Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/625

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DOLMENS IN JAPAN.

western coast of Wales, eastern coast of Scotland, southern portion of Sweden, and in Denmark and Northern Germany; also on the coast of Spain, Portugal, Northern Africa and the western portion of India, Mr. Fergusson, at the date of the publication of his book, asserts that the typical dolmen had not yet been found in America.

The occurrence in different parts of the world of a mound of earth containing a stone vault or chamber can not be looked upon as evidence of a community of origin, because such a structure seems to be a most natural form for the purposes of burial. The same structures

PSM V16 D625 Plan of dolmen chamber.jpg
Fig. 2.—Plan of Chamber. The dotted lines show the roofing-stones.

are built to-day in many countries. It is only when it possesses some peculiar feature, like a perforation in one of its wall-stones, or a certain direction in which the passageway opens, that it suggests the idea that a common origin may be ascribed to those possessing these peculiarities.

In traveling across the southern part of Yeso last year, and also in a journey overland from the northern part of Japan to Tokio, I scanned the country carefully for mounds or monuments of any description. At the entrances of towns, one often sees two large mounds between which the road runs. Each mound is often surmounted by a large tree. Though these mounds are old, they are not prehistoric. With the exception of these, I saw nothing that would suggest a monument coming under the names of dolmen, menhir, etc.

There are many burial-mounds in Japan, such, for example, as the large one in Yamato, the grave of Jimmu Tenno, and others which are known to belong to historic periods. It is not improbable that the dolmens to be described belong to the same category.

It is difficult for one who has not traveled in Japan to realize the almost universal state of cultivation the country is under. Having a population of 33,000,000, largely given to agriculture, with an area not exceding 80,000 square miles, one may imagine how few tracts of uncultivated land are found. One is amazed at the sight of ranges of hills and mountains extending for miles, and all terraced to their