Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/371

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355
ARTS IN THE STONE AGE.

with symbols of their divinities—it may be their Mars and Ceres—under the form of weapons of w r ar, or instruments of agriculture. Nor is this so unlikely as it might otherwise appear, when we know that these celts are still objects of worship in India. Mr. Evans, quoting from the Proceedings of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, says that they are there venerated as sacred, and it is known that, in a certain village in the Shewaroy hills, some hundreds of polished celts, of varying sizes, resembling those found in England and Scotland, are preserved in a temple, arranged in rows. They are guarded with the utmost jealousy by the priests, each representing some particular swamy or deity, and each receiving from time to time a dab of red or white paint, as a proof that the priest has performed before it the customary poojah or worship.

This being so, the discovery of these implements in Europe may have some bearing upon an important ethnological question. We have good reason to believe that the dolmen-builders came, in the first instance, from India, for we find in Wilts and Berks, and elsewhere, exact counterparts of some megalithic structures, and those of a peculiar construction, which yet remain in the same Shewaroy district in which the celt-worship is still practised. May we not, then, regard it as possible that the fabrication of polished instruments, as well as the practice of dolmen-building, originated in India, where they are still retained, and that these costly polished celts were brought hither by our Aryan ancestors, as the Israelites carried their Teraphim about with them, or as the Trojans, after the fall of their city, are represented in Virgil as carrying with them their household gods:

"Ilium in Italiam portans, victosque penates;"

and that the worship was only abandoned here as men became enlightened, or were subjected to the dominion of some race of a different theology? Since we find abundant traces of the Aryan language in our own, and of their sepulchral architecture in our dolmens, why should we not find in our fields and fens some of their idols? It is quite consistent with, and in a certain sense confirmatory of, such a belief, that, in almost every country in which these things are found, they are regarded by the common people with superstitious reverence, as if the practice of adoration had in the lapse of ages merged in a vague and faint tradition of sanctity.

Nor is it any objection to this hypothesis, but the reverse, that these implements are usually found in and about dolmens, as at Tumiac and Mont St. Michel, where nearly seventy highly-polished celts of imported materials—Asiatic jade and hard tremolite—were found ranged in regular order. It has been usual with almost all people, in all ages, that those things which they most esteemed in life should rest with them in their graves; and as we often find in our own country the priest's paten and chalice placed in his coffin, or the Anglo--