Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/725

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705
THE CAVE-DWELLERS OF FRANCE.

In burying their dead, the contemporaries of our Troglodytes in other localities practiced certain funeral rites; and consoled themselves for their loss by partaking of a feast on a little platform in front of the sepulchral cave—a kind of solace not yet quite out of vogue. Only one place of burial has as yet been discovered in the neighborhood of the Vézère, namely, at Cromagnon. This is a mere nook beneath an overhanging rock; and flints and shell ornaments are found buried with the bodies. We find here no remnants of any stone enclosure.

Society among the Troglodytes had its hierarchical organization, with dignitaries of various grades. The three caves at Les Eyzies, Laugerie-Basse and La Madelaine contain the proofs of this assertion, in the shape of large pieces of reindeer horn, artistically fashioned, and commonly known as bâtons de commandement, commanders' truncheons. Several of these instruments have been found; they are all of one common type, their surface being highly ornamented with figures of animals, or of hunting-scenes, and are pierced with large

Fig. 6.
PSM V02 D725 Cave drawings.jpg
Group of Reindeer.

round holes, from one to four in number. The purpose of these remarkable objects is matter of much dispute. It is true they much resemble the pogamagan, or tomahawk of the Mackenzie River Esquimaux, but the pogamagan is both longer, thicker, and far more solid, than the bâtons de commandement. The latter are too frail to be used for any mechanical purpose, and therefore they were most probably only insignia of rank, like the king's or the chiefs sceptre, or the marshal's báton. But there are so many of them, that we cannot regard them as regal insignia, and hence they may have been marks of hierarchical dignity, the holes denoting the rank, like the bars or stars on a mili-