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ART. V.-1. Habitations Lacustres des Temps Anciens et
Modernes. Par FRÉDÉRIC TROYON. Lausanne: 1860. 2. Proceedings of the Royal Irish Academy, Vol. VII. NOT TOTHING in the history of scientific investigation is more
remarkable than the singular manner in which the labours of various inquirers, acting without apparent concert, seem frequently to take at the same time a common direction. Phenomena of deep interest or importance exist around us unrevealed, like the gold in Australian gravel, until the hour suddenly arrives when light, thrown on them from one quarter, is answered by corresponding lights from all parts of the heavens. Then the system of which these phenomena form a part, their relation to each other, and their bearing on some general subject, disclose themselves little by little, with all the freshness of discovery. Twenty years ago, or little more, it was the commonly received doctrine that there were not any traces of Man to be found in Europe attributable to any age earlier than that very recent period known, or, at all events, indicated to us through history. And now, simultaneously, and from various corners of Europe, a new school of inquirers, proceeding, as we shall see, by a method utterly different from any adopted before, inform us that this quarter of the globe was peopled for uncounted ages before history began,-peopled by a race of whose memory history contains no record whatever. It tells us of entire populations, with their arts, customs and languages, buried and forgotten before Troy town was besieged, or the oldest piles of Cyclopean masonry were massed together by their mysterious architects* : with annals far antecedent to the memory of Spenser's Eumnestes, who
— all the wars remembered of King Nine,
*And old Assaracus and Inachus divine.' From the mounds and dykes of farthest Scandinavia — from limestone caves and turf deposits scattered over Western Europe—from the bogs of Ireland and the lake shores of Swit
* The present King of Denmark however contributed to the Annual Meeting of the Society of Northern Antiquaries (1857), a memoir in which reasons are given for believing that these Cyclopean structures (or the 'Halls of the Giants, which answer to them in the North), might have been erected by men to whom the use of metals was unknown.
zerland-nay, from the gravel and sand strata of past. geological periods, in Picardy and in Suffolk—the evidence accumulates upon us of the existence, and long continuance, of successive 'pre-historical races of men ; smaller men than ourselves; a • feeble folk, apparently, who must have had a difficulty in maintaining their existence against the inclemency of climate and the incursions of wild beasts, yet who must have struggled on, through multiplied centuries of unprogressive existence : 80 low, in some respects, that they did not know the use of metals until introduced at a comparatively late period; yet so far advanced in others, that they lived in numerous societies, practised some rude agriculture, buried their dead with peculiar usages, and were certainly a good way removed from the low savage type. These discoveries, curious and interesting as they are, have almost a disquieting effect on the imagination. They introduce into the domain of history something of that sense of oppression which results from the manner in which the modern theories of geology draw on Time as an inexhaustible bank. They threaten a revolution in our way of thinking, too fundamental to be agreeable. For it is well observed by Archbishop Whately (in his edition of Bacon's Essays) that the proverbial love of novelty in mankind extends only to details; a new system, in politics or in science, has attractions only for the few, and disturbs the minds of the many. But when this first feeling has passed away, and we no longer shrink from apprehending a great theory, subversive of the assumptions which have hitherto tacitly regulated our thoughts, we are carried forward, in spite of ourselves, by the magnificence of the new prospect. It is as if our powers of vision were suddenly doubled, or our perceptible horizon removed to twice its former distance. In such a frame of mind, we are apt to forget that these disclosures are still in their infancy. “Men assign to them an amount of certainty, and an extent of range, which are in truth as yet unwarranted. And, on the whole, we are inclined to believe that the best service which can be rendered to the cause of investigation, is to take the phenomena severally, and endeavour first to examine each by its own separate light, as far as this can be done, without making premature efforts at generalisation. We therefore purpose, on the present occasion, to confine ourselves almost wholly to the subject of M. Troyon's workthe · Lacustrine habitations, or Pfahlbauten (pile-buildings) of Switzerland - and the very analogous relics of primæval antiquity which have lately been discovered in Ireland.
In order, however, to comprehend the use made by the Swiss antiquaries of the discoveries recently effected in the lakes of their country, it is absolutely necessary to be acquainted at least with the outlines of the labours of learned Europe, for the last fifteen years, in the same general sphere of inquiry. The notion that three distinct races of men have consecutively occupied the greater part of Europe, before the period at which history, properly so called, begins, — or, to speak more accurately, the last of which races only is properly historicaloriginated, we believe, with the antiquarians of the Scandinavian peninsula. Professor Worsaae, who has done more than any other individual in opening this vast field of inquiry, ascribes the nomenclature of the Three Ages of Stone, Bronze, and Iron, to Staatsrath E. C. Thomsen (about 1843). Stripped as far as possible of controversial details, the facts revealed by the examination of numberless places of sepulture, on the shores of the Baltic, of alluvial gravels, and other deposits, are said to be these. First, that great part of the Baltic countries was at one time occupied by a race of men who did not know the use of metals; who were hunters, but agriculturists only in some spots and to a slight extent; who were of smaller stature than modern Europeans; who buried their dead, unburnt, in stone-chests; who dwelt almost exclusively (so far as has yet been discovered), on the shores of the sea, or of the rivers, fiords, and fresh-water lakes of the Scandinavian North. It is added (but this, of course, is conjectural only), that while these people probably migrated hither from the East, following the course of the rivers of Russia and the coasts of the Baltic, another division of them penetrated into Central Europe along the shores of the Mediterranean--both leaving memorials of themselves, strictly analogous to the Scandinavian, scattered on their two lines of march. After discussing various unsuccessful attempts to connect these people of the age of stone' with existing European races*, Professor Worsaae suggested that they should be simply termed “pre-historical,' as a confession of ignorance,-a suggestion which has been pretty generally acquiesced in.
