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against two errors which many people fall into, and which have given rise to all kinds of erroneous ideas.
In the first place, we must not assign every stone or non-metallic implement to the stone age. For stone implements have been used together with those made of metal, on this side of the Alps as in other lands, down to the Christian era. “Spears with points of stags' horn,” says Fraas, 1“ arrows with sharp flint heads, and especially the stone axe, stone chisel, and stone hammer, are found amongst the Germans often even down to the time of the Franks, and their like exist among a series of races who were well known to the historians of the classical age. According to Herodotus, there accompanied the army of Xerxes Ethiopians who were so savage that they only possessed weapons of stone and bone, and were dressed in the skins of wild beasts ; they had long bows made of the ribs of palm leaves, and cane arrows with a pebble point; their javelins were pointed with the horn of a gazelle.” Five hundred years later Tacitus mentions German tribes whom he calls Fenni, and of whom he says, “They have no (iron) weapons—their only means of attack is by arrows, to which, having no iron, they give a bone point.” “The Homeric heroes," says Vogt," who knew bronze, or rather copper, and iron, used in spite of this to hurl huge stones at each other's heads, and the sling was till not very long ago a legitimate weapon. It is proved by several facts that the stone implement, after it was no longer generally used and had been replaced by metals, was considered specially holy,—and that stone knives and stone axes were used at religious ceremonies, because it was supposed that the metals which required a good deal of human work were therefore to a certain extent unclean.”? In Sweden Nilsson says that with the exception of a few arrows of bronze, the missile weapons are all made of stone, and these are found beside very prettily worked swords and other bronze weapons. The metal was probably too costly to be generally used for missile weapons. Besides it is quite possible that among the ancient nations, in many cases only the leaders, the rich and mighty men, had metal weapons, and that the common soldiers, on the other hand, had for the most weapons of stone, bone, and horn, just as in the Middle Ages only the knights wore steel armour.
1 Die alten Höhlenbewohner, Berlin 1873, p. 30.
The numerous “finds” of metal together with other implements do not therefore belong to the stone or premetallic age. Even if implements of stone and bone are found alone in one place, this by itself does not prove that they belong to an age when the metals were not yet in use in that region. This can only be considered probable when a great number of caves, graves, and other places in the same region afford no metal implements.
Secondly, we must not suppose that the date of the stone age can ever be exactly ascertained. Just as the Ethiopian and Germanic tribes I have mentioned had no metal implements at a time when other tribes had already possessed them for long, so the races of the middle and north of Europe may have come to possess metals at different times, some earlier, some later, and therefore the stone age of one people or country may have been contemporaneous with the bronze or iron age of another.
1 Archiv fiir Anthr. i. 8.
2 Die Treinwohner, etc. p. 89. 3 Home and Foreign Review, April 1863, p. 485. Virchow, Die Urberölkerung Europa's, Berlin 1874, p. 41. There is nothing surprising in the fact that at a time when bronze was known stone implements should still have been used. I have myself seen the natives of the island of Puynepet, in the Caroline Archipelago, hollowing out their canoes with stone hatchets, they being at the time in possession of European firearms. The bronze implements were no doubt articles of luxury, and could probably only be procured by rich and mighty men, while the implements for ordinary use were made out of stone and wood." See Hochstetter in the Oesterreichische Wochenschrift, 1864, p. 1612.
The bronze and iron ages cannot be distinguished as two consecutive periods in any case, but this is specially true of central and northern Europe. Many have supposed, with Lucretius, that brass or bronze was in use before iron, because it was more difficult to melt and work the latter. Experts tell us that the last assertion is untrue ; and the first, stated so broadly, contradicts historical facts.
