Page:A Book of Dartmoor.djvu/57

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


CHAPTER III.


THE ANCIENT INHABITANTS

Abundance of remains of primeval inhabitants — No trace of Briton or Saxon on Dartmoor — None of Palaeolithic man — The Neolithic man who occupied it — A pastoral people — His presence in Ireland, in China, in Algeria — A pastoral people — The pottery — The arrival of the Celt in Britain in two waves — The Gael — The Briton — Introduction of iron — Mode of life of the original occupants of the moor — The huts — Pounds — Cooking — Tracklines — Enormous numbers who lived on Dartmoor — A peaceable people.


PROBABLY no other tract of land of the same extent in England contains such numerous and well-preserved remains of prehistoric antiquity as Dartmoor.

The curious feature about them is that they all belong to one period, that of the Early Bronze, when flint was used abundantly, but metal was known, and bronze was costly and valued as gold is now.

Not a trace has been found so far of the peoples who intervened between these primitive occupants and the mediæval tin-miners.

If iron was introduced a couple of centuries before the Christian era, how is it that the British inhabitant who used iron and had it in abundance have left no mark of their occupancy of Dartmoor? It can be accounted for only on the supposition that they did not value it. The woods had been thinned

29