Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/27

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7
THE SPEECHLESS PAST

old habit of his predecessors of casting dead bodies to the hyenas. The spirits that dwelt in the trees and rivers dwelt also in man. When the body died, the spirit that had moved it departed elsewhere, possibly into some animal or other body, till in time it reached the dwelling-place of all the spirits.

Hence arose the Neolithic system of burial. When the men, women, and children of the homestead died, they were buried in little walled rooms made of stone, over which were erected mounds, known to-day as "barrows." The skeletons found in these primitive graves are often found in a sitting posture. A woman has been found with her baby in her arms in one of these, while in another a man and woman, presumably husband and wife, sat opposite to one another, their foreheads touching and their hands clasped. Food vessels and drinking-cups were buried with the dead for their use hereafter, and it is probable that slaves and animals were slain, in order that their spirits might accompany that of the dead man on his last mysterious journey. Time passed, and with time came change.

In the general movement westward of the Aryan tribes from Central Asia came the fair-haired Celt,