Page:Horse shoes and horse shoeing.djvu/363

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EMPLOYMENT OF METALS BY PRIMITIVE PEOPLE.

Julius Cæsar, that the utilization of iron may be placed. Archæologists are tolerably unanimous in fixing what has been designated the 'Stone Period,' at from five to seven thousand years; the 'Age of Bronze ' at from three to four thousand years; and the 'Iron Age' at one thousand years before our era. This last period, though to many its commencement is shrouded in darkness, has been pretty accurately determined by Swiss geologists, who have based their calculations on the annual depositions produced by the torrent of Teniere, near Villeneuve, on the Lake of Geneva, and which cover the most ancient human habitations containing iron that have yet been explored.[1] These calculations have been further supported by the very interesting discovery made at Halstatt, in Austria, where more than nine hundred graves of the people who in old times laboured in the salt-mines there, were found. These contained, besides large clay vases, glass ornaments, cinctures, metal slings, swords, knives, lance-heads, and hatchets in bronze, similar to the objects met with in the pre-Roman, Helvetic, and Bisontine tombs. The same forms were reproduced in iron; so that it may be said this metal was abundant with these people. Taking into account the complete absence of lead and silver among these articles,—metals which were largely employed during the reign of Philip of Macedonia, four hundred years before the Christian era,—M. Fournet estimates that the people who rest in the tombs of Halstatt lived at the commencement of the iron age, very likely between b.c. 1000 and 500. Its duration is marked by well-known historical events, and

  1. Fournet. Le Mineur.