Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 55.djvu/43

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33
THE ORIGIN OF EUROPEAN CULTURE.

Indians, as in Tennessee, where they were too remote from mines of native copper to make use of a ready substitute for stone. Our second implement is an axe hammer, made of diorite. To shape, sharpen, bore, and polish a piece of stone like this certainly required a long apprenticeship in the art.

Bronze culture, when it did at last appear in this remote part of Europe, came upon the scene suddenly and in full maturity. Whether this was as early as the eighth to the tenth century, as Montelius avers, is disputed by many. All are nevertheless agreed that evidence is absolutely lacking that the art was of indigenous origin.

PSM V55 D043 Bronze bracelet of 650 bc.png
Bronze Bracelet; 650-500 b. c. (From Montelius, 1895 b.)

From what part of the world this knowledge of bronze ultimately came we leave an open question, as also whether it came with Phoenician traders or direct from Greece, as Worsaae affirms. It was certainly introduced into Sweden, making its way into Norway about the same time directly from the peninsula of Jutland. Its first appearance is in a highly evolved state. Such crude attempts at manufacture as Chantre finds so long prevalent along the Rhone Valley, for example, are entirely absent. Both in form and ornamentation the hand of the master is apparent. This bronze age, like that of stone, lasted a very long time—far longer than anywhere else on the continent. Central Europe passed through three stages of metallic progress while Scandinavia was evolving two. Not until the second or third century of our era—not until the time of the Romans, it would appear—did iron begin to supplant bronze. History repeats itself. The excessive duration of the bronze age, as in the case of stone antecedently, led to the attainment of a remarkable skill. The two accompanying cuts are typical of the best work of this time. In the one case, merely superficial ornament, especially the skillful use of the spiral; in the other, real beauty of form in the bracelet, are clearly apparent. Possessed of such skill in the working of bronze, it is small wonder that the need of a better metal was not felt. Only when fashioned into weapons of war does iron reveal its supremacy over bronze. This, of course, with the campaigns of historical times, brings us to the end of our chronicle.

The prehistoric experience of metal-working in Scandinavia is typical of the other details of its cultural evolution. In its earliest epoch no trace of domestic animals is present. It is rather a remarkable fact that even the reindeer seems to have been