The negro tribes in the south and interior of Africa have a very simple and natural way of working iron, and they make no use of the oxide of copper which is found in their country, because they consider that it is more difficult to work than iron. Among the ancients we always find that iron and brass were both in use together from the oldest times. At any rate it cannot be proved that a special bronze age, an age in which only bronze was used, and which was followed by the use of iron, existed in any country. Neither can it be proved that a bronze age in this sense existed in northern or central Europe, and the descriptions given by Scandinavian savants of the expulsion in ancient times from Scandinavia of the people who had stone implements, by a people with bronze implements who came in from Asia, and who in their turn were succeeded by a people with iron implements,' is gradually being recognised as thoroughly unhistorical. The numerous old bronze objects which are found in northern and central Europe
1 Bronze is a mixture of copper and tin, in the ratio of 92:8 (medals), 90 : 10 (cannons), 80-90 : 10–20 (machines), 78:22 (bells). See Ausland, 1866, p. 418. In the antique bronzes the proportion is, on an average, 89 parts of copper to 11 parts of tin, besides which there are traces of iron, nickel, silver, lead, sulphur, and antimony. Archiv für Anthr. viii. 300. The suggestion that some discoveries of pure copper which have been made would warrant our supposing that a copper or brass age existed before the bronze age (see Büchner, Die Stellung der Menschen, p. 87) has met with but little support.
2 Cf. Hostmann's careful discussion on both points in the Archiv für Anthr. viii, 293, ix. 197.
3 Archiv für Anthr, x. 431.
have been manufactured in the country, but to have been imported from other countries. It has been proved not only that several of the Mediterranean nations were skilled in the working of metals at a very early stage, but also that they had commercial relations with the northern peoples ; the Phænicians and their colonies communicated specially with the countries on the coast, perhaps up to the Baltic Sea: the Greeks with the countries round the Black Sea and the southern districts of the Danube on the one side, and with southern Gaul on the other; the Etruscans, and later the Romans, with southern and central Germany, partly through Gaul, and partly over the Rhetian and Noric Alps. The Italian commerce with the north began,
1 Archiv für Anthr. viii. 278, 303.
? Cf. besides the works of Nilsson, Rougemont, Pallmann, and others, especially Lindenschmit in the Archiv für Anthr. i. 56, 364; iii. 107, 122; iv. 11; viii. 161. Also A. Von Cohausen, i. 324. H. Genthe, vi. 237. C. Grewingk, vii. 98, 108. See also Virchow, Thering Die 5 allg. Versammlung der D. Gesellschaft für Anthropol. zu Dresden, 1874, Brunswick 1875, p. 79. Edin. Rev. vol. cxxxii. (1870) p. 470. In the Archiv fiir Anthr. ix. and x. there is a lively discussion between Scandinavian and German savants on this subject.
according to Lindenschmit, at least as far back as the fourth century B.C., and none of the bronze implements found in ancient Germany are apparently older than this.? Probably all the bronze implements which are found in Germany and Scandinavia are of southern origin; and if some of them were of home manufacture, this manufacture was probably connected with the commercial relations.
At any rate, however widespread may be the idea that the stone, bronze, and iron ages were everywhere, or even only in central and northern Europe three consecutive periods, it is now looked upon as erroneous by the most eminent students of the subject. Lindenschmit says that this division is of no more use to us than the division of the products of nature into the mineral, vegetable, and animal kingdoms ; : and Pallmann says that the persons it benefits are careless directors of antiquarian museums; it enables them to divide the antiquities according to the materials of which they
i Hostmann, see Archiv für Anthr. viii. 306.
? “The few moulds and so-called foundries which have been discovered must not be considered to show that attempts were being made to discover how to mould bronze, but as decisive proofs that there existed a manufacture completely developed, the knowledge of which had been imported with the bronze implements; this, as we gather from analogous facts in the Middle Ages and in modern times, was in the hands of wandering artisans. When the braziers in the Middle Ages and the tinmen in modern days brought the industry of the towns to the villages and farmhouses, this relation between the industrial centres and the country population is a striking proof, it may even have been a survival, of the ancient trade between the cultivated states of the south and the barbarous countries and provinces.”—Lindenschmit, see Archiv für Anthr. i. 364. Cf. viii. 306.
3 Archiv für Anthr. viii. 173.