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SCANDINAVIAN CIVILIZATION

of the Neolithic Period. Men have left traces of their occupation of Denmark from the time when firs were still the prevailing trees in that country, and a few tools of elk and reindeer horn appear to belong to an even earlier period. Sweden and Norway were probably not inhabited until later, though it seems that men were present in Sweden while the Baltic was still a fresh-water lake. The dates assigned to this period vary very greatly: S. Müller suggests before 3000 B.C., while O. Montelius places it at 8000 years before our era. Besides the elk- and reindeer-horn tools mentioned above, a few rough flint implements seem to be the earliest traces of man in Scandinavia. In Norway and Sweden these are only found in the extreme south. The kjøkkenmøddinger or skaldynger, variously called in English kitchen-middens, refuse-heaps, or shell-mounds, are characteristic of Denmark in the next period. In these we find remains of primitive meals, consisting chiefly of oyster, mussel and other shells, and the bones of various fish, birds and animals, including deer, wild boar, seals, wolves and aurochs. It appears that the race which left these relics must have lived by hunting and fishing, and that they were probably semi-nomadic. They were evidently unacquainted with agriculture and had no domestic animals other than the dog. These refuse heaps are almost always found by the sea-shore or close to a lake. Some of them extend over an area of as much as 700 yds. by 20 yds. width, but their depth is usually not more than 3 to 10 ft. There are frequent traces of fire and hearth places, so that we may conclude that the food was both prepared and eaten on the spot. The flint implements consist of Hakes or knives, awls and axes of various kinds, all made by a process of rough chipping. These are supplemented by articles of bone, horn and clay, including arrow or spear points, axes of horn, and bone combs. Earthenware vessels must have been much used, but only fragments have been found, made, of course, without the use of the wheel. Rare attempts at decoration consist of a few cuts or impressions round the top. The only ornaments found are the pierced teeth of animals and shells. In Norway and Sweden implements similar to those of the Danish shell-mounds have been found, but usually without the organic remains, except at Viste, near Stavanger, excavated in 1907. The first Swedish shell-mound was discovered in the north of Bohuslän in 1905, but is of a later type than the Danish. The remains at Nöstvet in the Christiania fjord show traces of a considerable population. Ground slate implements are found scattered along the coasts of Norway and Sweden, and are attributed to a nomadic people, whose arctic culture persisted much longer in these countries than in the much earlier flint civilization of the Kitchen-middens in Denmark. To this race are attributed a few rock-carvings and other sculptured representations of animals in a highly naturalistic style, almost equal to that of the palaeolithic cave-carvings of France, and showing close affinity with the artistic productions of the regions on the eastern side of the Baltic.

Later Stone Age.—The remains of the Later Stone Age show a very much more advanced civilization of a pastoral and later of an agricultural type, with domestic animals, such as cattle, horses, pigs, sheep and goats. As the number of “transition” finds, showing a gradual development from the older forms, is very small, and as, moreover, settlements of the kitchen-midden type are known to have existed right through the later Stone Age, or even longer, there is some ground for assuming that the earlier flint implements of Denmark were the product of an aboriginal race, gradually ousted and driven north by Aryans, immigrating with a superior culture.

By far the greatest proportion of the remains of the Stone Age are found in Denmark. While there are not more than five to six hundred Stone-Age graves known in Sweden, and only two or three in Norway, there are between three and four thousand on the island of Seeland alone. Besides Seeland, Lolland, Falster and the north-eastern part of Jutland appear to have been thickly inhabited during the Later Stone Age. In Sweden the southern-most part, Skåne and Bohuslän, were probably the first to be inhabited: and then Vestergötland and Dal. Skåne has yielded more than three-fourths of all the Later Stone Age objects found in Sweden. Norway is not, as might be supposed from the absence of graves, entirely deficient in the objects of this period, but they are comparatively few in number, though quite on a par in technique with those of Sweden. As already indicated, the great difference between the culture of the shell-mounds and that of the Later Stone Age is the method of disposing of the dead. The dead of the former period, it is assumed, were placed in simple graves in the earth, while characteristic of the latter period are the megalithic graves found in profusion in Denmark and Sweden.

The earliest form, and that most common in Denmark, is the four-sided dolmen, formed by four or six large upright stones on which rests a huge rock, the whole being partly covered by a mound. These graves usually contain a number of skeletons. The next is the passage grave, a chamber approached by a passage, both built of great blocks of rough-hewn rock. The roof of the largest of these, near Falköping in Sweden, is formed of nine blocks of granite, and the whole attains a length of nearly 60 ft. Later again are stone cists, consisting of a comparatively small space walled in and roofed by thin blocks of stone, surrounded by a low mound. These graves seldom contain more than one skeleton, and mark the end of the Stone Age. Inhumation was practised throughout the period, though the bones found in the great graves are often marked by fire owing to the practice, apparently prevalent, of lighting fires in the grave chambers. The chambers are often full of remains up to within a foot of the roof, and in some cases parts of as many as a hundred skeletons have been found.

In the mounds surrounding the tombs animal bones and shells are frequently found, indicating feasts and sacrifices. It seems as if many of the graves, especially in Sweden, had at some time been considered as places for sacrifice, to judge by the saucer like hollows constantly found on the upper side of the covering stones. The finds of tools, weapons, ornaments and pottery contribute greatly to our knowledge of the period, but probably the best specimens were not placed in graves, as we find the finest work elsewhere. The pottery is of good material and form, though still made without the aid of the potter's wheel. The indentations of the pattern are frequently filled in with a white chalk like substance. Many of the vessels are rounded at the bottom, and perforations or handles show that they are meant to hang. Wood was no doubt much used, but it is only by a fortunate chance that wooden vessels and a wooden spoon have been preserved to us in Denmark. It is probable that wool was used as well as skins for clothing, but if so it must be supposed that the spinning and weaving implements were of too perishable a material to have come down to us. Awls are constantly found, but not needles. Bone pins were used for fastening the clothes. The ornaments were chiefly pierced teeth of various wild animals, and objects of amber and bone, many of them in the form of minute axes. Amber was much used during the earlier part of this age, but it is seldom found later on, probably because its value as an article of export had by then been realized. The Swedish archaeologist, O. Montelius, distinguishes four subdivisions in this period, towards the end of which the implements show a mastery over material unequalled in the rest of Europe, but it must not be supposed that this was attained at once. The tools include chisels, borers, knives, saws and axes, but the finest workmanship seems to have been reserved for weapons. Arrow-heads and spear-points of flint have chipped blades of marvellous fineness and symmetry. Daggers with handle and blade all made of one piece of flint are characteristic of the Northern Stone Age, and show how much weight was laid on ornamental appearance, since wooden handles would have been equally effective and far less troublesome to make. The battle axes are of many forms, perfectly symmetrical and beautifully ground and polished. Those of other stone than flint have holes bored through them for the shaft. Wooden shafts were usually attached at right angles to the flint axes. Of these latter the thin-necked axe is the most characteristic. The distribution of flint implements reveals a considerable trading activity, as flint-bearing strata only occur in certain parts of Denmark and in Skåne, whence it must have been distributed over the whole of Southern Sweden through the channels of commerce. Considerable commercial activity must also have prevailed between the Scandinavians and their southern neighbours.