Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/463

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A PREHISTORIC CEMETERY.

rife. Still other relics are strikingly like some found elsewhere, not particularly in this country, but in Europe, as will be shown further on. Among the most curious and anomalous of all are certain peculiarly grooved bones, as represented in Fig. 1.[1] They are usually made

PSM V22 D463 Prehistoric deer or elk leg bone.jpg
Fig. 1.

of the leg-bones of the deer or elk. But few of the specimens are perfect, the majority having been broken by use and wearing away of the bone. The groove is often highly polished, though scratches running the long way are visible. These scratches were made in the manufacture or use of the instrument or tool, but what its use was no one has been able satisfactorily to determine. Archæologists are puzzled, and pronounce them to be unique. PSM V22 D463 Shaped and polished prehistoric animal bones.jpgFig. 2. It has been supposed by nearly every one that they were used in dressing skins, but no such scratches as are observed could be made in that operation. Some have suggested that perhaps they were made to serve some purpose of ornamentation, but neither is this explanation probable. It seems to me that the groove has been the result of rubbing, for the purpose of polishing certain other relics found here. There have been found numbers of peculiar cylindrical pieces of bone and horn, like Fig. 2, as unlike anything found elsewhere as the grooved bones; and it seems probable that these cylinders of bone have been rubbed and polished in the grooved bones. We find that the different-sized cylinders fit well into the different-sized grooves, and certainly constant rubbing would both round off and polish the cylinders, and leave scratches in the groove. It has been a matter of speculation, also, to determine the use of these cylinders. Some have said that they were used in playing a game; but it is more likely that they were made into a belt for the waist, or a necklace, thongs being woven be-

  1. ↑ Copied from "Journal of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History," vol. iii., plate 1. Most of the figures herein given are made from specimens in the collection of the Cincinnati Society of Natural History.