Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/20

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12
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
ARCHÆOLOGY IN DENMARK.

By Prof. FREDERICK STARR.

A MUSEUM of national history is, in a sense, a symptom of patriotism. No wonder, then, that in Denmark, where every child absorbs love of country with his mother's milk and inhales it at every breath, such museums are in high favor. Two great governmental museums at Copenhagen illustrate the history proper of Denmark; one, the Museum of Northern Antiquities, is chiefly devoted to objects back of history.

Prehistoric archæology may almost be said to have taken its rise in the sturdy little northern kingdom. Here it was that Thomsen in 1836 first proposed the terms age of stone, age of bronze, age of iron, now universally used in the science. Thomsen was a man of profound learning, of most simple and beautiful character, and of immense energy. More than any other single man influential in the establishment of the museum, he shaped its early policy, and his name remains closely associated with its history. Director Thomsen believed in the educational value of

PSM V47 D020 C J Thomsen.jpg
Fig. 1. — C. J. Thomsen.

the collections, and was ever ready to answer the question of a child or to explain to the common people the meaning and importance of the objects here displayed. This policy has been continued to the present, and the result is that the Museum of Northern Antiquities is known and loved by all good Danes (Fig. 1).

The greatest name in Danish archæology is that of Worsaae. Of keen intellect, thoroughly scientific in his mode of thought, of remarkable executive ability, he gave final shape to the whole subject. Under his direction the museum grew enormously; most important explorations were conducted; steps were taken for the permanent preservation under governmental patronage of important tumuli, dolmens, and other antiquities and monuments both historic and prehistoric. J. J. A.