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SCANDINAVIAN CIVILIZATION

Traces of dwelling-houses with hearth-places show that the usual form was a round or slightly oval hut, constructed of wattles, plastered inside and out with clay. The floor was usually partly or entirely paved.

The Bronze Age.—Towards the close of the Later Stone Age a few objects of copper are found in the North. Copper is, however, soon superseded by bronze, which was probably imported ready alloyed into Scandinavia, though the special Scandinavian forms, as well as the presence of a number of moulds, conclusively prove that the casting of the metal was done in the North. It is supposed that the Bronze Age, which can be divided into two main periods, began in Scandinavia about 2000-1750 B.C. The earliest implements are clearly copies of the Stone Age work, betraying the ignorance of the makers as to the adaptability of the new material. Some bronze axes are exactly the shape of stone axes, but gradually we see the blade grow wider, the neck narrower, the outer sides of the haft turn back over the wooden shaft, which is still cloven, and finally before the end of the earlier period we have the “socketed celt,” in which the tongue has disappeared and the wooden shaft is fixed in a cylinder of bronze, with a metal loop at the side through which the fastening passed. The unsocketed celt has also undergone modifications. By the end of the earlier period swords have been evolved from daggers, and brooches and clasps, besides beautiful vases and hanging vessels, are made of the metal. Gold is also known and used. Fine linear decoration, usually in spirals or zig-zags, is applied. The forms are extremely artistic, and the technique higher than in almost any other European country. Perhaps the most magnificent relic of this earlier period is the bronze “sun-chariot” and horse from Trundholm in Seeland. The disk supposed to represent the sun is overlaid with gold and beautifully decorated with spiral designs. The later period is clearly marked off from the earlier by the method of disposing of the dead, since in the earlier period the dead were still buried unburned, often in stone cists or oak coffins, while in the latter period cremation was practised, and the remains placed in small stone or wooden boxes, or in plain earthenware urns. Some of these urns are clearly imitations of the house of the period, and show that it was still round in form. The graves are covered by a cairn or mound. Miniature weapons are often found in the urns, but the objects placed in or beside the urn reveal little care in their selection: it is obvious that a few gifts were deposited with the dead, rather than the complete outfit of necessaries which are found in earlier periods. During this period decoration becomes more complicated: the spirals are often fringed with tangential lines, and the ends of knives, rings, &c., are frequently rolled up into spiral volutes. Bands of wavy lines are a common form of ornament. Amber and a dark-brown resinous matter are often inlaid. Ornaments show a tendency to exaggeration of size, as is seen in the massive neck and arm-rings, the brooches, pins and clasps.

We are fortunate in knowing more about the Scandinavian Bronze Age than the mere remains, plentiful though they are, could tell us. In some parts of Sweden and Norway rude carvings on bare granite rocks, executed in a stiff and conventional style, have been identified as belonging to this period, and from these, in combination with the finds, we can deduce a considerable fund of information. Horses were used for riding, driving and ploughing. From the impress left on earthenware vessels we find that wheat, barley and oats were cultivated. Large boats, almost invariably without mast or sail, are very frequently depicted. The human figures on the carvings are unfortunately represented in such a primitive manner that little could be known of the details of their clothing but for some unique finds in Denmark, where the oak coffins of the earlier period have preserved hair and clothing for over 3000 years. Thus we know that the garb of the Bronze Age man consisted of a thick glossy cap, replaced by a helmet in time of war, a woollen tunic which left the shoulders bare, a cloak and leather shoes fastened on by strips of cloth crossed up the ankle. A buckle for the belt, pins for the cloak, and one bracelet were his only ornaments. From the small bronze knife and the tweezers found in men's graves it has been deduced that shaving was usual, and a small pointed instrument also found in the graves is regarded as evidence for tattooing. The women wore a fine hair net and comb, a curiously clumsily-cut bodice with sleeves to the elbow, and a long skirt gathered round the waist by a belt with a large ornament in front. A heavy necklace, two bracelets and a dagger appear to have been usual. The people were tall and had light hair. With regard to the distribution of Bronze Age finds, it may be said that Götaland, Skåne and the district round Stockholm yield the richest harvest in Sweden, while in Norway the mass of finds are in the Christiania and the Stavanger districts. A notable feature of the period is the number of finds made in bogs. Many were clearly buried there for safe keeping, but others are usually explained as votive offerings.

