Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/370

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354
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

that the entire surfaces of the faces and the sides exhibit a polish which could only have been obtained by long and apparently profitless labor. And not only so, but many of these are very fragile, being slightly made, and of delicate workmanship, and others are of such small dimensions that, as M. Boucher de Perthes pointed out, they never could have been available for any kind of hard work. Many of these exhibit no signs whatever of fracture or even of scratching, either at the butt or the edge—indications which could not possibly have been wanting, had they ever been used for weapons or tools. Besides which, while many of the districts, in which they are found, contain abundance of rocks suitable for all ordinary purposes, these implements are often made from Asiatic jade, jadeite, tremolite, serpentine, green porphyry, nephrite, and other stones of beautiful colors, and capable of taking a high polish, many of which must have been brought from great distances, and would have been very costly both to import and to work. The museums in Brittany, and particularly that at Vannes, are very rich in jadeite implements of this kind, but they are also found frequently both in England and Scotland.

PSM V02 D370 Armlets.jpg
Fig. 8.—Jet Armlet, from Guernsey. Fig. 9.—Bronze Armlet, from Guernsey.

But, if we conclude, as we must, with the author, that implements, for which such beautiful and intractable materials were selected, could hardly have been in common use, we may indulge in some speculation as to what were the uses they were designed to serve, notwithstanding that, as Mr. Evans says, we have not sufficient ground for arriving at any trustworthy conclusion. M. Boucher de Perthes thought that they were deposited by the survivors in the graves of deceased friends, as useful to them on their resurrection, and he argued from this their belief in a future state. It seems, however, hardly probable that objects, many of which obviously could not be serviceable, should be placed in tombs under the belief that they would be so at some future date. In the absence of any more satisfactory explanation, it may be suggested that these things were intended by our remote predecessors to represent the deities whom they worshipped, and that, by their varied sizes and shapes, they indicated the ranks and orders of their idols. We may believe that men, not having learned the art of representing the human or animal form, were obliged to content themselves