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Page:Folk-lore - A Quarterly Review. Volume 4, 1893.djvu/251

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243
Review.

ground was wanted for other purposes, must be left for the present among the many unsolved questions concerning these settlements. The general account of the civilisation of the inhabitants of Woodcuts and Rotherley given in the second volume of The Archæeological Review applies also to those of Woodyates. But their pottery, which included numerous specimens of Samian and other ornamental ware, their glass, their bronze fibulae, brooches, spoons, torques, bangles, rings, their iron scythes, cleats, nails, keys, knives, hooks, and other objects of both metals, and above all the hoards of money—1,210 coins have been found in all—though chiefly of brass, and consequently of small intrinsic value, indicate, as perhaps we might expect in a station upon an important road, more trade and somewhat more wealth than were known to the remoter villages in what is now Cranborne Chase.

It is around their burials that the principal interest of folk-lore students will concentrate; for here, if anywhere, we may look for intimations of their beliefs. The relics of material civilisation may be no more than a veneer, entering as little into their real life as the iron axes and glass beads of modern traders do into the life of the savage Papuan. The rites paid to the dead are different. The supreme importance of the three chief moments of human life—birth, marriage, and death—in the investigation of savage and barbarous culture is well recognised. We look to the ceremonies attending them for the expression of the native mind, the outcome of its inmost hopes and fears, of its dearest joys and most poignant sorrows, long after the conditions that ordinarily beset a tribe have been modified by an intrusive civilisation, and even its religion has been changed. Unfortunately, in digging up the relics of a vanished barbarism, we find no record of the ceremonies attending birth and marriage, the remains of funeral ceremonies are all that we can recover; and we seek the more eagerly for what they can disclose to us. At Woodcuts and at Rotherley we were able to learn nothing. We are