Page:A short history of social life in England.djvu/33

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13
THE SPEECHLESS PAST

cessors. They made a rough sort of badly burnt pottery, decorating it skilfully with various patterns, composed for the most part of dots and straight lines arranged in geometrical crosses, network, or zigzag. Their skill in carpentering, too, is somewhat surprising, and their wheels, ladders, doors, buckets, and bowls are ornamented with cut patterns of great exactitude.

Their preparations for inter-tribal warfare were still distinctly barbaric; the hilts of their huge, pointless swords were adorned with the teeth of animals; on the axles of their chariot wheels were attached scythes to mow down their enemies.

They faced death fearlessly, and, with the characteristics of their descendants, never knew when they were beaten. Perhaps this courage in the presence of danger was due to the fact that to these warriors of old death was merely the passing of the spirit that had prompted life into another body. And the deification of ancestors arose in addition to the deification of Nature. Honour to the dead was intensified, and to this period possibly belong the mysterious and hardly yet explained monuments of Stonehenge and Avebury. Whether these colossal memorials were temples for tombs of great men, surrounded as they are by three hundred bar-