Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/51

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41
MEGALITHIC MONUMENTS.

These antas frequently served for a considerable number of burials each, and in that case the entrance-gallery seems to have been kept open. At other times, a single corpse was deposited, and the crypt was closed, as the friends thought, forever.

PSM V31 D051 Anta of the wood of freixo.jpg
Fig. 1. — Anta of the Wood of Freixo.

Notwithstanding it has suffered considerable mutilations, the crypt of the great anta of Freixo (Fig. 1) is still standing, although the corner-stone has disappeared and the covered gallery has become dilapidated. The walls of the crypt, which is 4 metres in diameter, are composed of seven stones, 3·80 metres high, while the entrance is only 45 centimetres wide.

Numerous antas have been explored at various times in search of the treasures which popular traditions suppose to be hidden in them; and scattered bricks, pieces of pottery, iridescent glass, and rubbish of the Roman period, testify to the energy of the diggers. The neolithic articles under the dolmens which remain unviolated are similar to those in the megaliths of the neighboring countries. The anta of Portimão has furnished hatchets, stone adzes, steatite heads, and admirably worked arrow-heads; that of Monte-Abrahão[1] hatchets of trap and diorite, stone scrapers, a button of bone and pearls of Caläis, that precious stone described by Pliny and remaining unknown from his time;

PSM V31 D051 Burial place of marcella algarve.jpg
Fig. 2. — Burial-place of Marcella, Algarve — Plan and Profile View.

the anta of Estria, a curious plaque of slate covered with straight or broken lines and resembling an episcopal crozier in shape; and the dolmen of Nora, besides flakes and finely cut arrow-heads, a highly ornamented ivory disk, the use of which it is hard to determine. The burial-place of Marcella (Fig. 2}, a regular cromlech, is one of the richest in funeral paraphernalia. There have been collected from it, together with fine specimens of flint-flakes, retouched on the edges, and of triangular points, three vases covered with ornaments, and forty-three hatchets, nearly all of diorite, and remarkable specimens of work.

  1. Human bones, belonging to more than eighty persons of all ages and both sexes, have been collected from within this dolmen.