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ment of what appeared to be dolmens, in caves half natural and half artificial. In these were found skulls and other remains of human bones inlaid in the stalagmitic floor. The heads were raised above the rest of the bones, so that the bodies must have been placed in a half bent position. In one part of the cavern were found flint knives and urns of black ware, well designed, and furnished with handles very similar to those found by M. Dupont in the well known Furfooz cavern in Belgium, but in much more perfect condition. Other articles were found, as stone armlets, etc., and what was more curious, a mat woven with reeds.
In other directions were galleries more or less accessible, in one of which appeared to be a succession of these dolmens.
Curious as this account is, and satisfactory as the source from which it comes, yet there is some ambiguity which requires explanation. In the situation in which these dolmens were found, it is evident that they were never protected by any external covering of earth or mound. This difficulty can only be got rid of by supposing that what are called dolmens in this case were merely stone cists, which would probably be sufficient protection in such a situation. It is, at any rate, evident that the graves in this case were nearly the same as when first constructed, and that they had never been subjected to the destructive proceedings of searchers after hidden treasures, or the more dangerous proceedings of improving farmers. To what period these rock-graves are to be assigned is a difficult
question. They are, however, among the earliest monuments of the kind, and if not actual dolmens in the usual acceptation of the word, yet have such points of resemblance in construction, with the exception of the envelope of stone or earth, that it is questionable whether, with that exception, a distinct line can be drawn between these earlier and later chambers.
But there is a well known instance of a much earlier method of interment, which may be thought the earliest
germ of the dolmen development. It is at Furfooz, in Belgium, the particular cave being known as “Le Trou du Fontal,” and assigned by M. Dupont to the reindeer period. (L'Homme pendant les Ages de la Pierre, p. 195, second edition.) The accompanying illustration, here reproduced from that work, slightly enlarged, represents this cave. It is rather a place of shelter or recess than a hole or cavern; 1 (cut 6) represents rolled pebbles ; 2, mud deposited by river action ; 3, upper simit of clay mixed with fragments of rock, which was deposited after the establishing this rude place of sepulture ; D, a slab closing the mouth of the recess; ss, open spaces where the funeral feasts were celebrated; F, the hearth ; R, rocks forming the walls of cavern. The various débris found showed relics of man between the river mud and the clay above. The bones found in the recess were those of sixteen individuals, as shown by the lower jawbones, entire and broken. Of these five in particular were infants and three adults. The bones were those of every part of the human body, mixed up in confusion with the stones and the yellow clay of the recess. The remains were therefore clearly reduced to skeletons prior to this deposition, otherwise these membra disjecta would not have been thrown into such confusion. None of the bones, excepting those of a fore-arm, have preserved their natural connections. Half of a human jaw, found in one part of the recess, was white, the other half, lying at some distance off, was of a yellowish brown, and that they were parts of the same jaw was shown by their exactly fitting together. These, therefore, must have been lying separately from a very early period. In the same manner fragments of a skull found scattered, but accurately fitting in their places, were variously coloured, thus showing that they must have been lying in different parts of the cave. At the entrance of this recess, but just within it, was a group of about twenty worked flints, ornaments of fluorine spar, one of which had been pierced, as were also several shells found with them. Of two small
flat pieces of stone found, one had traces of lines scratched on its face, the other had an outline of some animal, and, lastly, what was of still greater interest, were found sufficient fragments of an urn to enable a satisfactory restoration of the original-a cut of which is given, p. 198 of Dupont's work.
Immediately outside the entrance, and buried deep in the clay, was discovered the large slab of dolomite (D) which exactly fitted the opening, and which, beyond doubt, had been used for closing up the recess.
The dimensions of this recess are about a yard high and two deep, and could not have contained sixteen bodies of children and adults unless they had been placed on one another, and even in this position they could not have been deposited at the same time. The primitive custom of placing bodies sitting, with the chins resting on the knees, was either not in existence or not observed, owing to the small accommodation furnished.
Further on, outside, were found, under the deposit of yellow clay, a quantity of chipped flints, carved bones, and pierced shells, amid a profusion of animal remains of all sizes, birds and beasts, from the field-mouse to the urus, including frogs and fresh water fishes, in all about fifty varieties. Among them were remains of two reindeer, one urus, three horses, two bears, five moles, and one beaver. There were also land-shells, one of which is still found in Belgian rivers. Some of the bones bore marks of having been gnawed by rodents, but none by carnivora.
Here then we have a collection of facts which throw important light on the burial customs of the earliest inhabitants of this part of Europe.
At the entrance of, but within the recess, we find an urn, worked flints, and ornaments, as offerings to the dead, or as objects once their property, and which they were to use in another state of existence. Such a custom we know existed among polished nations even before the discoveries lately made at Mycenæ, and