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The animal remains from Wauwyl have been examined by Professor Rutimeyer, of Basle, and include nearly thirty species, all belonging to existing species, excepting the Bos primigenius; and even this is perhaps represented by some of the races of our domestic oxen.
The commonest species are the red deer, the domestic ox, and the marsh boar, a variety which is supposed by Professor Rutimeyer to be distinct from the common wild boar of Europe, and which he considers to have been wild at Wauwyl, though it seems to have been domesticated by the inhabitants of the later Pile-buildings. Human bones are very rare. Indeed, in the very last memoir which has appeared on the subject, M. Desor states that no single human skeleton has yet been obtained from any one of the numerous Pfahlbauten of the Stone age.
The examination of the tumuli does not seem as yet to have thrown much light upon this part of the question. So far indeed as Denmark is concerned, the case is very different ; many skeletons have there been found in the great chambered tumuli, belonging to the Stone age. The skulls are small and round, altogether resembling those of the Lapps, and very different from those now most common in Europe, as well as from those which are found in interments of the Iron age.
Whether the same was the case in Switzerland and Europe generally, still remains to be proved ; many archæologists incline more or less strongly to the opinion, that at the Stone age our continent was inhabited by a race of men akin to the modern Laplanders, who have in the south been replaced by a superior and more civilized race. Dr. Keller, however, appears to consider that the Pfahlbauten show a gradual improvement, and not any such sudden changes.
There are also in the Lake-habitations of the Stone age some traces of commerce, or at least of barter. The flint, of which the flakes and arrowheads were formed, must have come from a distance, and the best pieces in all probability were imported from France. Perhaps, however, this was not the result of any commerce, properly so called, but visits may have been made to the French quarries, just as Catlin tells us that the American tribes, from far and near, visited the red pipestone quarry of Côteau des Prairies.
Some pieces of Mediterranean coral have been found at Concise, and of Baltic amber at Meilen. But as both these settlements appear to have belonged to the transitional period, between the stone and the bronze, we must not lay too much stress on them.
But the most important fact of this nature is the presence of axes made from nephrite. This rock is not known to occur in the Alps, or indeed in Switzerland, and the Swiss naturalists infer that it must have been introduced from the East. Even if, however, this should eventually turn out to be correct, it would not be a conclusive proof of commerce properly so called, as the nephrite might have passed from hand to hand and from tribe to tribe by a sort of barter. Other facts of a similar tendency are on record. Thus Messrs. Squier and Davis tell us (p. 306) that in the tumuli of the Mississippi valley we find“ side by side, in the same mounds, native copper from Lake Superior, mica
from the Alleghanies, shells from the Gulf, and obsidian (perhaps porphyry) from Mexico.” Good representations of the seacow, or manatee, are found a thousand miles from the shores inhabited by that animal, and shells of the large tropical Pyrula Perversa are found in the tumuli, round the great lakes, two thousand miles from home.
The Pfahlbauten at the Pont de Thiele, between the Lakes of Bienne and Neufchatel, those at Lake Moosseedorf and at Lake Pfeffikon, in fact most of those situated on small lakes or lagoons, are more or less grown over with peat. On the contrary, in the large lakes no peat grows. At the entrance of the rivers, indeed, much mud is of course accumulated ; the Lake of Geneva, for instance, once no doubt extended for a considerable distance up the valley of the Rhone. But the gravel and mud brought down by that river are, as every one knows, soon deposited, and the water of the lake is elsewhere beautifully clear and pure.
The lake itself is very deep, in parts as much as 980 feet, and the banks are generally steep ; but round the margin there is in most places a fringe of shallow water, due probably to the erosive action of the waves, and known to the fishermen as the “ blancfond," because the lake is there of a pale greyish hue when contrasted with the bright blue of the central, deeper water.
It is on this blancfond,” and at depths of sometimes as much as fifteen feet, that the Pfahlbauten were generally constructed.
All that can now be seen are the tops of the piles, which project but little above the bottom of the lakes, their upper parts having been worn away by the action of the water.
They are but seen in winter, when the water is both lower and clearer; but even in summer they are quite visible, if the water is still, and may even be seen from the deck of a steamboat. Mr. Lubbock had visited several of the settlements on the Lake of Geneva, and had himself obtained bits of pottery, &c., from them.
Dwellings thus built over the water would not only protect their inhabitants from the attacks of wild beasts, but would also serve as fortifications; still, though it is evident that the security thus given would amply compensate for much extra labour, it still remains difficult to understand in what manner the piles were driven into it.
In many cases indeed settlements of the Stone age are characterized by what are called “ steinbergs," that is to say, artificial heaps of stones, &c., evidently brought by the natives to serve as a support to the piles. In fact, they found it easier to raise the bottom round the piles, than to drive the piles into the bottom.
