Page:A Book of Dartmoor.djvu/87

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remove the remains for the annual scraping, or again for the introduction of a fresh tenant.

2. When carnal interment gave way to incineration, at once the need for large mausoleums ceased, and mourners saved themselves the labour of erecting huge cromlechs, and contented themselves instead with the more modest kistvaen, or stone chest. This is constructed in precisely the same manner as the dolmen, but is much smaller. A beautiful diminutive example, from Peter Tavy Common, has been transported to the Plymouth Municipal Museum. It measures 21 inches long, 13 inches wide, and 14 inches deep. On Dartmoor there are many hundreds of these kistvaens, of various sizes, but most have been rifled by treasure-seekers; indeed, all but such as were covered with earth and so escaped observation have been plundered.

The kistvaens were always buried under cairns, and almost invariably a circle of stones surrounded the cairn, marking its bounds.

The finest kistvaens are—one at Merrivale Bridge, one adjoining a pound near Post Bridge, one on Lake-head Hill, one near Drizzlecombe, one on Hound Tor, and two on the slope of Bellever. One is near the Powder Mills. There are several, also, about the Plym.

3. The stone circle is called by the French a cromlech. The name means curved stone. The circle, of which Stonehenge is the noblest known example in Europe, consists of a number of stones set up at intervals in a ring. The purport is purely conjectural. Undoubtedly interments have been made