The Primeval Antiquities of Denmark/First Division

The Primeval Antiquities of Denmark  (1849)  by Jens Jacob Asmussen Worsaae, translated by William John Thoms
First Division



As collections of antiquities were intended to afford illustrations of history, it followed as a natural consequence, that as soon as a few objects were collected, attempts were made to explain them. The course which was at first pursued was, however, obviously incorrect: for example, it was at once perceived that the antiquities which had been discovered differed materially from each other, since some were carved from stone, while others were beautifully formed of metal. Although it was now generally acknowledged that our native land had been inhabited by several distinct races, still it was supposed that all these antiquities must have belonged to one and the same people, namely, those who were the last that found their way into our country, the Goths of Scandinavia, from whom we derive our descent. By this means, objects appertaining to the most different times were naturally mingled together. We will quote a striking instance of this fact, and we do so because the view which is here maintained is one which is still not unfrequently expressed both in writing and in conversation.

It is well known that stones shaped by art into the form of wedges, hammers, chisels, knives, &c., are frequently exhumed from the earth. These, in the opinion of many, could certainly never have served as tools or implements, since it was impossible either to carve or cut with a stone; hence it was concluded, that they had formerly been employed by our forefathers in those sacrifices which were offered to idols, during the prevalence of heathenism. Thus it was said the hammers of stone were used to strike the sacrifice on the forehead; and after the sacrificing priest with a chisel, likewise formed of stone, had stripped off the skin, the flesh was cut to pieces with knives of stone, &c. The Cromlechs, Cairns, and Barrows in which such objects are found, were conceived to have been partly places of sacrifice, partly temples and seats of justice. But when amidst the vast mass of antiquities of stone which had been gradually collected, several shewed obvious marks of having been much used and worn, doubts began to be entertained whether they really had been employed as instruments of sacrifice. At length attention was directed to the fact that even at the present day, in several of the islands of the South seas and in other parts, there exist races of savages who, without knowing the use of metals, employ implements of stone which have the same shape and adaptation as those which are discovered in the earth in such quantities in Denmark, and further, it was shewn in what manner those savages made use of such simple and apparently such useless implements. No one after this could longer remain in doubt that our antiquities of stone were also actually used as tools in times when metals were either unknown, or were so rare and costly, that they were only in the possession of very few individuals. That this could not have been the case in this country while inhabited by our forefathers the Goths, is evident from all historical records, we must therefore seek for the origin of the antiquities of stone in an earlier time, in fact, as we shall soon perceive, among the first inhabitants of our native land.

As soon as it was once pointed out that the whole of these antiquities could by no means be referred to one and the same period, people began to see more clearly the difference between them. We are now enabled to pronounce with certainty, that our antiquities belonging to the times of paganism may be referred to three chief classes, referable to three distinct periods. The first class includes all antiquarian objects formed of stone, respecting which we must assume that they appertain to the stone-period, as it is called, that is, to a period when the use of metals was in a great measure unknown. The second class comprises the oldest metallic objects; these however were not as yet composed of iron, but of a peculiar mixture of metals, copper and a small portion of tin melted together, to which the name of "bronze" has been given; from which circumstance the period in which this substance was commonly used has been named the bronze-period. Finally, all objects appertaining to the period when iron was generally known and employed, are included in the third class, and belong to the iron-period.

We will now consider these three classes, each by itself, and will commence naturally with the most ancient, the so called stone-period.

I. Antiquities of the Stone-period.

Denmark seems to have been raised by a powerful revolution of nature from the bosom of the sea. By degrees its naked banks of gravel became covered with aspen forests. When the land rose still higher and the dampness diminished, the aspen disappeared after having by numerous successive growths formed a way for the fir, which now spread all over the country. This species of tree continued for a very long period, but at length was compelled to give place to a very different and a higher class. At first the beech was unable to grow here. The earth was covered with oaks, of that species termed the winter oak, which differs from the now prevailing species, the summer oak; these were succeeded by groves of alders, until all was so prepared and developed that the light and beautiful beech spread its crowns over the whole country.

That Denmark in its primeval times, before it possessed its present vegetation, had passed through these four periods, is clearly proved from the ancient peat bogs, in which are found stems of trees of each distinct period lying like beds one over the other. As they are usually found lying in a prostrate position, many have supposed that the changes in vegetation have been caused by powerful and mighty phenomena in nature, such as storms and floods. This idea however is by no means probable. It is much more likely that the trees have fallen down from time to time in the bog, and that the different changes are but the result of the ordinary progressions of nature. With peculiar kinds of wood peculiar plants and animals must have been associated. At a period when the country was covered with forests of oak, in all probability there lived animals that are now extinct, such as the reindeer, the elk and the aurochs, the horns and bones of all which are frequently found. It is not improbable that these animals existed to a much later period in these forests, and that they were only exterminated by the slings, the weapons, and the traps of the inhabitants[1].

If we now enquire, whether Denmark was inhabited by men in any one of the four periods which preceded the present beech vegetation, the answer we obtain is very indefinite. The most ancient historical accounts which testify that Denmark was entirely overgrown with forests, nowhere mention that these forests consisted of any other trees than the beech. If we consider that the beech has existed here from two to three thousand years, and that each of the four other classes of trees may have required the same time for their growth and disappearance, it will unquestionably appear somewhat hazardous to refer the peopling of Denmark either to the period of the alder, or that of the oak, each of which periods dates from some thousands of years. We must, however, observe that we are here discussing the question of a period respecting which we have no certain information. It is therefore very possible that Denmark may have been inhabited prior to the vegetation of the beech.

Thus much, however, appears under all circumstances to be certain, that when the first inhabitants came to Denmark, which may have been at least three thousand years ago, they found a country covered with a continued range of enormous forests. In the interior these were almost impassable; but their density and thickness diminished as they approached the coast. The coast itself was probably quite devoid of wood: it therefore followed, as a matter of course, that the new comers would fix their dwellings in that quarter.

As the country was then rude and waste, so the first inhabitants also were rude and uncultivated in the highest degree. They did not commonly possess a knowledge of copper, of iron, or of any metals: they formed all their implements and weapons of wood, of the bones of animals, or of stone. As stone is not subject to be destroyed by being deposited in the earth, numerous instruments have been preserved to our own time, from which we can form some idea of the degree of civilization attained by the inhabitants of our native land at that period.

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One of the most useful tools, for felling trees, for forming houses, and for executing works in wood generally, was the hatchet. Their hatchets were nearly in the form of the wedges now in use, but somewhat broader, and had no regular neck. Their sizes were very various; they are found from three to fifteen inches in length, and from one to four inches in breadth[2]. With the view to their being as useful as possible, they were formed of the hardest kinds of stone, and in Denmark almost exclusively of flint. They were first rudely struck out, and were then polished. The polishing, however, is by no means alike in every part; some are found polished on all their sides, some on the two broad sides, and some merely at the edge. The edge itself was usually very sharp, yet still of tolerable thickness, which made the hatchet both stronger and more useful for working in wood. The hatchet was originally fixed to a wooden handle, but since wood, as is well known, is decomposed by lying in the ground, no such handle has hitherto been discovered in Denmark[3].

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We have, however, good grounds for supposing that the hatchet was provided with a handle, in the same manner as similar stone hatchets which are used by savage nations now existing. It was fastened either to a straight or to a crooked handle. The crooked handle was partly divided, as is seen in the hatchet figured here, which is from an island in the South Sea, so that the stone was placed in the opening, and there fastened, either with the fibres of plants or the intestines of animals. By this means this advantage was gained, that the longer the hatchet was used the stronger the stone was imbedded in its position. In some cases the handle was furnished with an incision or notch, so that by binding the upper part of the hatchet to the wood in such a manner that the neck rested against the incision, as here, (a at 1,) the inconvenience of the hatchet slipping from its fastenings, and so falling out, was avoided. The handle was often split, but it being difficult to hold the axe firmly in such a handle, we see (at 2) that the savage people who still use such handles often cover the stone with pitch, and compress the handle round it by means of thongs and ties.

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In this, or at least in some similar manner, in all probability, those of our stone hatchets were fastened which have a bent and polished edge.

The most ancient inhabitants, or as we may term them, the aborigines, would have made but little progress, had they attempted to fell a large and full-grown tree, with nothing more than so imperfect an instrument as the stone hatchet. They doubtless pursued the same method as the savages of our days, who when about to fell a tree with stone hatchets, avail themselves also of the assistance of fire, in the following manner. In the first place some of the bark is peeled off, by means of the hatchet, from the tree which is to be felled. In the opening thus made coals are placed, which are fanned till they are all consumed. By this means a portion of the stem is charred, which is then hewn away with the hatchet, and fresh coals are continually added until the tree is burned through. In our peat bogs old stems of trees have been found which appear to have been thus felled by stone hatchets with the aid of fire.

It can scarcely be doubted that their boats must have been of a very simple kind. From several relics which have been dug up[4], we may conclude that the aborigines in the usual manner of savage nations, charred the stem of the tree at the root and the summit only, and then hollowed it out by means of fire till it acquired its equilibrium on the water.


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To this use the instruments which have been termed hollow chisels, (1) were most probably destined. These like the hatchets are formed of flint, and only differ from them in the fact of their edges being always ground hollow in a very careful manner. Among the implements of this age we must also reckon some small long four-cornered pieces of stone (2) which have been named narrow chisels. They are always formed of flint, are from three to eleven inches long, have a sharp edge, and appear to have been fastened by moistened thongs to wooden handles, as in figure (3), which is a drawing of a similar implement from the South Sea. The knives, both those used for domestic purposes and those employed in works of labour, are of flint, two edged and with a broad blade, and frequently have handles hollowed out of the stone itself.

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Not unfrequently these handles are adorned with regular ornaments; at other times, they are less carefully formed, as if they had been destined to be enveloped or inserted in wood. These knives are usually from three to twelve inches in length. They are scarcely ever polished, probably because the edge is so thin that in most cases it would have broken to pieces in polishing. There are also crooked half-moon shaped knives of flint, which are occasionally provided with saw-like teeth, on which account they are named saw-blades.

In addition to these implements, which were inserted into wooden handles, the aborigines had others which were bored with regular holes for handles, that is, mauls or hammers[5], among which those which have perforations close to the neck are commonly called axes[6] They are not formed of

' flint but of softer kinds of stone, particularly trap, which is heavier and less brittle than flint.

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The boring of the hole for the handle appears, in the most ancient period, to have been executed in a very simple manner, perhaps only with a pointed stick and sand and water; the hole being bored first on one side, then on the other, and lastly broken through the middle. In length they vary from two to three inches up to twelve. It has been supposed, and not without reason, that the most simple of them, those which have the back rounded off or flat, were used as wedges for splitting trees, in which case they were struck with wooden mallets. At the same time, like the more neatly formed hammers, they might have served both for domestic purposes, and in case of need as maces or battle-axes. Nor must we forget to mention here, that in several instances hammers of bone have been found in the earth, in particular those formed of the antlers of the deer, which at one end are bored for the handle, at the other are sharpened for cutting; affording a proof that, in the absence of metals the aborigines availed themselves of other materials, beside stone.