Turning then to the Pfahlbauten belonging to the Bronze age, Mr. Lubbock described the one at Nidau on the Lake of Bienne, whence a very large and interesting collection has been obtained by Col. Schwab. As a considerable number of objects made of stone have been found here, it is possible that this place was inhabited during the Stone age. It is, however, characterized by the great number of weapons, instruments, and ornaments made of bronze, such as axes, lances, sickles,
fish-hooks, bracelets, hairpins, earrings, &c., which are altogether nearly 2000 in number.
These objects were all cast, and the skill displayed in their manufacture, as well as the beauty of their forms and ornamentation, shows a considerable development of art.
The discovery of a bar of tin at Estavayer, and at Morges of a mould for casting celts, proved that some at least of these objects were made in Switzerland, while evidence of a similar nature shows that other countries in Europe, as, for instance, Denmark, England, and Ireland, had also their own foundries.
The similarity of form and ornamentation appears to indicate some communication between different parts of Europe; thus, one of the swords found in Switzerland is almost exactly like a specimen discovered in Denmark. But as Cornwall and Saxony are the only known European sources of tin, the mere presence of bronze is in itself a sufficient evidence not only of metallurgical skill, but also of commerce.
With this immense number of objects in bronze discovered at Nidau, three articles of iron have been discovered. This is not sufficient evidence that the village was occupied during the Iron age. Indeed, the pile-dwellings seem at this period to have greatly diminished, and to have been succeeded by dwellings built on land.
They were not, however, altogether abandoned. The most remarkable lake-dwelling of the Iron age, is that at Téne, in the Lake of Neufchatel, whence niany objects in iron have been obtained. The most characteristic are large swords, which are in form and ornamentation entirely different both from those of the Bronze age, and from those used by the Romans.
Here we meet also with baked pottery, of that kind generally known as Roman. Professor Desor, however, considers that both the Romans and the tribes living north of the Alps obtained a knowledge of this art at a very early period, and perhaps from the Etruscans, by whom it was certainly brought to great perfection.
Swords, and other objects like those of the Téne, have been found on a field of battle at a place called the Tiefenau, near Berne, with Gaulish coins. We shall not, therefore, probably be far wrong if we consider that the Téne was a village of the Helvetians, occupied at a period before, but probably not many hundred years before, the great irruption of the Romans into Northern Europe.
Mr. Lubbock then referred to the statement by Hesiod, that there was a time when men worked in bronze, and were ignorant of iron; and to the still more valuable evidence of Ilomer, who, though acquainted with the use of iron, represented bronze as the common material of arms, instruments, and vessels of various sorts. Though confirmed by the discoveries of Sir R. Colt Hoare, these statements were, however, regarded by many archæologists as poetical myths ; and though the scientific classification proposed by the Scandinavian archæologists was gradually gaining ground, it could not be said to be universally adopted.
Vol. IV. (No. 37.)
It is - scarcely necessary to observe that these three ages are to be regarded as states of civilization rather than as actual chronological horizons. Western Europe seems to have passed from an age of stone to one of bronze; many nations have (thanks to commerce) risen at once from stone to iron. Again, while the inhabitants of Southern Europe were already acquainted with the use of iron 3000 years ago, at the time of the discovery of America the Mexicans were in an age of bronze, the Northern American Indians in one of copper, while many savage tribes are only in the Stone age even now.
Moreover, it is not to be supposed that stone instruments were altogether abandoned as soon as metal was introduced. For some purposes stone was as good as bronze, or even iron. In religious ceremonies, also, many nations appear to have had a prejudice against the introduction of a new substance. Thus the Egyptians used stone knives in opening bodies which were to be embalmed. The Jews seem to have performed the act of circumcision in the same manner ; as we read in Exodus, that Zipporah, the wife of Moses, took a sharp stone for that purpose. The Mexicans, again, are stated to have used obsidian knives in the sacrifices to their idols.
No doubt, also, metal was at first very precious, and was more or less confined to the rich. There is also plenty of evidence derived from the tumuli of the coexistence of stone and bronze implements.
Again, there must have been a period of transition between the Bronze and Iron ages. Soon, however, it would be found that for certain purposes iron had an overwhelming advantage over bronze. Thus when the two metals are found together, all cutting edges, all swords, knives, &c., are formed of iron, while ornaments are made of bronze. So great, indeed, is the advantage of iron as a weapon that we have but little evidence of the two metals having been used simultaneously for this purpose.
As long, however, as these conclusions rested on the evidence derived from tumuli, many objections might be raised to them
Much more satisfactory is that obtained from the kjökkenmöddings of Denmark. These dust-heaps of ancient times, though they teem with flint implements, have not yet yielded any trace of metals, and it is even questionable whether the more skilfully made stone implements are found in them.
They tell, therefore, only one part of the story ; while the Pfahlbauten of Switzerland, which are, in fact, subaqueous kjökkenmöddings, illustrate not only the later Stone age, but also that of Bronze, and, though but partially, that of Iron.
Being strongly persuaded that the value of the evidence derived from the Swiss lakes was much enhanced by the great number of objects which had been found, Mr. Lubbock had taken every opportunity of counting the axes, &c., obtained at each locality. In the following table, he has brought together the results, so far at least as regard six of the Pfahlbauten.