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


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.