Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/28

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
20
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

forms and neat decorations of his pottery and by his ornaments. Of these last the most interesting certainly are those of amber. This brilliant yellow fossil resin early attracted his attention. At first he strung the rough pieces, just as he found them, on to strings or thongs, or rounded the bits into rude beads; later on amber was worked carefully into various pretty or curious forms. A favorite pendant was a miniature axe (of the same shape as the stone ones in actual use) in amber (Fig. 14). Curious questions are suggested by these. Neolithic man in Europe seems to have had superstitious ideas or even reverence toward the stone axe. It is possible that these miniatures in amber were amulets or charms.

This rich development of the stone age which we have been considering is generally referred to the period from 2000 to 1000 b. c. It is considered as an outgrowth from the ruder conditions

PSM V47 D028 Razor of bronze.jpg

Fig. 16.—Razor of Bronze.

of the kitchen middens. It is but fair to state that a bitter controversy has been carried on over the matter. Some—among them Steenstrup—have argued that this high culture and the savagery of the shell heaps were contemporaneous; that the men of the kjoekkenmoeddinger and of the megalithic monuments were neighbors; that poor, primitive, backward fisher folk lived side by side with rich, advanced, more civilized agriculturists of the interior. We have not space to present the argument; we follow Worsaae.

The bronze age in Scandinavia was a marvelous development. Probably the knowledge of bronze was brought to Denmark from the Orient; perhaps the amber of the northwestern country was bartered to the cultured people of the East. However that may be, bronze reached Denmark. Nor were the skillful chippers and polishers of stone slow in learning how to use the new and precious material. Those who had been the best lapidaries of Europe became the best metallurgists. Nowhere are there so many peculiar, beautiful, and artistic types in bronze as in Denmark and Sweden. Bronze was made into implements and weapons; it