Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/26

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18
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

megalithic monuments, from the great size of the stones used in their construction. Erection of megalithic monuments was by no means peculiar to Denmark, but was practiced throughout western Europe during the later stone age and on into the bronze age.

PSM V47 D026 Flint spear point.jpg

Fig. 13. — Spear Point. Flint.

It is stated that there are upon the islands of Denmark and in eastern Jutland about 47·5 of these monuments to every square myriameter, or one to about two kilometres square. In a single afternoon's drive from Olstyke around by Roskilde Fiord to Roskilde, a distance of but a few miles, we examined fully a dozen of different types. Three of these will illustrate their character, (a) Dolmen: Near a long and narrow strip of water, on a little mound of earth; consisting of five great granite rocks; four stood upright on edge, set firmly in the ground, and inclosed a nearly rectangular space six feet or more in length, more than three feet wide, and some five feet high. Three of these stones are of equal height, and bear a great cap-stone;~ the fourth one is not so high, and serves as a sill or threshold to the chamber. The whole structure is now free and exposed, but it was probably originally covered with a mound of earth, (b) Giant's Chamber: Externally,

PSM V47 D026 Miniature hammer from amber.jpg
Fig. 14. — Miniature Hammer. Amber.

a simple plain mound of earth about fifteen feet high. As it is one of the monuments preserved by the Government, it is supplied with a little door on one side. Passing through this, we found our way through a short passage into a great chamber at right angles to it; the passage enters this chamber at the middle of one of its long sides. Both chamber and passage are walled with great bowlders, and are roofed with slabs of large size. The chamber is about twenty-one feet long, seven feet wide, and over six feet in height, (c) Badly denuded by the weather; a large part of the covering mound is gone; there are no roofing slabs, but the stones are carefully set on edge so as to inclose a space forty feet in length and more than twenty feet in width; there is no sign of a passageway. In the middle of this inclosed space is an admirably made rectangular chamber about four feet deep, six feet in length, and perhaps four feet in width.

It is probable that all these structures were burial places.