Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/632

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626
POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

SOME OF THE LOCALITIES IN FRANCE AND ENGLAND WHERE MONUMENTS OF THE LATE STONE AND BRONZE AGES HAVE BEEN FOUND.
By J. HOWARD WILSON,

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY.

AS we pass from the earlier periods into the neolithic, the culture and modes of life of our ancestors become more varied and complex; the weapons, implements and ornaments are found in greater number and in almost universal geographical distribution and exhibit an ever increasing diversity of form and perfection of workmanship. All these characters are still more pronounced at the beginning of the bronze age, which is comparatively close to the first confines of the historic period. In the later prehistoric times, the developing culture and, in a measure, civilization, made such progress and became so diversified as to require their division and classification into different groups, each of which demands special study.

In the present brief paper, I have confined myself to a short account of the stone monuments of the late stone and bronze ages, which are found in many parts of the world, and furthermore have restricted it to some of the most famous groups in northern France and southern England.

There would seem to be no well-defined law in regard to the general distribution of the prehistoric stone monuments. They are found all over Europe and Asia, as well as in other parts of the world; at high altitudes above the sea in interior mountain districts, as well as in low lying lands so close to the sea as to be drenched with spray in storms. But the greatest known groups are found, curiously enough, within or near the region which has furnished the most numerous evidences of paleolithic man. This fact may be a mere coincidence and not possessed of any especial significance.

At Carnac, in Brittany, and in the neighboring region is the greatest group in the world of these stone monuments. In one field at Carnac, in eight or more parallel rows, are over 1,100 standing stones or menhirs, while two other groups near-by furnish similar numbers, besides a great number of dolmens with stone-circles and tumuli. On Wiltshire Downs there are said to be over 1,000 tumuli, which, although at first sight seem to be mere mounds of earth, are really megalithic monuments in their more complete form. On Salisbury