Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/49

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MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS.

the unknown. To do this is not to destroy the grounds of religion, though, as science advances, doctrinal and historical systems may have to undergo progressive modifications. It is one thing to be asked to change the form of religion, and quite another to he summoned to part with its substance. The latter demand has never, so far as we are aware, been made in the name of science by any authorized exponent. It is no new thing for religion to go forth in search of new ground. Suppose that we have now frankly to acknowledge that the old conceptions of special creation and providential design are no longer tenable in the light of modern knowledge, shall religion fail from among us? Never, unless we are willing it should fail. If we ourselves are faithful, Religion, though she may have to abide for a time in tabernacles, will still be with us, and all our thoughts and all our investigations will be hallowed by her influence. Evolution is simply the current form of scientific opinion; we adhere to it because it seems to be the truth. Religion is that instinct in man which leads him to recognize and worship that which is highest and best. Far, then, from our submission to the truth cutting us off from religion, it should, and it will, bring religion nearer to us, and enable us some day to place it upon imperishable foundations, and to make it the abiding consecration of all thought and effort.


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MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS IN SPAIN AND PORTUGAL.

By the Marquis de NADAILLAC.

NOTHING in the ancient history of man is of more considerable interest than are those monuments, at once rudely grand and mysteriously simple, which have been designated megalithic. They may be simply raised stones, isolated menhirs, cromlechs arranged in a circle, or artificial caves formed by placing flat flags horizontally on standing supports. Dolmens or covered passages were usually buried under masses of earth or stones, so as to form veritable tumuli; but they always present the common character of being constructed in rough blocks, virgin of all human labor.

Megaliths are important on account of their number[1] and their dispersion. They are to be found, with a likeness running through them all, in places most remote from one another, on different continents. At Carnac and at Kermarin are immense rows of stones, of

  1. A French sub-commission on megalithic monuments was appointed in 1879, for the purpose of assuring the preservation of the more important among these structures. An imperfect count, made under its direction, raised the number of dolmens, menhirs, polissoirs, basin-stones, and rocking-stones, still standing in France, to 6,310. Tumuli, which are very numerous, are not included in this enumeration.