Iron Age.—The approximate date for the first beginnings of this period in the North is still a matter of controversy; Montelius placing it at about 500 B.C., while Sophus Müller, of Denmark, would put it at least a century and a half later. It has been divided into four main subdivisions, of which the first, lasting till about the beginning of our era, is usually called the Pre-Roman Period. The beginnings of this age are most clearly traced on the island of Bornholm, where cemeteries are found containing from 10 to 1000 graves. These graves, called Brandpletter, are closely similar to the contemporary graves on the Continent, and consist of burnt bones embedded in charcoal and black mould. In this are found iron brooches (of the safety pin type), buckles and a few fragments of pottery. More typically Northern cemeteries show small mounds covering each grave, in which an urn contains the burnt bones. These graves also yield but few remains, and the wealth of objects from this period come from bog and field finds, as for instance some magnificent chariots, overlaid with decorated bronze plates, from a bog near Ringkjöbing, Denmark. Ornaments were usually of massive bronze or occasionally of iron, and gold seems to have been comparatively scarce, perhaps owing to the disturbed state of central Europe. All but the very beginning of the period shows the influence of the La-Tène (q.v.) civilization. The succeeding Roman period begins in the 1st century A.D. and extends, according to Swedish and Norwegian archaeologists, to about 400. In Denmark the latter half of the period is termed that of “National Migrations.” A number of Roman objects are found—coins, glass and bronze vessels, &c. From the fact that Skåne, Bornholm, Öland and Gotland are the chief finding-places, it appears that most of the objects must have been brought, through war or trade, from the south-east, by way of the great trade-route along the Vistula. Gotland alone has yielded nearly four thousand Roman coins, while Bornholm equals the whole of the rest of Denmark with 500, and Norway has only yielded three. A certain number of Roman objects seem, however, to have reached Denmark from the Rhine Provinces. The graves show a variety new to Scandinavia: in some parts cremation continues to be practised, in other localities, notably in Jutland and Seeland, inhumation reappears. Characteristic of both forms of burial is the practice of placing a number of vessels containing food and drink in the grave. Weapons are seldom found in graves, but a complete knowledge of them is afforded by such finds as that at Thorsbjerg in Schleswig and Vimose in Fünen, the latter yielding no less than 3500 objects to the National Museum. These are the debris of great battlefields from about the 4th century, and it is usually supposed that the victors dedicated the spoil to some god, as everything was left almost untouched.

From this ample evidence we learn that the spear or lance was the most common weapon, and after that the sword, used now for striking as well as thrusting, and with a short cross-piece. The hilt is often superbly decorated, frequently with silver, which is now much used. Coats of ring-mail are found. Helmets and shields are extraordinarily thin, almost flimsy, possibly in imitation of the inferior Roman goods of the period, possibly in the case of the shields, at any rate, because they were only intended to protect from arrows or spears flung from a distance, or because dependence was mainly placed on the strength of the boss. Numbers of bits and other fragments of harness prove the use of horses in war. A similar find at Nydam in Schleswig yielded two of the oldest boats that have come down to us: one of oak, 75 ft. long, built for 28 rowers, and another of firwood. The timbers were fastened with iron nails, but some early boats from Norway and Sweden show a more primitive method of attaching the timbers with fastenings of baste.

Besides the deserted battlegrounds, the more usual type of votive offering is found, such as the silver cauldron from Gundestrup, or the two magnificent gold horns, one more than 2 ft. in length, discovered at Gallehus in Schleswig. Further indications of religious

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