Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 14, 1903.djvu/25

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13
Presidential Address.

worked into elegant forms. We find also the practice of trepanning the skull in operation on the living and on the dead. What is implied in these? Surely, that man's imagination has been active. He has worked out the idea that his existence continues after death, and that things useful to him in this life will be wanted by him, and will prove equally useful to him, in that other condition of continued existence. Again, if Broca is correct in his view of the purposes of trepanning—that, as used upon the living, it was for the relief of the patient from epilepsy, and as used upon the dead, it provided amulets and charms against various diseases—we have at the foundation of this, the idea that disease of the brain is the work of a foreign and invisible spirit, who has to be let out of his hiding place; and that diseases generally are the work of spirits, who are to be diverted from their purpose by means of amulets or charms. These conclusions can only have been arrived at by neolithic man through the unrestrained exercise of his faculty of imagination. One cannot but marvel at the liveliness and activity of mind displayed at so early a stage.

4. Passing on to the next period, the Bronze Age, into which, as Professor Montelius has shown, the Neolithic Age almost imperceptibly glides, we find, in connection with interments, drinking vessels, objects of personal adornment, bronze plates that may have served as armour. Evidence of this is given in detail in General Pitt-Rivers' work on his excavations of burial-places at Rushmore and in Cranborne Chase. The drinking vessel indicates a further effort of the imagination. The deceased required food in his altered condition. Some objects in these interments are burnt, as if to prepare them for his use. There are even traces of the custom of immolating wives, children, or slaves to be companions of the deceased in his other state. Whatever we may think of the morality of such a practice, we must at least admit that it could not have