Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 31.djvu/54

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44
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.


PSM V31 D054 Covered passage of antequera.jpg

Fig. 7. — Covered Passage of Antequera — Section and Plan.

The age of the megaliths still presents an unsolved problem. It is probable that if the most ancient ones date from neolithic times, their construction was continued through many generations as an ancestral tradition; and we find them still being built when copper, and afterward when bronze, took the place of stone. There are also in Alemtejo and in the Algarves important cemeteries, in which the great crypts, covered alleys and tumuli are replaced by stone coffins measuring 2 metres long and half a metre deep. The walls are generally formed of six flags, the bottom and lid of other flags. We reproduce one of these tombs (Fig. 8), which is situated at Cerro del Castello, and probably dates from the bronze age. Another tomb, near Odemira, contains broken bones, and with them arms and utensils of stone, and an arrow-head, and a hatchet of copper, without any admixture of

PSM V31 D054 Tomb plans of algarve and gadiana.jpg
Fig. 8. — Plan of Cerro del Castello, Algarve. Fig. 9. — Plan of the Tombs of the Corte de Gadiana.

tin. Here we are witnesses of the transition between two distinct epochs; and, as in several other countries in Europe, pure copper is the first metal employed.

A new funeral rite responds to these new times. Incineration, imported, doubtless, by foreign conquerors, takes the place of inhumation. Cists of a reduced size (Fig. 9), urns, covered with large stones, receive the ashes, and the few fragments of bone that escape the