Secondly, that at some later period another race followed who knew the use of metals, but employed almost exclusively a compound of copper and tin, or bronze,' for their implements of war and peace. This race, generally speaking, occupied the
Among others with the Greenlanders or Esquimaux, whom, singularly enough, Isaac Lapeyrere, in his strange dissertation on the Preadamites (published in 1641), had selected as a relic of that population which he believed to have existed before the Fall. The greater part of his essay is devoted to the Biblical argument: but it contains also some curious anticipations of the antiquarian theories with which we are now concerned.
settlements of its predecessors; but it also added new ones, and ventured farther into the interior from the navigable waters than the men of stone had done. Its habits were also more agricultural. In short, it constituted a more advanced type of humanity. About its mode of sepulture much uncertainty prevails; Worsaae thinks that the men of bronze adopted both modes, of burying and burning the dead. When first the notion of a bronze age was started, there were some determined Teutons who broached the theory that it actually preceded that of stone; and that an advanced German race, knowing the use of metals, had been for a time thrust from its seat by a flood of little Celts with their stone hatchets. Worsaae, however, had no doubt that the age of bronze came second in point of date. But he was inclined (see his • Zur Alterthumskunde
des Norden,'1847) to imagine that the men of bronze belonged to several of our existing races,— were some of them Goths, others Celts, Thracians, and so forth. More recent inquiry seems to have thrust farther back the supposed age of this perplexing people, and they are commonly set down as equally - pre-historical with the denizens of the Age of Stone.
Lastly, that an Age of Iron succeeded ; being that of the historical races, of most of whom we learn something from the records of Rome. Worsaae, indeed, suggested that the Age of Iron did not commence in North Germany until about A.D. 500, or after the Roman period; but we believe that all are now agreed in assigning to its beginning a much higher antiquity.
Such is the outline of the first Swedish discoveries ; illustrated, rather than followed, as we have said before, by similar discoveries in Ireland, France, Denmark where the kitchen“middings,' masses of bones of animals, apparently used for food by the earliest inhabitants, have formed the subject of especially curious studies), and, lastly, in the lakes of Switzerland; besides those made in the ancient drift' by M. Boucher de Perthes and his fellow-labourers, which, as thought to belong to a different geological age, must always be separately dealt with. The ' pre-historical people have already passed from the hands of the mere archæologist into those of the ethnologist : there are vast speculations afloat, tending to connect them with that mighty, but somewhat imaginary, Turanian' family of nations, of which Professor Max Müller tells us that its language comprises all • languages spoken in Asia or Europe not included under the • Arian or Semitic families, with the exception of the Chinese
and its dialects.' This,' the Professor adds truly enough, 'is * indeed a very wide range ; and the characteristic marks of union, ascertained for this immense variety of languages, are as ‘yet very vague and general, if compared with the definite ties of relation which severally unite the Semitic and the Arian.' Mr. Rawlinson, the translator of Herodotus, tells us, in commenting on this
that “The original occupation of Asia by Turanian races ... is admitted. The peopling of Europe in primeval times, by tribes having a similar form of speech, which yielded everywhere to the IndoEuropean races, and were either absorbed or driven into holes and corners, is apparent from the position of the Laps, Finns, Esths, and Basques, whose dialects are of the Turanian type.'
And other speculators, proceeding further on the same road, drew the inference which we have already mentioned, namely, that these fragments of an ancient dispossessed people, especially the Lapps and Finns, who are diminutive in stature, are, in truth, the existing representatives of those whose relics are buried in the mud of the Swiss lakes, and of those, far more ancient, whose wrought flints are dug by myriads out of the Suffolk "crag' and the tertiary formation about Abbeville. But with this slight glimpse only, we are determined to dismiss, for the present occasion, all ethnological speculation: convinced that it is premature, and that it is far better to acquiesce in the mystery which surrounds the origin and family of the races in question, and search out patiently the records which they have left us of their habits of life and their geographical extension.
It may be advisable also to guard against another source of confusion, to which the lively imagination of antiquarians is a little too prone. It is scarcely philosophical to infer a connexion between different races of men, merely because, being placed under similar physical conditions, they have adopted similar devices and similar modes of living.
The fisherman of the Bosphorus raises a curious and complicated kind of wooden erection on stages, by means of piles driven in the current of the strait. Mr. Layard describes for us the extraordinary island-dwellings of the Afaij Arabs in the marshes of the Euphrates, and shows us that tribes of similar habits are depicted among the subjugated nations in the sculptures of Nineveh. (Nineveh and Babylon, chap. xxiv.) The negroes on the Tchadda construct similar aquatic habitations, described by Dr. Baikie. The Papuans of New Guinea dwell in villages built on wooden platforms in the tide rivers, closely and curiously resembling the supposed erections of the Lacustrines' in Switzerland. The American Indians in the Lake of Maracaybo are reported to have had cities' of similar construction; whence their province was termed by the Spanish conquerors, Venezuela, or Little Venice. But these are analogies only,