If we form a clear conception of what is meant by being unacquainted with implements of metal, and being compelled to make use of simple and very imperfect instruments of stone, such as have been described; and if we remember, at the same time, that Denmark was at the period referred to, a rude uncultivated and woody country, it is easy to perceive, that the aborigines could scarcely have paid any particular attention to agriculture. For though the woods might be extirpated by means of fire, and it may be assumed that several of the stone hatchets, placed crosswise in crooked handles of wood, might possibly have been employed for digging the ground, yet it is clear that to render the land productive, larger and better implements were necessary than those then existing. On the other hand the conditions of nature pointed out hunting and fishing as the easiest and most available means of subsistence. The forests afforded game, and the waters fish, in abundance; while their habitations on the coast enabled the people to hunt in the woods, or fish in the waters, with equal facility.

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Proofs that they actually followed such a mode of life are afforded by the implements for fishing and hunting, formed of stone and bone, which are constantly discovered in the earth. Among the weapons of the chase the arrow-heads are particularly distinguished. They are often of flint, a few inches long, and sometimes triangular or flat, sometimes heart-shaped, which last as a rule are formed with such care that the sides are very finely notched. One peculiar kind of arrows consists of small pieces of bone, in which splinters of flint are inserted. The splinters are universally thin and small, and are fastened by a kind of cement into indentations which are cut in the sides. From the manner in which stone arrow-heads are used in certain countries at the present day, we may conclude that those of Denmark were fastened to the end of reeds, or fine slips of wood. They were then shot from a bow, that is, a stout branch of a tree, bent by a string fastened to each end of it. These bows have not hitherto been found in the North, for having been formed of wood, they have in the course of time gradually perished from lying in the earth.

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With these rude weapons for shooting it might be supposed that it was scarcely possible to take any effectual aim. But it is a fact that the people who, at the present day, make use of bows and arrows of this simple kind, exhibit extraordinary skill in shooting with them. They hit a bird on the wing with the greatest ease, even at a considerable distance; and there are even examples, for instance in Brazil, where the marksman throws himself on his back, presses his bow with his feet, and even in that position strikes his prey. Against birds and other small creatures these stone arrows might prove effectual, but against larger animals such as the aurochs[7], the elk, the reindeer, the stag, and the wild boar, they were evidently insufficient; particularly since those animals often become furious as soon as they are struck. The hunters, therefore, in their expeditions for the chase appear to have been provided, not only with a hunting-knife, or dagger like that figured above, (p. 14,) but also with a lance; fastened in a long wooden handle. This was formed of flint, nearly of the same shape as the knife, except that it had no regular grip, but ran tapering towards the end so as to be fastened into the handle.

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The implements used for catching fish, exhibit from the circumstance of their handles having perished, so much resemblance to the weapons of the chase, that it is almost impossible to draw an exact line between them. Thus, for instance, the harpoons were doubtless of precisely the same form as the arrow-heads. As was the case at an earlier period among the inhabitants of Greenland, they certainly were fastened into a handle of wood or of bone; and at the end was bored a hole, into which a longer stick was inserted for the purpose of enabling the harpooner to dart the instrument with greater force against the fish. The harpoons, however, were thrown, not so much for the purpose of killing the fish, as with the view of impeding its course, and so seizing it the more easily. To kill the fish they availed themselves of lances, similar to those employed in the chase.

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That, from the earliest times, it was the practice to catch fish by means of hooks is seen from the circumstance that such implements formed of flint are occasionally dug up. Similar objects formed of bone, are still used in remote islands. Stones, too, have often been found which appear to have been used to sink fishing-lines. Some are round, with a groove round the middle, some flat and perforated. It is possible that the use of the fishing-net, though of an imperfect form, may then have been known, in which case these stones may have been very useful.

From the mode of life pursued by these aborigines, it is scarcely to be doubted that their apparel consisted chiefly of the skins of such wild beasts as they slew in the chase. This idea is confirmed by the circumstance that bodies clad in such skins have, from time to time, been dug up in our peat bogs. These skins were sewn together in the most simple manner, without any thread, merely with strips of skin. With some of them were also found shoes, which consisted only of a single piece of hide sewn together behind, and fastened to the foot by thongs. If we admit that it is possible that the greater part of these relics belonged to a later period, since remains of woollen cloth have been discovered with them, yet we may conclude with probability from their style, that clothes of skins were not less universal at an earlier and ruder period.

As to any beautiful or costly ornaments, these arc entirely out of the question, so long as the materials in use consisted only of stone, bone, wood, or amber, while the tools with which they were to be wrought were chiefly formed of flint. Their trinkets appear to have consisted partly of great round perforated knobs, or buttons, intended to hold their clothes together over the breast, and partly of beads. These last were chiefly made of amber, since this substance was found on the coasts, possibly in greater quantities than is the case at present. The beads were either shaped in the form of hammers and axes, or rounded off nearly like those now in use, or, more particularly the larger ones, were quite rough and unshaped, and merely perforated. The largest pieces of amber being doubtless the most valuable, their possessors were probably desirous not to diminish their value by rounding or polishing them. Several were occasionally slung together and worn round the neck, in such a manner as to reach down to the breast.

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Beads and ornaments formed of the bones of animals were also worn in the same way.

We have seen how the aborigines lived and laboured: let us now briefly consider in what way they interred their dead. The bodies were not burned, but placed in chambers which were formed of large flat stones within elevated mounds or barrows, together with the implements, weapons, and ornaments which the deceased when alive had most frequently used. The bodies were also occasionally deposited in vessels of burnt clay. These were in general filled with fine loose earth, but in some cases they appear to have contained provisions placed there in order that the deceased might not feel hunger during their journey to the other world. The largest earthen vessels, it is supposed, were originally made for cooking; what may have been the purpose of the smaller and more finely wrought specimens, which are only found in the tombs appertaining to the stone-period, is uncertain. They are for the most part only a few inches high, and are not formed for standing upright, but have, near the mouth, small holes or handles by which they were probably suspended.

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Lastly, in the graves, scattered bones, among others those of the stag, elk, wild boar, dog, and often the teeth of horses, have been found, but it does not appear to have been the practice to bury any of these animals, except perhaps occasionally the dog, with the deceased. By this means we learn that, during this period, domesticated animals, dogs and horses at all events, existed in Denmark.

Objects of stone very similar to these which we have described in this portion of our work, are found in the North, out of Denmark, most frequently in the south of Sweden, while they very rarely occur in Norway or the north of Sweden. They are also met with along the southern coast of the Baltic, in Hanover, Holland, England, Scotland, Ireland, and in several places in France, Spain, and Portugal.

It is probable also that there has been a period in which civilization had attained a higher point in these countries than it had in Denmark. It would appear that objects of stone occur more rarely in the south and east of Europe, but upon this point further information is to be desired. Future investigations will determine whether such objects are confined to certain districts, or whether they are not rather spread over the whole face of the globe. For similar objects have already been found in various parts of Asia, Africa, and America.

It must excite our astonishment that any uncivilized people should be capable of producing such well-finished instruments of stone. The arrow-heads figured above are so admirably formed, that at the present day, with all the advantage of our modern tools of metal, we could scarcely equal, certainly could not surpass them; even into the handles of the knives very neatly executed ornaments are introduced; and yet it is supposed the use of metals was not understood. We can easily see and understand how the arrow-head or axe was first formed and afterwards polished; for indeed in several instances the very whetstones have been found near such stone implements; we are also able to prove that the greater part of the arrow-heads are formed of flints, which the makers knew how to split out of large masses of that stone. But the manner in which they contrived by means of a stone, so to split the flint, and that too, into such long and slender pieces, is still a mystery to us; for from those uncivilized nations which still make use of stone implements no satisfactory information has yet been obtained as to the mode in which they manufacture them. Some have been of opinion that the aborigines endeavoured to prevent the splitting of the stone by boiling it, or by keeping it under water while they fashioned it into the desired form. Others, on the contrary, have maintained, that such stone implements could not possibly have been so well formed by means of a stone, but must have been the work of those who were possessed of the necessary metal. Probably the truth lies between these two opinions, namely, in the supposition, that in the earliest times, when the use of metals was unknown, the stone implements were of the very simplest make, but that at a later period, when some had attained to the use of metals, they assumed a more perfect and handsome form. For it must be borne in mind that the use of instruments of stone unquestionably extended over a very long period.

Lastly, we must not lose sight of this fact, that the weapons and instruments of stone which are found in the north, in Japan, in America, the South Sea Islands and elsewhere, have for the most part such an extraordinary resemblance to one another in point of form, that one might almost suppose the whole of them to have been the production of the same maker. The reason of this is very obvious, namely, that their form is that which first and most naturally suggests itself to the human mind.

These objects of stone are therefore not only of the highest interest to us, as monuments of the earliest inhabitants who traversed the extensive forests of Denmark, but also as examples of the earliest productions of human ingenuity which history has produced.

II. Antiquities of the Bronze-period.

If, without any reference to history, we should seek to determine which of the two metals, copper or iron, was first discovered and used for weapons and tools, we should very readily come to a conclusion in favour of that which is most easily recognised as a metal when in the earth. Now, we know that copper is found in the mines in a state of such comparative purity as to require very little smelting for the purpose of being brought into a state fit for use, while, on the other hand, iron in its rough state looks more like a stone than a metal, and, moreover, before it can be worked at all, must be subjected to a difficult process of smelting by means of a very powerful fire. If we look at the question only on this side, we are forced to conclude, that copper must have been found and employed before iron. And this is confirmed, not only by early historical notices, but also by recent investigations of ancient remains. In Asia, from whence the greater portion, probably all, the European races have migrated, numerous implements and weapons of copper have been discovered in a particular class of graves; nay, in some of the old and long abandoned mines in that country, workmen's tools have been discovered, made of copper, and of very remote antiquity. We see, moreover, how at a later period attempts were made to harden copper, and to make it better suited for cutting implements by a slight intermixture principally of tin. Hence arose that mixed metal to which the name of 'bronze' has been given, and which, according to the oldest writers of Greece and Rome, was generally used in the southern countries before iron.

That that was the case farther north, and that in Denmark there was once a time,—the so-called bronze-period,—in which weapons and cutting instruments were made of bronze, because the use of iron was either not known at all, or very imperfectly, we learn with certainty from our antiquities. We must not however by any means believe that the bronze-period developed itself among the aborigines, gradually, or step by step, out of the stone-period. On the contrary, instead of the simple and uniform implements and ornaments of stone, bone, and amber, we meet suddenly with a number and variety of splendid weapons, implements, and jewels of bronze, and sometimes indeed with jewels of gold. The transition is so abrupt, that from the antiquities we are enabled to conclude, what in the following pages will be further developed, that the bronze-period must have commenced with the irruption of a new race of people, possessing a higher degree of cultivation than the early inhabitants.

