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Dressing The Stones
Raising The Foreign Stones
Salisbury Plain
Stonehenge
Stonehenge Summarised Useful Facts For The Attention Of Visitors
Tenons And Mortices
The Barrows Of Salisbury Plain
The Building Of Stonehenge
The Druid Question
The Earthwork
The Foreign Stones
The Hele Stone Or Friar's Heel
The Legend Of The Friar's Heel
The Lithology Of Stonehenge
The Men Of The Barrows
The Process Of Erection
The Round Barrows
The Slaughtering Stone
The Stones Without The Circle
The Story Of The Sarsens
Valedictory
What Was Stonehenge?
When Was Stonehenge Erected?



The Men Of The Barrows








It is only natural that the appearance of the men who lived at this
remote age should attract some attention. Were they tall or short,
dark or fair? What manner of man was it who went armed with the bronze
dagger and wore the ornaments above described? Of the cremated
remains, of course, nothing can be said; but the burials by inhumation
which took place concurrently with those of the Cinerary Urn, furnish
certain data from which it is possible to gather some idea as to the
physical stature of the man of that day. Taking fifty-two measurements
of bodies as a basis, the man of the Long Barrow would stand five feet
six inches, while the man of the Round Barrow would be three inches
taller. But it is in the shape of the head, even more than in the
height, that the people of the Long Barrow differ from those of the
Round. The man of the Long Barrow was long-headed (dolicocephalic)
while those of the Round Barrows were round-headed (brachycephalic).
It must not, however, be imagined that there is any special connection
between a long head and a long barrow, or a round head and a round
barrow. The point of special importance is that the Long-Headed Race
was the earlier, and that it was followed by a Round-Headed Race. Such
a state of things is after all perfectly within the range of facts as
known to-day. The early race, comparatively short, and armed only with
stone weapons, must in the struggle for existence, have given place to
a taller and more powerful people, provided with metal and possessed
of a higher culture. There is no proof that the early race was
exterminated by the bronze-using people. It is far more probable that
a similar condition existed to that which obtains to-day in America,
where the stone-using aborigines are slowly vanishing, and giving
place to an Eastern invasion which has gradually displaced them. And
whence came this powerful dominant race? It may safely be assumed that
it came from the East. In this country the wave of Conquest has always
flowed from east to westwards. Further, the man of the Long Barrow
himself came from the East and displaced the earlier Palæolithic
dweller about the close of the last Glacial Epoch, only in his turn to
give place to the succeeding wave of taller and more alert settlers
who followed him. These again melted away before the Roman, the Saxon,
the Dane, and Norman, who in due course swept westward to these Isles,
and similarly displaced one another. There is a recognised Megalithic
Route, as it is called, marked by huge stone monuments of the nature
of Stonehenge, which, starting in India, can be traced to Persia,
Palestine, Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunis, Spain, Portugal, and
Brittany, finally crossing the Channel to Devon and Cornwall. It must
not be understood that these circles were all of them temples, or that
they all belong to the Bronze Age. Many of them were merely stones set
up round a Long Barrow. Aristotle states that the Iberians were in the
habit of placing as many stones round the tomb of a dead warrior as he
had slain enemies. A similar practice existed among the Australian
aborigines. At all events the practice of erecting circular stone
structures in all parts of the world seems to link together all
primitive peoples of every age into one common chain of ideas, and of
those customs which are the natural outcome of them. The chain itself
lengthens till it touches the higher and more specialised builders, in
whose highly-finished work the early ideal may yet be traced.

The early race which built the vast circle or cromlech of Avebury
finds a very fitting echo in the later race which set up Stonehenge;
just as in Brittany the rude and unhewn menhir of yesterday, set up to
commemorate a fallen chieftain, finds its elaborated and wrought
counterpart in the Nelson column of to-day.

Some light is cast upon the existence of these two peoples, the
long-headed and the round-headed, by Cæsar, who refers to the former
as an aboriginal pastoral people, while the latter are described as
colonists from Belgic Gaul, and agriculturists. This distinction
between the herdsman and the agriculturalist is quite in accordance
with the stages of culture known and recognised by the archæologist. A
pastoral race is ever more primitive and lower in the scale than one
which has solved the problem of husbandry and acquired the very
material advantages of a settled habitation, in contradistinction to
the nomadic existence of the shepherd.

Tacitus also describes these two races, and points out that while the
herdsmen were fair, the tillers of the soil were dark and that their
hair was curly. He was particularly struck, too, by the physical
resemblance between the inhabitants of Iberia and the fair-haired race
of the south and south-east of Britain, while he considered the
dark-haired race was more akin to the people of the opposite coast of
Gaul.

Certainly the Iberian skull inclines to length, while that of Gaul is
broad and short, and these physical peculiarities, much modified
perhaps, prevail even to-day. It would seem, therefore, that the
practice of building stone circles originated with the fair-haired
pastoral race which had passed over from Europe to the West of
England, but that Stonehenge is the work of a later dark-haired people
who arrived from Gaul, with a higher and more organised civilisation,
and that it is due to this that Stonehenge possesses those special
features of wrought stone, and the horseshoe, which are not to be
found in any of the earlier monuments of the shepherd race. Having
erected Stonehenge, and possessed themselves of the land, the
religious associations of the spot very probably impelled them to
sleep their last sleep within easy distance of it. It must not be
supposed that by so doing they regarded Stonehenge as a definite
Sepulchral Monument: rather would it have been somewhat of the same
spirit which even at the present day led to the burial of the heart of
a well-known peer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Subsequently other forms of worship, such, for example, as Druidism,
may have been practised at Stonehenge; but of these it is beyond the
question to speak. These priests, whatever they may have been, were
not the originators or builders of the circle, they merely used it for
their own purposes; and their usages will in no way affect the central
facts of the Stonehenge of Yesterday.





Next: Valedictory

Previous: The Round Barrows



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