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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/563

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545
THE EARLIEST WRITING IN FRANCE.

and afford the most features of interest for us are on the Scandinavian coasts, and these have been largely utilized by Adrien de Mortillet for the determination of the figures of megaliths. We cite only one example from Gaul, the sculptures in the rocks of the Lago dei Maraviglie, in a lateral valley on the left, going from San Dalmazo to Tende, in Piedmont. Some of the walls of the rock there and large surfaces of detached blocks are covered with extremely rude figures formed by the accumulation of dints resulting from frequently repeated blows. Among these figures, which are without order in the grouping, and in which no regard is paid to proportions, are stags, rams, human figurines, hatchets, pikes, baskets, and lance points. These sculptures have been ascribed to the neolithic or the bronze age; but the existence of figures of similar style on the walls of a lead mine near Valauri has suggested that they may be more recent. Human figurines are numerous, but heads of horned animals are more so. Some are perhaps stags and rams, while bulls and cows are abundant. The shepherds are accustomed to take their herds and keep them for two or three months every year in this valley, which is so lonely and melancholy in aspect that it has been called Valiée d'Enfer, or Hell Valley. It would not be strange if these herdsmen, for want of something better to do, should have amused themselves delineating the things that were before their eyes—the cattle, the miners, and things appertaining to the mine. As to special traits, the representations are so badly executed as to leave a wide range open for interpretation.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Book Formation de la Nation française (Paris: Félix Alcan).

 


 
An old Newcomen steam engine at North Ashton, near Bristol, England, as described by Mr. W. H. Pearson in the British Association, is still doing practical work after an active career of nearly one hundred and fifty years, it having been erected in 1750 at a cost of seventy pounds. The piston is packed with rope, and has a covering of water on the top to make it steam tight. The working of the engine is aided by the vacuum formed by the injection of water into the cylinder. The old man now engaged in working this engine has held his post since.he was a lad, and his father and grandfather occupied the same position.

The excavation of the Roman town of Calleva Attrebatum at Silchester, near Reading, England, has brought to light nearly forty complete houses, a private bathing establishment, two square temples, the west gate, a Christian church possibly of the fourth century, a basilica and forum, an extensive system of dye works, a series of drains, other works, and a multitude of ornaments and utensils—remains of Roman civic life and institutions, complementing previous discoveries of Roman monuments in England, which have been mostly military.