As bronze tools and weapons spread over the land, the ancient and inferior implements of stone and bone were, as a natural consequence, superseded. This change however was by no means so rapid as to enable us to maintain with certainty, that from the beginning of the bronze-period, no stone implements were used in Denmark. The universal diffusion of metals could only take place by degrees. Since in Denmark itself, neither copper nor tin occurs, so that these metals, being introduced from other countries, were, of necessity, expensive, the poorer classes continued for a long series of years to make use of stone as their material; but it also appears that the richer, at all events in the earlier periods, in addition to their bronze implements, still used others of stone, particularly such as would have required a large quantity of metal for their formation. In tombs therefore which decidedly belong to the bronze-period, we occasionally meet with wedges and axes, knives and axes, but most frequently hammers, all of stone, which must have been used at a much later period. A great number of them are very carefully wrought, and also bear evident marks of having been bored through with round metal cylinders. But although implements of stone and bronze were at a certain period used together; yet it is an established fact that a period first prevailed during which stone alone was used for implements and weapons; and that, subsequently, a time arrived when the use of bronze appears to have been the all-prevailing custom.

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Among the implements of bronze which are of most frequent occurrence are the Paalstabs [8] as they are called, which are from three to nine inches in length, of the shape of a chisel expanded towards the edge. They were fastened at the smaller end to a wooden handle[9]. They were probably used as a kind of axe or pickaxe, at all events similar tools of iron attached to wooden handles, are still used in Iceland as crow-bars. There are many of these objects which have a regular cavity at the upper end for the handle. In a hill in Jutland a specimen was discovered which was fastened to the handle in the manner here figured.

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The handle was not more than about eight inches in length, and was fastened beneath by three rings of leather. In several instances it has also been observed that the handle had been fastened by nails. From the inconsiderable length of the handle, it is scarcely probable that the Paalstab could have been intended for a weapon. It may occasionally have been used as such, but in general it was unquestionably employed merely for wood-work and for splitting stone.

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Celts are instruments of another form. These are always hollowed out to receive a wooden handle, the ear[10], which is frequently introduced at the side, having probably served to fasten it to such handle by means of a thong. The axes of this period nearly resemble those of iron which are now in use, nor do the large knives offer any peculiarity, with the exception that some of them are crooked and formed exactly like a sickle. With iron knives of similar kind the corn is now cut in many places, particularly where the ground is so stony that large scythes are useless.

So important a change in the nature of the implements employed, as that from stone to metal, must naturally have exerted a very extensive influence on the mode of life, as well as on civilization in general. In the most ancient times the aborigines were compelled to follow hunting and fishing, and to construct their dwellings on the sea-coast, since with their imperfect implements they were scarcely able to pluck up the primeval forests by the roots and to engage in agriculture, a branch of industry to which the flat and fertile plains of Denmark are particularly adapted. As soon however as this difficulty was removed by the circumstance of the most cultivated and at the same time the most powerful part of the population becoming possessed of useful metallic implements, hunting and fishing were less followed, and instead of these occupations men began to till the earth. The inhabitants now no longer found sufficient space on the coasts, and having extirpated the forests in the interior of the country, partly by fire, partly by the axe, they spread themselves over the whole land, and at the same time laid the foundation for an agriculture, which up to the present day is one of the principal industrial resources of Denmark. From this time we must probably date the origin of villages; for the cultivation of the earth, and the peaceful employments connected with this pursuit, soon induced men to draw together, both for the purpose of affording mutual advice and assistance to each other, and also of combining to repel those hostile assaults which in such unquiet times were probably far from infrequent. But the inhabitants were by no means limited to the occupation of peaceful husbandry. Even in the stone-period the aborigines possessed boats or canoes, a consequence naturally arising from the intrusion of the sea into Denmark, but such rude vessels were at most employed merely for short voyages along the coast, or between the different parts of the land. At a later period, however, the introduction of a higher degree of civilization and the commerce with other countries thus occasioned, caused the inhabitants to be no longer satisfied with simple canoes hollowed out of stems of trees, but induced them to construct regular ships in which they could venture with confidence from the coast into the open sea. To sail across the ocean, and to wield the sword in sanguinary conflict, for the sake of winning glory and booty, formed from the earliest times the occupation and the delight of the inhabitants of the North. They were therefore evidently seamen as well as warriors. We may regard as memorials of their numerous sharp encounters with their enemies, the weapons which are exhumed in astonishing quantities from the barrows in which they were deposited, beside the ashes of the heroes who wielded them. Among such weapons the swords are particularly observable.

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These occur so plentifully that hundreds have been collected, while many have perished in the course of time, and the earth still covers the greatest number of them. They are somewhat short, seldom more than two feet six inches in length, generally shorter and two-edged, so that the blade is thickest in the middle[11]. From this circumstance it is probable that these swords were more used for stabbing than for cutting. The hilts in some cases are of wood, and have been fastened to the handle with nails; in others they are of bronze melted and spread over a nucleus of clay, the reason of which in all probability is that metal was then very precious. In some few specimens the handles are covered with plates of gold, or wound round with gold wire. It is not superfluous to observe that these handles are always very small, a fact which tends to prove that the men who used these swords were but of moderate stature and by no means so gigantic as many have represented the ancient inhabitants of Denmark to have been. The scabbards for these swords, were of wood, covered both externally and internally with leather, and also for the most part guarded with metal at the end. One of the peculiar characteristics of the bronze swords is that they were never provided with guards at the handle, either in the form of plates or points, and in this circumstance they differ from all modern swords. On the other hand, the daggers and lance-heads of bronze were of a form similar to those of later date, which are of iron. The spear-heads were about twelve inches in length[12], and were probably made for the insertion

of a wooden handle, at the end of which was introduced a point formed of metal. Battle-axes of metal were also in use.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 070a.png

That which is here figured is of considerable size. It is fifteen inches in length, and weighs not less than seven pounds. That battle-axes of this character formed of bronze were not unusual in the ages of antiquity is evident from the fact, that beside that already mentioned, two similar ones have been found in Scandinavia, one at Fühnen, the other at Schonen, of which however the latter alone is decorated with

spiral ornaments. It is moreover probable that the axes already mentioned among the implements, were employed on several occasions as weapons of warfare.

Nor did the Northmen at this period merely manufacture weapons of attack of so splendid and costly a character; their attention was equally directed to the means of protecting themselves from the swords of their enemies. Three large round shields have been discovered made entirely of bronze, the smallest of which, as figured below, is about nineteen, the two others about twenty-four inches in diameter.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 071.png

These shields are formed of somewhat thin plates of bronze, the edge being turned over a thick wire of metal, to prevent the sword from penetrating too deeply. The handle is formed of a cross bar, placed at the reverse side of the centre boss, which is hollowed out for the purpose of admitting the hand[13]. In general, however, their shields were of a more simple kind, for instance of wood covered with leather, and sometimes also bordered with metal. There occur also round metal plates, with protruding points, which it is supposed must have covered the middle of such shields. They are in general very beautifully wrought, and adorned with the same kind of spiral ornaments as the battle-axe already mentioned.

Of helmets, one single relic alone has hitherto been discovered, namely the piece which covered the chin, together with two bars which went over the face. The chin-piece is partly gilded, that is, covered with a thin plate of gold, and on the whole of the exterior surface the most beautiful spiral ornaments are engraved. Though but a fragment, it is of course sufficient to shew that helmets were actually in use at this period.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 073.png

Those remarkable objects designated Lures (Luren)[14], which were formed of molten bronze, must be regarded as war trumpets, with which the signal for attack was given. If they were stretched out to their full length they would in general be about six feet in length; when bent they are about three feet and a half long. In all probability the trumpet was borne by the player over the shoulder in such a manner that he held the mouth-piece with his right hand while with his left he grasped the broad disk; and therefore this disk being to be prominently shewn, was adorned with circular elevations and ring ornaments. In one single instance a long chain of metal was attached to the lure, being fastened to the mouth-piece and to the opposite end, an arrangement which must have proved eminently serviceable when the player wished to rest, or had to carry the instrument any great distance. Several of these lures are still in so good a state of preservation as to allow of being played upon, and their sound, which is something between the bugle and the trumpet, is not so dull as might be supposed.

Since their weapons and warlike implements were of such a kind, it cannot excite our wonder that these people possessed a considerable quantity of trinkets, many of which were very tasteful. Large hair-pins, nearly a foot long, adorned with knobs, and inlaid with gold and all kinds of ornaments; combs, partly of bronze, partly of small pieces of bones rivetted together; rings for the hair of the most varied forms, occasionally with broad expanded ends; and finally the so-termed diadems, which beyond all doubt were fastened over the forehead, all shew us that ornaments for the hair occupied no mean place among the trinkets of that time.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 074a.png

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 074b.png

They also wore round the neck rings, which were frequently hollow, doubtless for the purpose of being filled with a soft substance, so as both to lessen their weight and pressure, and at the same time to give them a more splendid appearance, and spare the metal. Among the ornaments peculiar to the age of bronze must be specified the winding spiral-formed armlets, and which are generally upwards of twelve inches in length, and therefore capable of covering almost the whole of the arm. Their flexibility secured this advantage, that they could be expanded as the arm increased in circumference. In some cases they might afford protection to the arm against the blow of a sword.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 074c.png

But we know nothing with certainty as to the nature of the costume which was most frequently worn in connection with these ornaments. That those who lived during the age of bronze were not clad like the aborigines, chiefly in the skins of animals, we may conclude from the degree of civilization to which they had attained, and the rather because in the tombs of this period small pieces of woollen stuff are found, probably the remains of entire garments which have rotted away in the earth, and which are still woven in a very simple manner. Yet it is possible that these dresses were occasionally very neat and tasteful, for had they not been so the ornaments would not have produced suitable effect. At the same time it is by no means assumed that garments of skins or hides were never used; as from the nature of the climate if from no other cause, the inhabitants were compelled to wear furs, which of course were easily to be obtained in the country itself. The garments were either fastened together by double buttons, which resembled the studs or shirt buttons now in use, or by buckles or fibulæ, formed of two round plates of metal, connected by a small bar of iron, something resembling the shape of our spectacles, at the back part of which was placed a pin. Buckles or fibulae also occur of different forms; they are sometimes made of a bent piece of metal, and are provided with a spiral-shaped spring, ending in a pointed pin, which enters an aperture fitted to receive it.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 075.png

All these weapons and ornaments of bronze which we have here considered, when first discovered are usually covered with a greenish rust. On the rust being removed, the bronze is found to be so beautiful a metal that it might easily be mistaken for gold, did we not know that gold never rusts, however long it may be buried in the earth. Gold, however, as appears from our previous remarks on the inlaying of swords, helmets, and buttons, was by no means unknown at this time[15]. It was used both for bracelets and rings for the fingers, which are often formed of gold wire twisted in a spiral shape, like the threads of the large bronze bracelets already mentioned.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 076a.png

In several instances entire cups of gold have been found[16], of which the two last discovered, which were ploughed up at Boeslunde in the neighbourhood of

Slagelse, are seven inches in diameter at the mouth, and four inches in height. All the others which had been previously discovered are certainly considerably smaller. The use or object of these singular vessels is not easily explained, since nothing has yet been found with them capable of affording explanation on this point. Some persons have been of opinion that the larger were used as urns for ashes. For it was the custom in the bronze-period to burn the bodies of the dead on large funeral piles, after which the small portions of bone which remained, together with the ashes, were placed in the cinereal urns, as they were styled, and were deposited in barrows. These urns for ashes were usually formed of clay, and in the preparation of them considerable skill is displayed, but they also occur formed of metal, and as a rule are then distinguished by the neatness of their form and the tasteful character of their ornaments. In cases where the ashes and bones remaining from the consumed body were placed in the urn, they observed the custom of placing on the top of the bones and in the middle of the vessel various trifles of bronze, probably from some superstitious motive or other. Thus buttons, hair-pins[17], very small pincers, or as they are frequently termed, pinzetten, of the form here figured, together with needles, which were quadrangular at one end, and at the other pointed, and stuck like awls in handles of wood or bronze; and lastly knives, which were somewhat small, and with bent handles, and occasionally had some very beautifully engraved ornaments on one side.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 078b.png

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 078a.png

These last-mentioned objects appear to have been partly used in sewing, and are usually found together[18].

