Page:VCH Surrey 1.djvu/299

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.


EARLY MAN Two bronze armlets were found in association with a spindle whorl at Reigate. 1 The form of bronze implement most frequently found in Surrey is the socketed celt, an object which was probably put to a great variety of uses. The idea as expressed by many writers seems to be that bronze celts, whether of the flat, flanged, or socketed forms, were employed for warlike uses. This however seems extremely unlikely for several reasons. It is improbable that the use of metal would be confined to implements of war. It seems much more likely that it would, soon after its discovery, be applied to other purposes for which a hard sharp edge was required. Indeed, the discovery of celts in association with chisels and gouges, as for example in the Wickham Park (Croydon) hoard, suggests that they were used as carpenters' tools. The manner in which celts have been worn, re-sharpened and frac- tured is instructive, and points to the same conclusion. The fact that the fracture has occurred near the termination of the wooden handle within the socket leads to the inference that the implement was used in such a way as to produce considerable strain on the side ; and it is, in fact, just such as would be produced by splitting or cleaving wood. The methods employed in casting articles in bronze in this early age were ingenious. In some cases it appears that when a mould of a good pattern was obtained care was taken not to wear it out with too much use, and in order to preserve it as a good pattern a model of it was sometimes cast in lead, which was then made to serve as the pattern of a clay mould, which of course was made in two pieces. Little is definitely known about the ordinary buildings of the bronze age, but it may be inferred, from the existence of metallic tools, that the domestic dwellings probably constructed upon the same lines as those of the neolithic age were more commodious and more ela- borate than any which had existed at an earlier period. In the bronze age, moreover, crannoges, or artificial islands, were constructed as sites for dwellings, and, although damp and unhealthy, the surrounding water furnished some compensating advantages in the way of protection from unwelcome visitors. In various departments of civilization the people who used bronze exhibit a distinct advance upon those who, at an earlier period, had been furnished only with implements of stone. In husbandry this progress is indicated by the use of bronze reaping hooks, by the employment of oxen in ploughing, and by the cultivation of several plants, such as beans and oats, which had not previously been made to minister to the wants of man. The bronze age man seems to have possessed also the knowledge of spinning, weaving and pottery-making. Pottery of this period was often ornamented by a series of impressed lines arranged in zigzag fashion. The costume of bronze age man comprised articles of linen and 1 Arck<eokgical Journal, x. 723. I 245 R 2