarity belonged
to the same race.

What then was this race? Are these monuments witnesses of the great
Aryan immigration which was for so long supposed to have spread
from India over the continents of Asia and Europe, and of which
the Indo-European languages were said to preserve the memory? Or is
it really the fact that a relationship of language does not imply
a relationship of race? Were the builders of the dolmens Celts or
Gauls, Ligures or Cymri? was Henry Martin right in ascribing to
the Cimerii of Scandinavia the erection in the Bronze age of the
megaliths of Ireland? Was it the Turanians, with their worship of
ancestor's, their respect for the tombs of their forefather's, and
their desire to perpetuate their memory to eternity, who set up the
dolmens of Brittany? Was it not perhaps rather the Iberians, whose
descendants still people Spain and the north of Africa? According
to Maury, the distribution of the megalithic monuments of Europe
marks the last refuge of vanquished Neolithic races, fleeing before
their conquerors. All these hypotheses are plausible, all can be
defended by arguments, the weight of which it is impossible to deny,
but none are capable of conclusive proof, none can finally convince
the student.[168]

An old Welsh poet, referring to the long barrows of his native land,
says that they are altogether inexplicable, and that it is impossible
to decide who set them up or who is buried beneath them. And surely
this ancient bard[169] is right even now. Vainly do we question these
silent witnesses of the remote past. They give us no answer, and we
can but repeat here what we said at the beginning of this inquiry:
Human science is powerless to lift the veil biding the early history
of humanity. Will it ever be so? Or will the day yet dawn when the
veil will be rent asunder at last? Time alone can solve this question,
which is one of those secrets of the future as difficult to fathom
as those of the past.


Industry, Commerce, and Social Organization; Fights, Wounds and

When we consider the discoveries connected with the Stone age as a
whole, we are struck with the immense numbers of weapons of every
kind and of every variety of form found in different regions of the
globe. The Roman domination extended over a great part of the Old
World, and it lasted for many centuries. Everywhere this people,
illustrious amongst the nations, has left tokens of its power and of
its industry. Roman weapons, jewelry, and coins occupy considerable
spaces in our museums; but numerous as are these relics of the Romans,
they are far inferior in number to the objects dating from prehistoric
times, and flints worked by the hand of man have been picked up by
thousands in the last few years, forming incontestable witnesses of
the rapid growth of a large population.

One important point remains obscure. Schmerling has excavated fifty
caves in Belgium, and only found human relics in two or three of them;
and of six hundred explored by Lund in Brazil, only six contained human
bones. Similar results were obtained in the excavations of the mounds
of North America, as well as in the caves of France. M. Hamy, in a
book published a few years ago, only mentions twelve finds of human
bones, which could, without any doubt, be dated from Palaeolithic
times. True, this number has been added to by recent discoveries,
but it is still quite insignificant. It is the same thing with the
kitchen-middings and the Lake settlements. This paucity of actual
human remains forms a gap in the evidence relating to prehistoric man,
which disturbances and displacements do not sufficiently account for,
and to which we shall refer again when speaking of prehistoric tombs.

Worked flints are generally found in numbers in one place, probably
formerly a station or centre of human habitation. Men were beginning to
form themselves into societies, and the dwellings, first of the family
and then of the tribe, rapidly gathered together near some river rich
in fish, or some forest stocked with game affording plenty of food
easily obtained. The caves also afford proofs of the number of men
who inhabited them. In one alone, near Cracow, Ossowski discovered
876 bone implements, more than 3,000 flint objects, and thousands
of fragments of pottery. From the Veyrier cave, near Mount Saleve,
were taken nearly 1,000 stone implements; from those of Petit Morin,
2,000 arrow-heads; from that of Cottes, on the banks of the Gartampe,
more than 264 pounds' weight of flints, some of the Mousterien and
others of the Madeleine type, mixed with the bones of the rhinoceros,
and of several large beasts of prey of indeterminate. species. The
Abbe Ducrost picked up 4,000 flints in one dwelling alone at Solutre,
where the soil is calcareous and flint is not native, so that it must
have been brought from a distance. More than 8,000 different objects
were taken from the fine Neolithic station of Ors in the isle of
Oleron; 12,000 chips of stone, bearing marks of human workmanship,
were picked up in the Thayngen Cave, and more than 80,000 in the
different caves of Belgium. The shelter of Chaleux alone yielded 30,000
pieces of stone, at every stage of workmanship, from the waste of the
manufactory to the highly finished implement. Other explorers have
been no less fortunate. The Marquis of Wavrin found in the environs
of Grez no less than 60,000 worked stones belonging to no less than
thirty different types, chiefly arrow-heads, some triangular, others
almond-shaped, others again cutting transversely, some with and some
without feathers, some stalked, others not; in a word, arrows of every
known type. Nothing but an actual visit to the Royal Museum of Brussels
can give any idea of the importance of the discoveries made in Belgium.