In considering the various antiquities of the bronze-period, our attention cannot but be struck by the manner in which they are wrought, and the very considerable degree of skill displayed in their construction. The greater part of the objects are cast, but the casting is neither rude nor common. In this point of view a very remarkable battle-axe of bronze requires particular mention. It is sixteen inches in length, and is ten inches broad at the edge. At the end of the neck there is a very handsome knob, and one of similar kind surmounts the hole made to the handle, and in which the remains of the wooden shaft still exist. Along the broad sides are circular cavities, with a raised knob in the middle of them, into part of which a thin plating of gold has been inlaid. The axe is also embellished with ornaments imitating flame. This splendid specimen is composed of a very small portion of metal, cast upon a nucleus or filling of clay, which extends as far as the edge, so that the axe in point of fact consists merely of clay, coated with a thin plating of metal. Hence it is probable that it was never used as a weapon, but rather perhaps as an emblem of command, a sort of general's baton, or something of a similar nature.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 079.png

Not less remarkable than this skill in casting, is the height to which the art of working in gold had been attained at so early a period. This circumstance will be most clearly evinced by the fact that the beautiful gold cup figured above (p. 36,) like the others of the same kind has been hammered from a massive piece of gold. Among many other very elegant bronze objects, a portion of a small and very thinly cast vessel has been preserved, in which traces of inlaid work are perceptible. On the lower side are ornaments in the form of rays of light, which are deeply engraved, and are filled up with a black substance, which is now in a partially dissolved state. The ornaments on the whole deserve particular attention, not only on account of the care and skill with which they are for the most part executed, but in particular because they are of a peculiar kind, such as never occur in so decided a form either before or after this period. We possess therefore in these objects a tolerably certain means of determining how far any articles of bronze thus discovered may be regarded as belonging to the bronze-period or not; and by enquiring in what countries similar antiquarian ornaments exist, we shall doubtless in time arrive at a better knowledge of the relations which the then existing nations bore to each other than we now possess. The most characteristic ornaments of the bronze period, and at the same time those most frequently used, but which, as might be expected, occur with more or less of variation, may be arranged in four classes. Spiral ornaments are the most peculiar, and also the most ancient. The ring ornaments occur particularly on objects of larger size, for instance on the lures or trumpets, shields, and the like, and appear to be more modern[19]; while the wave ornaments may be regarded as the most modern, and as forming the transition to those ornaments which became general in the iron-period.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 021a.png

Spiral ornament.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 021b.png

Double Spiral.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 021c.png

Ring Ornament.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 021d.png

Wave Ornament.

The question will here very naturally arise, were these bronzes wrought in Denmark itself, or were they brought in a finished state from other countries. The answer to this question is not without importance to our history. For if we can assume that these objects are actually native productions, we here have a decided proof that its inhabitants in the bronze-period were in possession of a certain degree of civilization. A rude people, who led a savage and warlike life, without possessing either a knowledge or a love of the arts of peace, could scarcely have possessed either mind or energy to produce works which often display both taste and skill of a striking kind.

That our bronze antiquities were brought by the Romans, who by their conquests in Gaul and Britain during the first centuries after the birth of Christ occasioned a complete revolution in the civilization of the north-west of Europe, is altogether incredible. It is true that there occur in Italy a number of bronze implements and weapons which are somewhat similar to our own, as for instance paalstabs, celts and spear-heads, but as these bronzes want the peculiar ornaments above described, they prove nothing more than that certain implements and weapons had the same form among different nations. It is besides a settled point that the Romans when they made war in Gaul and in Britain, had long been in possession of iron, and made use of weapons which were of a totally different form from the bronze weapons found in Denmark. Nor in all probability have these bronzes reached us from Greece, although both with regard to their form and ornaments, particularly the spiral ornaments, a greater similarity appears to exist between those which occur in the North, and those found in the most ancient tombs of Greece. For independently of the fact that the latter have hitherto occurred but seldom, so that our knowledge of them is extremely imperfect, they belong to so very remote a period, 1000 or 1400 years before the birth of Christ, that we can by no means be justified in supposing that any active intercourse then existed between countries so remote from each other. If on the other hand we reflect that the bronzes here described with their peculiar spiral ornaments occur within certain limits of the North, it certainly may not be altogether improbable that we must look for their manufacture at home, or within such limits. Hitherto they have been met with in the greatest number in Denmark and the neighbouring province of Mecklenburg, but they have about the same northerly limit as the stone objects, while they occur but singly in the provinces immediately beyond the ancient Danish land of Schonen, and scarcely at all in the north of Sweden, or in Norway. In England, Ireland, France, the south and east districts of the north of Germany, as well as in Hungary, cutting instruments and other antiquities of bronze are met with, but in none of the countries named, as far as is known, do they completely accord with those of Denmark and Mecklenburg; that is, they are never adorned with spiral ornaments like those of Denmark and its vicinity. The native character of these objects is farther evidenced by the fact that in Mecklenburg, a number of bronzes have been found accompanied by the moulds in which they were cast[20], together with pieces of unwrought metal; and that in Denmark collections of broken weapons, tools, and ornaments intended for smelting have been found: and that among other objects a thin bronze vessel has been discovered which is filled inside with the thick hard mass of clay over which it was cast and which could scarcely have been brought from a foreign country. Still less would any one have brought hither the casting as it is technically styled, that is, the small portion of metal which in casting runs into the aperture and is subsequently removed in finishing the object. But since similar pieces are found here in connection with antiquities appertaining to the bronze-period, the casting and the other work must in all probability have been executed on the spot; from which circumstance it may be observed that the most ancient forms and ornaments have been introduced with the knowledge of metals, rather than conceived originally in the North. In like manner the bronze and the gold, which are nowhere found in the country, are of foreign introduction. These metals might easily have been introduced, in the rude state, either from Russia, from the Ural mountains, or from England, where, as is well known, tin and copper, the constituents of bronze, occur in considerable quantities, and where gold may have been found in ancient times: while we may account for its presence here either by supposing that the transit took place direct by sea, or that the metal was first transmitted to countries nearer England, and thence by barter was brought to the North. This fact, at least, is evident, that almost all bronzes which are referable to that primeval time, when iron was not generally known or employed, are formed of a peculiar mixture of metals, which is constantly the same in all the countries in which they are found. It contains for instance about nine tenths of copper and one tenth of tin, while the more modern bronze which, subsequently to the knowledge of iron, was used for ornaments, vessels, and the like, was usually formed of equal quantities of copper and zinc. Hence it is highly probable that the ancient bronze formed of copper and tin, was diffused from one spot over the whole of Europe; which spot may be supposed to be England, because, not to mention the quantity of copper which that country produces, its rich tin mines have been known from the earliest historic periods to the nations of the south, while in the other parts of Europe there occur only very few and doubtful remains of other and far less important tin mines, which we are justified in believing to have been worked at that time. It must however be observed, that according to Cæsar the Britons in his time used imported bronze, (ære utuntur importato.)

Hitherto no inscriptions or traces of characters have been discovered in the antiquities of the bronze-period, although judging from their skill in working metals, it would not be unreasonable to suppose that the people, at all events, towards the close of that period, may have understood the art of writing.

III. Antiquities of the Iron-period.

As our native land evinced a peculiar developement in the bronze-period, so during that of iron it yielded to that more modern civilization which, by degrees, diffused itself over Europe. Not only had civilization at length attained to such a point that all cutting instruments were made of iron, but at the same time a new taste had established itself in the North. The difference between the bronze-period and that of iron, consists not only in the circumstance that in the iron-period people continued to make use of iron for those objects which they had previously formed of bronze, (for they still continued to use this latter metal for trinkets, vessels, &c.,) but it is displayed essentially by the fact, that the character of all the works in the iron-period both with reference to their material but more particularly to their forms, their ornaments and their workmanship in general, is completely changed. It is however not possible to indicate with clearness or precision, any gradual transition from the ancient to the modern taste.

The period in which this alteration may have taken place is difficult to determine; since the ancient Sagas and traditions do not make any mention of the inhabitants of this country being compelled for want of iron to use implements and weapons of bronze. Meanwhile it will appear from enquiries which we shall pursue in future pages, that the bronze period was in all probability supplanted at a comparatively modern date, since all the objects in the succeeding age, plainly exhibit the influence of a more modern civilization; and at all events the close of paganism is clearly reflected in this iron-period. In treating of this epoch we feel more confidence than in the period either of stone or of bronze, because we possess a tolerable number of written memorials on which we may rely, when explaining many of the antiquities belonging to it.

Christianity first began to be generally diffused in the North about 900 years ago. Up to that time, the people of the North were mere heathens, who acknowledged a religion which chiefly excited them to conflicts and to deeds of arms. They believed that those heroes alone who fell in the field, would go to Odin the god of the brave, or enter into Valhalla, the abode of the blessed. Here they should pass their time in joy and delight. During the day it was said the fallen giants contended in a forest before Valhalla, until they fell beneath each other's blows, but towards evening they came to life again and rode back to Valhalla. Wearied with the fight, they refreshed themselves here by a splendid banquet; and in common with the gods feasted on the swine Särimner, whose flesh constantly renews itself, nor did they forget to drink plentifully of the choicest beer and mead.

As valour was regarded as the highest virtue, so cowardice was stamped as the basest of crimes. From his earliest youth the native of the North sought for warlike fame. While a mere stripling the Northman practised the use of the sword, which when he had grown to manhood he never allowed to rust in its scabbard. If there were no troubles at home to afford him the opportunity of displaying his courage, he adopted the predatory life of a Viking, and eagerly undertook warlike expeditions, or made descents upon foreign countries, for the purpose of winning both glory and booty. In the winter, he sate at home in his hall surrounded by his retainers; but in the spring he again took to the sea, and frequently encountered other Vikings[21], from the North. Joining their forces they visited with their terrors not only the countries of the Baltic, but also England and France, whose coasts were scarcely ever free from their plundering visitations; and even countries lying farther to the south, as Italy and Spain: and wherever they committed their ravages and devastation they left sanguinary traces of their formidable swords.

