Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/31

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
23
ARCHÆOLOGY IN DENMARK.

it not, that horns two thousand years old, buried for long centuries in peat bogs, should, after this long silence, still be capable of giving out clear, ringing—even sweet—tones?

The conditions in which these lurs are found are most suggestive—always in peat bogs, usually in pairs. This could not be the result of accident. Other objects are found purposely laid away in the same manner: thus ten bronze hemispherical plates were found at one spot; nine fine bronze axes, all of one form, at another. Similar clusters of celts, spears, etc., are not uncommon. On one occasion about one hundred miniature boats of thin beaten

PSM V47 D031 A P Madsen.jpg
Fig. 21.—A. P. Madsen.

gold were placed in a vessel and buried; such occurrences are not completely understood. Dr. Sophus Müller believes that such purposely buried or sunken objects are ex votos (Fig. 20).

The early iron age presents interesting problems and wonderful relics. Still prehistoric time in Denmark, it is historic time in much of Europe. The Danes now disposed of their dead both by inhumation and cremation; with those who were buried relics are found. Near Tistrup, in West Jutland, with Captain A. P. Madsen, of the museum, we were present at some excavations. Captain Madsen has long been engaged in studying the archæology of Denmark. He is an artist of no mean ability, and has sketched and painted many of the old monuments. His Bronzealderen and other works (one of which is now appearing) are important and especially valuable for their illustrations. He is an indefatigable field explorer (Fig. 21). The spot was a level field overgrown with heather in bloom. Only the practiced eye would have detected aught there of archæological interest. The whole area, however, was covered with low, flat, round mounds several metres in diameter and less than half a metre in height. Digging revealed at the center of each, only a little below the surface, a single pottery vase. The forms were simple, but characteristic of the age. In them were mixed earth and ashes (the remains of a cremated corpse). Iron fibulæ, fragments of bronze rings, and the like were found with some of these.