Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/28

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18
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

ings of Switzerland, as also in Scandinavia, a knowledge of agriculture, pottery, and the domestication of animals is evinced, likewise

PSM V55 D028 Bone carving from thayngen.png
Bone Carving. Thayngen. (Alter Bertrand, 1891.)

as a native discovery. From other quarters of the continent in the stone age comes similar testimony to a marked advance of man culturally. The justly celebrated carving of a reindeer from Thayngen, almost worthy of a modern craftsman, betrays no mean artistic ability. The man who drew it was far from being a savage, even if he knew no metals, and buried his dead instead of cremating them. The evidence as to early domestication of animals is perhaps the most startling. Carved horses' heads, with halters and rude bridles, have been surely identified by Piette and others.

A system of writing seems also to have been invented in western Europe as far back as the stone age.[1] Letourneau and Bordier have advanced good evidence to this effect, although it is not yet incontestably proved. The Phœnicians were perhaps antedated in their noted invention by the dolmen builders, by the lake dwellers of the earliest times, and, according to Sergi, also by the people of the Villanova pre-Etruscan culture in Italy. In an earlier time still in the Po Valley, as far back as the stone-age Terramare period, pottery was made, and that, too, of a very decent sort. And all this time there is not the slightest evidence of contact with or knowledge of the East. As Reinach says, in no dolmen, no lake station, no excavation of the stone age is there any trace of an Assyrian or Babylonian cylinder, or even an Egyptian amulet. Even the jade and nephrite found in western Europe from Switzerland to Norway, which has so long been regarded as evidence of early commerce with the East, he denies as proof of such contact. The case thus put may perhaps be over-strenuously stated, yet one can not but realize from it that western Europe has too long been libeled in respect of its native aptitude for civilization. This is not constituted of bronze alone, nor is its trade-mark


  1. Reinach, 1803 a, pp. 543-548. G. de Mortillet, 1897, denies the claim.