The peculiar life of the Viking, in accordance with which single warriors (Vikings) undertook each on his own account continual expeditions to foreign countries, appears to have had its home chiefly in Norway and in Sweden; a fact which may be readily accounted for, since the mountainous and woody character of these countries, which are but little calculated for agriculture, compelled the inhabitants of them to seek for subsistence in lands better provided than their own. On the other hand in a country so flat, and in some parts, so fertile as Denmark, where agriculture had early taken root, a considerable number of its inhabitants were probably engaged in the cultivation of the fields; from which circumstance we may the more easily explain the fact, which is related of the Danes, that in general they did not so often undertake these predatory expeditions singly, as in larger bodies, which were commanded by kings or chiefs of royal descent. Numbers of Danish warriors, who yielded neither in bravery nor cruelty to the other Northmen, made extensive conquests among other nations, towards the conclusion of the eighth and during the whole of the ninth century; when all the small Danish kingdoms were united under one ruler, Gorm the ancient. From this period these expeditions ceased for a time, while Christianity diffused itself by degrees over the country, but the ancient rude warrior spirit, and the lust of conquest which inspired the nation, were not subdued without considerable resistance. The first Christian king, Harald Blaatand, (about 990,) was slain in a tumult of the heathens, and his son Svend Tveskiäg, who destroyed the churches, and slew or drove out the Christians, again undertook expeditions to England, which he at length conquered, after having, according to the pagan custom, fearfully wasted it by fire and sword. His successor Knut the Great it was who first established Christianity, and with it more gentle manners in Denmark. To so warlike a people as the heathenish Danes, and in so troubled a time, when no man could feel safe from the attacks of strangers, and all were consequently obliged to be constantly prepared for conflict, good weapons were naturally of extraordinary importance. Skilful armourers were then in great request, and although in other cases the Danish warrior would have thought it unbecoming and dangerous to disturb the peace of the dead, he did not scruple to break open a barrow, or a grave, if by such means he could obtain the renowned weapon which had been deposited beside the hero who had wielded it.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 089a.png

The iron swords of this period were somewhat larger than those of bronze, but more rarely two edged[22]. At the end of the handle, which was covered with wood, leather, bone, or stag's horn, which however is now consumed, a tolerably large knob or boss was introduced, with the view of forming a counterpoise to the blade. The introduction of a guard also indicates a nearer approach to the more regular form of swords. The handle, or to speak more correctly, the knob and the guard, among the rich, were surrounded with chains of gold, or covered with plates of gold and silver; and swords with handles entirely of silver have also been discovered. In general the handles of the iron swords are longer than those of the bronze, but still without having, on this account, a striking or unusual size.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 090.png

The sheaths, which were chiefly made of wood, and covered with leather, in addition to the buckle and the other metallic ornaments, were also adorned at the end nearest the handle with a massive, oblong, flat gold ring of considerable value.

This latter object was often beautifully adorned with winding patterns; and in one instance a small clasp was introduced at the upper side, probably for the purpose of fastening the thong with which they bound the handle, to prevent the sword from being drawn from its scabbard.

The high estimation in which our ancestors held their swords, will appear from the circumstance that the heroes usually gave names to them, which afterwards lived in the songs of the Scalds. Thus, according to tradition, "Skrep" was the name of the sword which Vermund the Wise gave to his son Uffe, when he went forth to fight against the haughty Saxons, and there was no other sword which would have been proportioned to his strength; Rolf Krage's sword was named "Skofnung[23]."

Among the other weapons of attack beside swords, were battle axes, somewhat broad, but very simple in form. Neither the lance nor the spear was distinguished by any particular formation. Javelins also appear to have been much used, as several different kinds of them are mentioned in the Sagas[24]. In this class it has been supposed that we are to include the spears with hooks, not unfrequently found in the graves, and which were fitted for the insertion of a wooden handle. The handle itself was furnished with a thong, to give increased force to the throw; and appears to have been partially split at the end, and to have been furnished with feathers. The little arrows which were used for shooting birds, were of course by no means so large as the javelins. They were not merely three and four edged, but usually flat, and occasionally furnished with barbed hooks. Among the most usual weapons of defence, the ancient Sagas mention helmets, coats of mail, armour, and shields. The fact that of the three first-named objects scarcely any relics at all have reached us, is by no means difficult to explain. The helmets, which were furnished with crests, usually in the shape of animals[25], were probably in most cases only the skins of the heads of animals, drawn over a frame-work of wood or leather, as the coat of mail was usually of strong quilted linen, or thick woven cloth. Lastly, the armour which covered the breast was formed, it is true, of metal, either in iron rings attached to each other, or of plates fastened on each other like scales, but it certainly was only a few individuals who had the means and opportunity of obtaining such expensive objects. The shields, on the other hand, were in general use; they had commonly the same form as the shields of the


The primeval antiquities of Denmark 092a.png

though they were not wholly composed of metal, but consisted of a frame of wood, covered with leather, in the midst of which was an iron boss, which received and protected the hand.

They were almost always painted, and inlaid with gold, or ornamented with figures in relief; occasionally symbols were introduced into the shield, which gave rise to the introduction of armorial bearings, as every succeeding race preserved its own particular symbol.

A nearer examination of the weapons here mentioned would suffice to shew that the purity in the form and workmanship, which we so much admired in the bronze-period, had been supplanted, and had given place to a totally different taste. We no longer find anything corresponding to the splendid swords, battle-axes, bosses of shields, and lures. But this difference becomes more plain and obvious when we place before our eyes the trinkets and ornaments of the iron-period.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 093.png

As a characteristic ornament of this period, we must point out the oval shell-shaped breast-clasps, as they are termed, of brass. They consist chiefly of a convex plate of metal which is usually gilded, to which another metal plate is attached, having open-work and loop ornaments, so that the gilding of the lower plate shewed through. On the reverse the iron pin of the brooch is placed. Probably they may have served as female ornaments; and they are found usually in pairs, whence we may conclude that they were worn one on each breast.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 094a.png

That they are positively to be referred to the last period of paganism, we know with complete certainty, because they are frequently found in graves in Ireland[27], which country was first peopled by pagan Norwegians, at the close of the ninth century. In connection with these oval ornaments, some other clasps, called the trefoil-shaped clasps, were occasionally deposited.

On the obverse they are embellished with the loop ornaments; on the reverse an iron pin is introduced, which is fastened in a ring. It is therefore evident that these were also clasps. Although there are several different ornaments of the same kind, we will pass over them as of minor importance, and call attention to the numerous gold ornaments of the same period. In the bronze-period most of the ornaments were of the common metals, occasionally covered with thin gold plates, and much more rarely of massive gold; now the very reverse is the case. At the same time we do not find the gold altogether unalloyed. It was used with a portion of silver, fused with it, by which a metal has been produced to which the name of electrum has been given. Objects of pure silver alone, which, it is known, have never been discovered in barrows together with remains from the bronze-period, also occur in this period, although they are by no means so general in Denmark as articles of gold.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 095a.png

The superior style of these trinkets, as they are occasionally found, will appear from the circumstance that our forefathers also possessed ornaments for the head, which were of massive gold. That which is here figured was found some years ago at Stamp, in the neighbourhood of Haderslev, and is particularly remarkable, because on the reverse of the broad plate, which probably adorned the forehead, is seen the word The primeval antiquities of Denmark 095b.png (lvþro), which probably denoted the name of its possessor. In case the name of a man was here expressed, which is not improbable, the inscription would tend to confirm the former supposition, that it was by no means women only, but doubtless men also, who were adorned with such ornaments. It will be impossible at the present day to determine whether rings were worn in ancient times exclusively by men or women, for which reason we will treat of these ornaments together.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 096a.png

Still larger and more costly than the ornaments for the head just described, are the rings which in all probability were worn round the neck[28]. They are composed of two

separate rings, each of which forms about three fourths of a circle, and which are held together by two small clasps. To attach these ornaments round the neck, it was necessary to separate the rings, and to unite the ends again by means of these clasps. They thus presented the same appearance as if the wearer had had two very valuable gold rings round his neck, which appeared more splendid than they actually were, because the more massive portion of each ring was turned outwards on the breast.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 096b.png

These rings were also adorned with wrought plates of gold, in which pieces of coloured glass were occasionally inlaid, but they were more frequently hung round with gold bracteates, as they were termed. These were formed of very thin plates, one side of which is, in some cases, stamped with an imitation of the coins of foreign countries.

These bracteates[29] are however in general of so peculiar a

character, that it is either wholly impossible, or at all events extremely difficult, to ascertain the original coins after which they are wrought. The Runic inscriptions which are frequently introduced in the margin, have afforded but little explanation, since it has not as yet been possible to interpret the many peculiar Runic characters of which the inscriptions consist. In general however we may assume with confidence that the coins of Eastern Rome and Arabia have furnished the original of these imitations. Roman and Oriental coins themselves were also used for ornaments of this kind, when furnished with a border and a loop. Gold bracteates have been found of various sizes, from half an inch to six inches in diameter. In general they occur either in connection with several similar ones, so that they must originally have formed whole necklaces, or they are found with different kinds of beads.

As such beads formed a very favourite ornament in ancient times, and also deserve a peculiar degree of attention, on account of their nature and construction, we shall here introduce a more detailed account of them. The most simple are of amber and burnt clay, the others of rock crystal, cornelian, gold, silver, or some other metal; the latter being usually very thin, and filled within with clay; they were also constructed of glass, and finally of mosaic, as it was termed. At the period which we are considering glass could scarcely have been manufactured in the North. It must have been brought from other countries, and was therefore unquestionably of considerable rarity; on which account beads of common white or green glass were also used. For the purpose of giving these glass beads a resemblance to gold, they were occasionally covered with a thin plating of that metal, over which again was poured a slight layer of glass. Such beads formed the transition between beads of gold and of mosaic. Those of mosaic consist either of clay, in which pieces of coloured glass and bits of enamel are inlaid, or, (which is however much more rarely the case,) of glass globules which, with admirable skill, are first covered with plates of gold, and pieces of glass of the most varied colours, together with bits of enamel, and then again are overlaid with a coating of glass, through which may be seen the gold and the variegated colours[30]. Of such beads, which are equally distinguished for beauty and skilful workmanship, there have been found in Denmark four of such a size that some persons have considered them to be knobs for the handles of swords; we must however observe, that it has not yet been decided whether they really belong to pagan times.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 099a.png

Among all the ornaments of pagan antiquity, none are more frequently mentioned in the ancient Sagas than the arm- lets. We often read of kings and chieftains presenting arm- lets to bards who had sung their heroic deeds, as well as to others whom they wished, for some reason or other, to honour and reward. Thus King Rolf presented the hero Viggo with two gold armlets, because he had bestowed on the king the name of Krake. The gold armlets which are now exhumed are sometimes shaped like bands or ties, sometimes they are formed of two gold bars, or of a single weighty bar, the ends of which are thicker than the other parts of the ring, and do not shut close; and again with the outward side beaten out broad, and embellished with ornaments[31]. Occasionally a long gold bar is twisted in a spiral form several times round the arm. The rings are usually solid, and even at the present day are of considerable value. This is also the case to a certain degree with regard to the finger-rings. The largest of them are very broad in front[32]; others, found less frequently, are adorned with a border, consisting of pieces of glass; all of these are usually of simple form, in many cases indeed they are such as might be used at the present day.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 099b.png

The silver rings which furnished an ornament for the head or neck as well as the arms, have not been mentioned hitherto, partly because they were very frequently used as money in commercial transactions, and partly because they differ in form and workmanship from similar articles in gold.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 100a.png

Most commonly they were either composed of several thin plates twisted together[33], or, like the armlet here figured, were constructed of a single bar beaten flat[34], the outer side being adorned with inwrought triangular ornaments. It may be remarked in general, that these triangles are peculiar to the majority of the ornaments of silver.

