A HISTORY OF SURREY evidence in favour of their neolithic origin is derived from these two facts : firstly, the occurrence in and around them of numerous neolithic flint implements, and secondly the necessity, which must have been manifest even in neolithic times, of having some means of protecting animals and other property from plunder or theft. Again, the conversion of a natural hilltop into a kind of fortified platform by the construction of encircling lines of ditches and mounds is perhaps the first method a man or a tribe would adopt in the effort to procure personal safety as well as the safety of valuable possessions. Finally we know that Roman military camps were not placed upon small hilltops, and that some of the square camps which were excavated by the late Lieut.-Gen. Pitt- Rivers were proved to be of the bronze age. The theory that these hilltop entrenchments, following the natural shape of the ground and often enclosing a considerable space of ground, are of neolithic origin is therefore highly probable. Examples of camps in Surrey which may be classed under the head of neolithic strongholds exist, or have existed, at Anstiebury Camp (near Leith Hill), Hascombe Hill (near Bramley), Holmbury Hill, Crooksbury Hill, White Hill (south of Caterham), St. George's Hill, Weybridge, Wimbledon, and Hillyfield, Longdown and Kinchill, three eminences in the parish of Tilford. A large mound near Abinger church has been considered by some to be a prehistoric camp, but opinions are divided as to its origin. Lingfield Mark Camp, which stands near the point where Surrey, Kent and Sussex meet ; an earth- work in Squerries Court grounds at Westerham ; Hoi wood Camp, Keston ; ' Caesar's Camp ' near Aldershot ; and another camp bearing the same name near the northern end of the Chobham Ridges in Berk- shire, may be added to the list, as they are only just over the border ; and from the fact that they occupy high points of ground and are associated with neolithic implements they probably form parts of the great group of camps of the district in neolithic times. From remains which have been discovered it is evident that the people who lived in the neolithic age were acquainted with the art of spinning and possibly weaving. They could construct canoes and sea- worthy boats, and were well acquainted with the art of husbandry. Their dress consisted partly of the natural skins and furs of animals and partly of the fabrics produced by the spindle and distaff. Personal ornaments included beads and pendants of stone, bone, shell, etc. The dead were buried in a contracted posture near the surface of the ground, and a long oval mound or barrow was heaped above the interment. Weapons and other articles were usually buried with the dead body, and this has led to the inference that this primitive people had a belief in a future state of existence after death. Neolithic man was of small stature, generally standing about 5 feet 5 inches high. His skull was long or oval and of fair capacity. The length of the skull, which was one of the most characteristic marks of the race, was produced by a great development of the back of the 238
Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/288
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