The environs of Paris are, however, no less rich. As early as
Palaeolithic times the valleys of the Seine and its tributaries were
evidently inhabited by a numerous population. M. Riviere mentions a
station near Clamart, where, in a limited space, he picked up more
than 900 flints, some worked, others mere chips, many of which bad
been subjected to heat. A sand-pit of Levallois-Perret yielded 4,000
stone objects, and on the plateau of Champigny, full of such terrible
memories for the people of France, were found nearly 1,200 flints,
knives, polished hatchets, lance heads and scrapers, mixed with
numerous fragments of hand-made pottery without ornamentation.

Are yet other examples needed? At. de Mortillet estimates at more than
25,000 the number of specimens found on the plateau of Saint Acheul,
the scene of the earliest discoveries that revealed the existence of
man in Quaternary times; and the station of Concise, on Lake Neuchatel,
which is one of the most ancient in Switzerland, yielded a yet more
considerable number. Many have, however, been lost or destroyed; the
ballast of the railway skirting the lake contains thousands of worked
stones and of pieces of the waste left in making them, all of which
were taken from the bed of the lake. It must not be forgotten that
it is only of late years that the importance of these relics of the
past has been recognized and that any one has dreamt of preserving
or of studying them.

The excavation of a gravel pit at Dundrum (County Down, Ireland)
yielded 1,100 flint implements, and M. Belluci himself picked up
in the province of Perouse more than 17,000 pieces, chiefly spear-,
lance-, or arrow-heads, belonging to six different types. The Broholm
Museum contains 72,409 weapons and implements, all found in Denmark.

We can quote similar facts in other countries. Prehistoric stations are
numerous in the Sahara and throughout the Wady el Mya, in Algeria,
and we have already spoken of the numerous specimens found near
Wargla. The workshops in this district are generally surrounded by
immense numbers of ostrich eggs, which seem to indicate that that
bird was already domesticated.[170]

In America, Dr. Abbott has sent to the Peabody Museum more than
20,000 stones, which were collected by him at Trenton, on the banks
of the Delaware, and quite recently I was told that in sinking a
well in Illinois the workmen came upon a deposit of more than 1,000
worked flints, all of oval form. Every one knows the importance of
the recent discoveries at Washington, and we might multiply examples
AD INFINITUM, for everywhere explorers come upon undoubted traces of
the active work and intelligence of comparatively dense populations,
all of whom had attained to about the same degree of development.

These numerous deposits often mark the, site of regular workshops,
tokens of the earliest attempt at social organization. In no other
way can we explain the piles of flints in every stage of workmanship
lying beside the lumps from which they were detached. One of the most
celebrated of these workshops is that of Grand-Pressigny, chief town
of the canton of the department of Indre-et-Loire, which is admirably
situated between two picturesque rivers, the Claise and the Creuse.

The flint implements of Grand-Pressigny, of which specimens can be
seen in all the museums of Europe, are some sixteen inches long, of
light color, pointed at one end and square at the other. One face is
rough, the other chipped into three oblong pieces, whilst the sides
are roughly hewn into saw-like teeth. If we examine these flints
closely we can easily make out the exact point, the EYE, as workmen
call it, where the stone was struck. At Charbonniere, on the banks of
the Saone, to quote other examples, in a radius of less than a mile,
were found weapons, tools, and nuclei, which may be compared with
those of Grand-Pressigny. In some places the collections of flints
still remaining look as if they had been used for road-making. In
some cases hatchets, knives, and scrapers seem to have been buried
in pits. Were these the reserve stores of the tribe, or the so-called
CACHES of the merchants?

It is difficult merely to name the different workshops or manufactories
discovered in the last few years. We must, however, endeavor to
mention the most important, for these workshops, we must repeat,
are an important proof of the existence of a society of organized
working communities. We meet with them on the shores of the bay
of Kiel, in the island of Anholt, in the midst of the Kattegat,
and on the borders of the Petchoura, and of the Soula, among
the Samoieds. Virchow discovered an arrow-head manufactory on the
shores of Lake Burtneek, and in 1884 the Moscow Society of Natural
Sciences made known the existence of important workshops near the
Vetluga River, in the province of Kostroma, so that we know that in
remote prehistoric times men lived and fought in a rigorous climate
in districts but sparsely populated in our own day.

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