With regard to dress at this period we know little more of a decided nature than -we do of that of the bronze-period. From the testimony of extant manuscripts it appears that it usually consisted, in addition to the coverings of the head and feet, of bræcan or breeches, a coat or robe, with its accompanying girdle, a mantle, and upper clothing of various kinds. That these were formed sometimes of skins and sometimes of woollen cloth[35] is established by discoveries which have been

made in barrows; and it is indubitable, that they often consisted of more costly materials, for instance of a sort of velvet, (peld,) which by means of trade, or Viking expeditions, was imported from other countries into the North.

We have thus investigated the swords and weapons with which our forefathers fought, in their distant expeditions by sea; we have become acquainted with the trinkets and ornaments which they admired; let us now cast a hasty glance over the drinking cups, which the heroes used at their banquets, when from the severity of the winter, or other causes, they were compelled to remain quietly at home. Over the cup they called to mind the gods and mighty heroes departed; over the cup they were excited to heroic actions, and pledged themselves to future warlike deeds; over the cup the future condition and the future fate of whole races of men, and even of entire kingdoms, was decided. The drinking cups, as may be supposed, were often costly, and wrought with much care.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 102.png

That which is here figured is of silver, the ornamented margin of the mouth is of gold, while the foot is inlaid with small pieces of gold: the height is 41/2 in., and the diameter of the mouth 4 in. Of glass, a material which was then so rare and so costly, there are found here and there cups and beakers, which in all probability were used at banquets, for the supposition that they were employed as urns to contain the ashes of the dead is very doubtful, on account of the smallness of their size. It is moreover beyond a doubt, that in ancient times there were drinking vessels of glass, in the form of the horn of the ox. Ox-horns were the most usual drinking vessels, and thus it was said that the heroes in Walhalla should drink mead from horns. Similar to these, were the celebrated golden horns, which occupy so conspicuous a place among the antiquities found in the North. The first known example was exhumed in 1639, at Gallehuus, close to Mögeltondern, in the domain of Ribe. It consisted of a piece which was solid internally, round which were thirteen rings, seven of them loose, which were adorned with numerous images and figures. The horn was about two feet nine inches in length, the mouth four inches in diameter, and it weighed six pounds six ounces and a half, of the very finest gold. Almost a hundred years afterwards, namely in 1734, at the same village of Gallehuus, another golden horn was discovered, with one end broken off. It weighed seven pounds five ounces and a half, that is, fifteen ounces more than the former complete specimen. Like the former it was covered with ornamental rings, and it also bore round the mouth a heterogeneous inscription, in Runic characters. Unfortunately these invaluable rarities were stolen from the place in which they were preserved, and melted down, about forty years ago.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 103.png

In connection with the drinking vessels have been found cullenders, and parts of bowls or large dishes, in which drink was handed round. They were either of metal, or of wood, with metal rings, handles, &c., of which the metallic portion alone remains[36].

It is a question which we are scarcely able to decide, whether these large gold horns, as well as several of the bowls which have been discovered, may not have been used in the sacrifices which our heathen forefathers practised in honour of their idols; and it is probable that the cakes of incense which are occasionally found with antiquities belonging to the times of heathenism, were also intended to be used in their religious ceremonies.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 104.png

In conformity with facts which we derive from Sweden and Norway, it appears highly probable that the Danes erected idols in their places of worship. It is true no figures of them have hitherto been discovered, doubtless partly because they were in a great measure destroyed at the introduction of Christianity, when it is probable that the first preachers of Christianity exerted themselves to procure the destruction of the idols of paganism, partly too because they were of wood, and have perished in the earth. These idols were frequently adorned with costly garments, and trinkets of silver and gold. Hence a large massive ring or girdle of massive gold mixed with silver, which is rivetted together in the middle of the front, is conceived to have been the ornament of an idol, for it can scarcely be supposed that any

human being could constantly have worn such a ring, the hinder part of which is also turned, and has a sharp edge. With reference to its shape and ornaments, the ring, as the engraving shews, displays a striking similarity with the arm- let previously figured, (page 59). We must also enumerate among the treasures originally appertaining to the temples of their gods, certain massive gold rings, which are too small to be worn round the head or the neck, while they do not seem fitted to serve as rings for the wrist, since they end in two large bosses or knobs, placed opposite to each other. Hence it is possible, that these are the kind of rings which lay on the altars, and were required to be touched by persons taking an oath; and, yet, judging from their shape, this supposition would appear doubtful and uncertain. The important and costly nature of these rings may be estimated from the circumstance, that three rings of this kind, which in the year 1817 were found in a bed of gravel, in the field of the village of Stotsbjergby, at Slagelse, weighed together thirty- eight ounces, and were worth about £180; and that their value must have been much greater in ancient times, when the rich mines of America were still unknown to Europeans, is perfectly obvious.

If we cast a glance over the varied objects of gold which are here described, we shall at once perceive that Adam of Bremen, who wrote about eight hundred years ago, spoke the truth when he stated that gold and silver abounded to excess in Seeland. Objects of gold are frequently discovered in considerable quantities. At Broholm, in Fuhnen, a collection of trinkets was found, the weight of which was above eight pounds; and it is a fact worthy of observation, that they are usually found in level fields, in beds of gravel, in short, where no barrows or elevations are to be seen. This circumstance may perhaps be accounted for by the fact, that the Vikings, when they undertook expeditions, buried their treasures, that they might not be taken during their absence either by foes or robbers; and then if they fell in battle, or perished by any other means, no one knew where they had concealed their property. The most precious articles, it is true, were deposited in the barrows with the dead, but the greater part of such elevations in which articles of value occurred, were broken open and plundered in the middle ages.

The ancient writer above named farther mentions that the large quantity of gold existing in Seeland was obtained by piracy. This statement is to a certain degree correct; but it can scarcely be denied that many trinkets and ornaments were acquired by trade. The North was at an early period visited by merchants from southern countries, chiefly for the purpose of procuring amber and fur. In later times these commercial relations were extended farther, and from the North itself merchants sailed to distant countries, whence they brought home rare and costly wares. History, it is to be observed, does not afford us many particulars relating to this kind of life. The merchant did not stand in such high repute as the Viking, hence it was natural that the heroic deeds of the one should be described rather than the peaceful employments of the other. It is highly gratifying to observe how our antiquities afford in this respect important explanations, which serve both to confirm and to extend the materials of history.

In ancient times no money was coined in Denmark. Trade consisted, it is true, in a great degree, of exchange, but there were many instances in which it was necessary to have a kind of circulating medium. Instead of coins, pieces of silver and gold were used, which were cut off either from rings or bars, and passed according to their weight. Most commonly they made use of ring-silver, or of pieces of many different broken rings. It was not till about the year 1000, that King Svend Tveskiæg, the father of the Dano-Anglish King Cnut began to coin money in Denmark. Coined money however was frequently brought thither from southern regions, where civilization had made greater progress. This foreign money, which is here and there ehumed, is very important, and deserves particular attention, inasmuch as it not only serves to explain the commercial relations of antiquity, but often determines the age of other objects deposited with it; since the inscriptions which it bears can be referred to a positive period, which is seldom, if ever, the case with our other northern antiquities.

The oldest coins met with in Denmark are of Roman origin, and almost without exception date from 50 to 200 years after the birth of Christ. Of about the same period are 420 Roman coins, (from Tiberius to Marcus Aurelius,) which were dug up from a peat bog near Slagelse, towards the close of the last century. In other places also, for instance in Holstein, silver and copper coins of the same date have been found, but they occur most numerously in Bornholm. Roman imperial coins, which almost exclusively belong to those dates, are also met with in Sweden, but chiefly in Gothland and Oeland, as well as in the countries east and west of the Baltic, in Posen and in Poland, which seems to indicate that the connection which at that time existed between the Roman empire and the North originated and was kept up by means of the Roman possessions in Hungary. The fact that the coins belong to the period from 50 to 200 years after the birth of Christ may reasonably be explained by the circumstance that the Romans possessed fortified possessions in Hungary till about the close of the second century of the Christian era, for as early as the third century the Goths began to make incursions into the Roman empire, which from that time continued to lose more and more of its possessions, while it was torn both by external and internal wars. Amongst coins of the third and fourth century we find few if any Roman coins; nor was it till the division of the Roman empire into two portions, those of Eastern and Western Rome, which occurred about the year 400, that a connection with the eastern empire, whose capital was Byzantium, (Constantinople,) appears to have been opened. The coins minted there, and which from this time were brought to the North, were of gold, and were generally called Byzants. In Denmark they occur chiefly of the fifth and sixth centuries, and as has already been remarked, traces occasionally exist of their having been fitted with a handle or ring, and thus used as trinkets; the imitations of them, the gold bracteates as they are called, have been already mentioned. It is obvious that the connection with Byzantium must have lasted down to a somewhat late period, for the Northmen, the Väringer as they were called, frequently repaired to Byzantium, where they took service in the emperor's body-guard.

If we bear in mind that our forefathers belonged to the great Gothic stock which wandered from the countries on the Black and Caspian seas, we can easily explain why they were both in connection with the Roman empire, and also maintained a direct communication with the east. Proofs of this latter fact are afforded by the numerous eastern coins which are found in the North; they are chiefly of silver, and being inscribed with the ancient Arabic character first introduced in the town of Cufa, are usually termed Cufic coins. They occur in Denmark, most plentifully in Bornholm, where in the time of Frederic IV., in cutting peat, a whole bushel full was discovered. At Falster near Vaalse in the spring of 1835 was found a large deposit, consisting of about 160 pieces, in a vase of metal, together with many Anglo-Saxon and German coins of the tenth century, bars and many different trinkets of silver, with rings of twisted work, &c., which were partly broken, probably for the purpose of being used in payment[37].

The Cufic coins hitherto found in the North were partly struck by the caliphs of Bagdad, partly by different princes, particularly the Samanides in Chorasan and Segestan, which were under their authority; they are all referrible to the period between the years 700 and 1050 after the birth of Christ. From the countries on the Caspian sea, in which the coins have almost all been struck, they must have been brought, with goods, as we must conjecture, up the Wolga, into the interior of Russia, to the important commercial town of Novogorod, which must have been founded by the Northmen. Here great markets were held, in which the traders of the North received eastern coins and rarities in return for their furs, dried fish, and amber. An active communication between Scandinavia and Asia was very generally maintained by way of northern Russia, (then termed Biarmiland and Garderica,) up to the conclusion of the eleventh century; when, in the first instance troubles in the interior of Russia, and subsequently the irruption of the Mongols, put a stop for some time to the usual progress of trade. Schleswig is mentioned by Arabian writers as an important commercial town, from whence many ships sailed to Russia. At Bornholm, where many Cufic coins are found, and at Gothland it is said the travellers to Russia assembled for their journey. Gothland, judging from the innumerable Cufic coins which have been dug up there, together with silver articles, and Anglo-Saxon and German coins of the tenth and eleventh centuries, must have been even in the heathen period, the most important place in the North for its commercial intercourse with the east by way of Russia, as well as with Germany and England. It was by means of this commerce that the town of Wisby[38] attained in later times to its extraordinary height of power and riches.

As the coins afford us an insight into the relations of our forefathers towards the east, so they give us also important hints as to the connection of the North with the west of Europe. It is a fact, established beyond all doubt, that the inhabitants of the North carried on trade with the countries of the west; but at the close of paganism, this connection assumed more and more of a warlike character, and instead of peaceful merchants vast hordes of rude Vikings landed on their coasts. Numerous English and Dutch coins of the tenth and eleventh centuries which are met with here in the North, sufficiently testify the fortunate expeditions of the Northmen to the west; and in modern times coins have been discovered which were probably struck by leaders of bands of Vikings, Thus among others a coin has been found which bears on one side the head of the French king, Charles the Bald, while the reverse presents the name of a northern Sea king Cnut. On another coin, also of Cnut, is the name of the English king Alfred the Great. Cnut must therefore have visited both England and France in his expeditions. Some of the coins are only inscribed with a northern name; for instance the coins of King Sigfred, who was probably the same with that King Sigfred who with his Northmen, according to the testimony of old chroniclers, made important conquests in France, and was particularly distinguished for his daring attacks on Paris. These and other similar coins serve in an important degree to confirm and to explain the statements of the chronicles as to the expeditions of the northern Vikings into the west of Europe.

Since foreign valuables and wares must infallibly have been introduced with foreign coins, we have consequently, with reference to the antiquities of the iron-period, to determine between 1. The purely Roman or antique objects; 2. The east Roman or Byzantine; 3. The eastern; 4. Those derived from western Europe; and lastly, 5. Those of which it is to be assumed that they have their origin in the North itself.

Among the purely Roman antiquities must be comprised most of the large vessels of metal, and in particular some round turned vessels with handles, together with cullenders, some glass objects, &c. In a gravel-pit at Nörre Broby in Fühnen, in the spring of 1839, among several vessels of metal, hair-pins, beads, spurs, &c., was found a small round mirror, made of a mixture of zinc and other metal, resembling exactly what are decided to be Roman mirrors, together with the remains of the handle of a vessel on which was inscribed the stamp of a Roman manufactory. With the coins of eastern Rome golden trinkets adorned with crescent-shaped ornaments wrought in the material are occasionally found, which trinkets possibly have been introduced with the coins. From the East too in all probability came the objects of silver, for not merely in Denmark, but also in other countries of the North, the twisted silver rings, and other silver trinkets, which sometimes have triangular ornaments, are almost always found associated with Cufic coins. To point out with decision what objects have been introduced from the west of Europe to the North, would be attended with much difficulty, although on account of the numerous Viking expeditions the number of such objects must doubtless have been very considerable. At the same time it is perfectly clear that the ornaments which characterize the iron-period, have by no means been originated in the North; since they bear the greatest similarity to the ornaments on cotemporary Anglo-Saxon and Frankish works. There is also good reason to suppose, that the higher degree of civilization which prevailed at an earlier period towards the west, in England, France, and in the countries of the south, and which had arisen on the ruins of the bygone civilization of Rome, exercised an important influence on the development of the ruder nations of the North.

The characteristic ornaments of the iron-period are symmetrical windings and arabesques. These symmetrical winding ornaments are not only introduced into trinkets, as in the bracteate here figured, but into most other works of the same period, for instance in the handles of swords, (see the figure p. 49); and even on the Runic stones, where the inscription is frequently inclosed within ornaments of this nature.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 112a.png

As they not unfrequently terminate in a rude representation of the head of some fantastic animal, these symmetrical winding ornaments have been regarded as the figures of snakes, whence they are called snake ornaments. It must however be observed, that these embellishments are copied from an ancient Roman taste; and that the fanciful heads of animals chiefly occupy the place of what were originally leaves, and that from the very first no attempt was made to give an exact representation of any particular animal. For this reason we cannot maintain that a dragon is figured on the cup here depicted, or name the embellishments snake ornaments; they are merely symmetrical turns and arabesques, with the usual fantastic heads of animals.

The primeval antiquities of Denmark 112b.png

The cup here mentioned is of silver, and about an inch and three quarters high; it was taken from the grave of the celebrated Queen Thyre Danebod, at Jellinge; we therefore know decidedly that it dates from the tenth century. The reverse of the great Runic stone at Jellinge, which in the same century King Harald Blaatand erected in honour of his parents Gorm and Thyre, is adorned with similar ornaments; and it is a fact which is confirmed by many examples, that symmetrical windings and arabesques continued in the North long after the introduction of Christianity.

Although the arts during the iron-period were chiefly confined to the imitation of the trinkets and valuables of other countries, yet in this respect they probably attained no mean degree of excellence. It is at the same time very possible that many objects which we regard as foreign, were actually manufactured in Denmark; for not only are able smiths mentioned in our ancient records, but it is also self-evident that a people who were in active communication with other countries, where civilization had made greater advances, and who could build ships with which the Vikings were enabled to undertake many and distant voyages, must have learned to manufacture trinkets and other objects of comfort and luxury, when at a later period such great riches were brought to the North by the expeditions of the Vi- kings.

It has already been shewn in the previous pages, that Antiquities from the stone and bronze-period occur very plentifully in Denmark, and the south-west part of the present Sweden, but very rarely or only in single specimens in the other parts of Sweden, and the whole of Norway. With regard to the objects from the iron-period the circumstances are wholly reversed. The swords and other weapons characteristic of that period, the oval clasps for the breast, the mosaic beads, &c., are so common in Sweden and Norway, that traces of them are discovered in nearly every barrow which has been examined there; on the contrary, in Denmark (with the exception of Bornholm, which in an antiquarian point of view is connected with Sweden) they occur but very rarely indeed, when compared with the objects of stone and bronze. In places of historical note for instance, as Leire and Jellinge, which we must consider as having been tolerably well peopled in the pagan times, swords and trinkets belonging almost exclusively to the bronze-period alone have been exhumed; but none from the iron-period, although numerous graves in the neighbourhood have been opened. This can scarcely be a matter of accident, since the Royal Museum of Northern Antiquities in Copenhagen, which during a series of years has received accessions from different parts of the country, and from many hundred barrows, possesses only a very few weapons of iron, which are known to have been found in heathen graves; while, on the other hand, it exhibits several hundred swords and daggers of the bronze-period. If it should be objected that the soil of Denmark may destroy objects of iron sooner than that of Norway and Sweden, it must be observed that Wendish weapons of iron are frequently discovered in heathen graves in Mecklenburg, the soil of which country is similarly constituted to that of Denmark. It must also be remarked that not only the iron weapons but also the other antiquities of the iron-period, such as brass brooches, beads, and ornaments of stone and glass, are exceedingly scarce in Denmark, so that if it be admitted that the iron weapons have been corroded, we should have full reason to expect to find the ornaments of brass, stone, and glass, remaining. It has also been maintained that iron from its costliness and value was not deposited in graves, as was the case with bronze. But was not bronze as costly, and in fact more so, since it consisted of two metals melted together, one of which, tin, could not have been procured at any place nearer than England. It is also well known that while no copper exists here, the soil of Denmark affords, in single spots, iron ore, which the water of the meadows and of the lakes has separated, and which at a later period of history has been smelted by the peasants. The want of objects of the iron-period in Denmark can moreover scarcely be satisfactorily explained, unless we acknowledge that the art of smelting iron ore, like the civilization of the iron-period generally, must have reached Denmark later than the other parts of the North, where iron occurs in infinitely greater masses. This circumstance appears to be confirmed, both by the nature of the barrows, and by the progress of the peopling of Scandinavia, which subject will be discussed in a future page. A comprehensive consideration of the antiquities in the different countries of the North, taken as a whole, will plainly shew that the three northern kingdoms have by no means been subject to the same alterations in civilization during the periods of the past.

It remains only to be remarked that Christianity was not finally established in Scandinavia until the eleventh century, and consequently, that the primeval Antiquities extend to that period.

  1. According to J. Steenstrup.
  2. The primeval antiquities of Denmark 051b.png

    The following engraving of a hatchet six inches and a half in length, exhibits a form which is very commonly found both in England and Ireland.—T.
  3. The primeval antiquities of Denmark 052d.png

    Though no such handle has been found in Denmark, a specimen was discovered some years since near Cookstown in the county of Tyrone, and was, when seen by Mr. Du Noyer, who has described it in his Paper on the Classification of Celts, (Archæological Journal, vol. iv. p. 3,) in the possession of Colonel Stewart of Killymoon.—T.
  4.  A curious boat of this description was found in a bog in the barony of Farney. It was formed of the hollowed trunk of an oak tree, and measured twelve feet in length, and three feet in breadth, and, as will be seen by the accompanying engraving, derived from Mr. E. P. Shirley's interesting 'Account of the Barony of Farney,' was furnished with handles at the extremities, evidently for facility of transport from one lough to another, in a country where so large a portion of the surface was covered by water. In the Archæologia (vol. xxvi. p. 264) will be found an engraving and description of an ancient canoe found at North Stoke in Sussex, and now in the British Museum. It is no less than 3.5 feet in length, and is formed of one half of a large oak tree cut off square at the ends and hollowed. In the description of the North Stoke canoe will be found references to various similar boats found in this country; and we read in it, that "Beverley, in his account of Virginia p. 198. says he had seen a canoe made by the Indians of a tree hollowed by fire, and cut and scraped by their stone tomahawks, 30 feet long."—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 053.png

  5. The primeval antiquities of Denmark 055a.png

    The subjoined representation, (taken from Mr. E. P. Shirley's "Account of the Territory or Dominion of Farney,") reduced to one half the original size, exhibits a very interesting specimen of one of these hammer-heads, found in a bog near the banks of Lough Fee, in Ireland. It is of hornstone, and is remarkable on account of its peculiar form, and the skill and precision with which so hard a substance has been fashioned and polished.—T.
  6.  The accompanying engraving represents a stone maul or hammer of rather unusual form, found at Llanmadock in Gower, now preserved in the Museum of the Royal Institution at Swansea, and exhibited at a Meeting of the Archaeological Institute by Mr. George Grant Francis. Its length is 6 in. and its weight 23 oz.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 055b.png

  7. The aurochs which has been already mentioned, (P. 10.) is the bison of Europe, whose range is now confined to the forests of Lithuania. A living specimen of this rare animal has recently arrived at the Zoological Gardens. The bones of an aurochs lately furnished the subject of interesting remark at the British Association, to Sir R. Murchison and his brother naturalists.—T.
  8. This term Paalstab, was formerly applied in Scandinavia and Iceland, to a weapon used for battering the shields of the enemy, as is shewn by passages in the Sagas. Although not strictly applicable to the instrument in question, this designation is now so generally used by the antiquaries of Scandinavia and Germany, that it seems desirable with the view of securing a fixed terminology, that it should be introduced into the archæology of England.—T.
  9. The primeval antiquities of Denmark 065b.png

    In the curious paper on the Classification of Bronze Celts, contributed by Mr. Du Noyer to the Archaeological Journal, we find the following example of one of the modes in which weapons of this form could be hafted. It is taken from a specimen brought from Little Fish Bay in Africa, by Capt. Adams, R.N., and by that gentleman presented to Mr. Ball the Curator of the University Museum, Dublin.—T.
  10.  We are indebted to the same paper by Mr. Du Noyer for the following examples of celts.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 066c.png

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 066d.png

    The large ring on the ear of the second celt, and which was doubtless used for the purpose of attaching it to its handle, is formed of bronze, probably as a precaution against its being cut through. The bead upon it is apparently of jet. This curious specimen was found near Tadcaster in Yorkshire, and exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries by Mr. John Crosse, March 5, 1807. It is engraved in the Archæologia, vol. xvi. pl. 54.—T.

  11.  The following engraving represents a fine bronze sword of the kind termed by Sir S. Meyrick, Cleddyv, which measures 233/4, inches in length, and in the widest part of the blade 13/4 inch. Its weight is 23 oz.
    It was found in Glamorganshire, and is now preserved in the Royal Institution at Swansea. A similar weapon of precisely the same length found at Fulbourn, Cambridgeshire, is in the possession of Sir S. Meyrick, who observes  that the hilt was commonly formed of horn, and hence the adage "he who has the horn has the blade."—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 069a.png

  12.  The following representations of spear-heads are taken from the Archæological Journal, vol. ii. p. 187.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 069b.png

    The first, which is six inches in length, and has on either side of the socket a lozenge-shaped projection, perforated in order to attach it to the shaft by means of a strap, was discovered in a bog, three miles south of Terman  Rock, on the road from Terman to Ballygawley, in the county of Tyrone.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 070b.png

    The second, which was discovered at Peel in the Isle of Man, is five inches in length: and the third, which is of very singular fashion, the blade being flat and of greater breadth than usual, and terminating at the lower extremity, in a shape more resembling the barbed head of an arrow, than the blade of a long handled weapon, was found in 1844, by some workmen who were dredging in the bed of the Severn, about a mile and a half below Worcester. It is now in the possession of Mr. Jabez Allies, F.S.A., weighs eight ounces, and measures 101/2 inches in length, the breadth of the blade being 23/4 inches.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 070c.png

  13. The following engravings represent a buckler of bronze, or metal, measuring in diameter 14 in. by 13, found in 1836, in the pool of the Little  Wittenham or Day's Lock, upon the river Isis, about half a mile above the junction of that river with the Thame stream, and now in the British Museum.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 072.png

    It is ornamented with two series of round bosses between raised concentric circles, having a large boss or umbo in the centre. All the bosses are punched in the metal except four, two of which form the rivets to the handle within, and two are the rivets to the metal extremities apparently of a strap, these four bosses being consequently moveable. It is fully described in the Archæologia, vol. xxvii. p. 298.

    For descriptions of two other specimens of bronze bucklers now at Somerset House, see pp. 16, 17 of Mr. Way's Catalogue of Antiquities, &c., in the possession of the Society of Antiquaries of London.—T.

  14. For an account of bronze trumpets found in Ireland, see Smith's Cork, vol. ii., and Gough's Camden, vol. iv. p. 231. The Dublin Penny Journal, vol. ii. pp. 27—30, contains a valuable Paper on the subject by Mr. Petrie, but in which no mention is made of a find of bronze trumpets near Dunmanway, in the county of Cork, which took place about twenty-five years ago, and of which two specimens are in the collection of Mr. Crofton Croker.—T.
  15. The gold gorget from Dublin, described by Mr. Birch in his learned dissertation on the Torc of the Celts, in vol. iii. of the Archæological Journal, belongs to this period, as do also many of the gold ornaments found both in England and Ireland. A very interesting list of objects similar to the gorget in question, with the particulars of the several localities in which they  were found, will be seen in Mr. Birch's paper, to which, we are indebted for the annexed engravings.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 076b.png

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 076c.png

  16.  The accompanying engraving represents a very curious object, also in fine gold, remarkable for the resemblance which it bears in its style of ornaments to the cup figured above, which was discovered two leagues from Poitiers, in March, 1844. It weighs about 111/2 ounces, is 21 inches in length, 5 inches in diameter at one end, and 11/2 at the other. It is in the form of a divided cone, adorned with bands, charged alternately with four rows of pellets and ornaments, formed of four concentric circles, each band being separated by fillets. It has been cast entire at once, for there is no appearance of solder or rivets, and the ornaments have been struck from within outwards. It exhibits no appearance of any mode of suspension.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 076d.png

    M. Lecointre Dupont, who forwarded the drawing to Mr. Roach Smith, writes, "To what people and epoch does this object belong, and what was its use, are questions to which I call your attention, and that of the British Archæological Association. For my part I am tempted to assign this valuable relic to the Gauls, and I am pleased to find that M. Raoul Rochette, to whom it has been submitted, is of a similar opinion. The general notion is that it is a quiver, but in this I do not concur, believing rather that it may have been an ornament. I shall be happy to have your opinion on the subject, and to know if similar objects have been found in England."

    No such object has, I believe, yet been discovered in England: but a similar one is preserved in the Museum at Munich.—T.

  17.  The bronze pin here figured, and which is remarkable for having its head hollowed like a cup, and bearing in this respect a striking resemblance to the ends of the golden ornaments often found in Ireland, was discovered on an island in a lake near Carrickmacross, in the autumn of 1844. See Archæological Journal, vol. iii. p. 49.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 077.png

  18.  The bronze instrument here represented, which appears to be a kind of falx or pruning-hook, is now deposited in the British Museum. It measures four inches from the extremity of the blade to the back of the socket, into which the handle was inserted and fixed by a rivet. It was found at the depth of six feet, in a bog, in the vicinity of the mountain range two miles east from Ballygawley, in the county of Tyrone. A woodcut representing "one of the ancient bronze reaping-hooks, so frequently found in Ireland, and which from its material must be of the most remote antiquity," which bears a general resemblance to the foregoing object, is given in the Dublin Penny Journal, vol. i. p. 108, in illustration of Mr. John O'Donavan's remarks on the Antiquity of Corn in Ireland.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 078c.png

  19. Similar designs, namely designs consisting of concentric rings, are found on the gold ornaments discovered in Ireland.—T.
  20.  The following cuts exhibit specimens of celt-moulds discovered in the British Islands; the first, 1 and 2, taken from the Archæological Journal, vol. iii.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 082.png

    p. 257, represent the moiety of a set of moulds for casting spear-heads and celts of bronze formed of hone-stone, which was found between Bodwrdin and Tre Ddafydd, in the western part of the Isle of Anglesea. It measures, in length, nine inches and a quarter: each side measures, at one extremity two inches, and at the other one inch and a half. It is obvious that with a second precisely similar piece of stone, four complete moulds for casting objects of various forms would be obtained, comprising a celt of simple form with a loop on the side for the purpose of attaching it to the haft, spear-heads of two sizes, with lateral loops for a like purpose, and a sharp pointed spike four inches and a half in length, probably intended to be affixed to a javelin, or some missile weapon. Figures 3 and 4, first engraved for Mr. Du Noyer's interesting papers on Celts and Celt Moulds, in the fourth volume of that Journal, exhibit a celt-mould of which the original is now at Belfast.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 083.png

    The stone is polygonal in form, and exhibits upon four of its surfaces indented moulds for celts of the normal type, the two largest (fig. 3.) measure 6 inches in length, by 4 at the blade, and (fig 4.) 5 inches in  length, by 3 and 3¼ at the blade. But these celt-moulds were sometimes made of bronze; and the accompanying engravings represent one of this material now preserved in the British Museum.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 084.png

  21.  The English reader desirous of knowing the nature of the Vikings, is referred to Laing's Introduction to his translation of the Heimskringla, (i. p. 45,) who says in a note, "The Viking is a word not connected with the word Konge, or king. Vikings are merely pirates, alternately peasants and pirates, deriving the name of Viking from the viks, wicks or inlets, on the coasts in which they harboured with their long ships or rowing galleys. Every sea-king was a Viking; but every Viking was not a sea-king."
    Mohnike in his German translation of the Heimskringla, speaks very highly of the Swedish work of Strinholm, on the subject of the Vikings, and the early history of Scandinavia, published at Stockholm in 1834, under the title Skandinavien under Hedna-Aldern, a German translation of which by Frisch, appeared at Hamburgh in 1839.—T.
  22.  The reader cannot but be struck with the obvious resemblance between the decorations on the handle of the sword figured above, and the interlaced ornaments observable in MSS., and other productions of the Anglo-Saxons, and of which the accompanying engravings, which exhibit portions of two crosses of the Anglo-Saxon period, preserved in the Museum of the Literary and Philosophical Institution of Bath, furnish very characteristic examples.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 089b.png

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 089c.png

  23. Tycho Rothe wrote a Dissertation "De Gladiis veterum in primis Danorum," which is printed in the first volume of Oelrich's Suecia et Dania litterata. For the history of Balmung, Mimung, and other swords of the great heroes of Teutonic Romance, the reader is referred to 'Die Deutsche Heldensage' of William Grimm.—T.
  24. The antiquary who may be desirous of comparing the weapons used by the early inhabitants of the north of Europe, with those which were adopted by the natives of the British Islands, may consult Bircherode's Palæstra Antiquaria, 8vo. Hafn. 1688; P. II. Jahn's Nordens Krigsvafen i Mittelalerén, 8vo. Copenhagen, 1825; and lastly C. C. Rafn's Krigsvafenets Forsatning under Knud den Store, 8vo. Copenhagen, 1818.—T.
  25.  The animal generally represented was the boar, and it is to this custom that reference is made in Beowulf when the poet speaks of the hog of gold, the boar hard as iron.
    Swyn eal-gylden
    Eofer iren-heard,—11.2217, 18, ed. Kemble.
    Nor are allusions to this remarkable custom of wearing the figure of a boar,—not in honour of that animal, but of Freya to whom it was sacred,—confined to Beowulf. They are to be found in the Edda and in the Sagas, while Tacitus, in his De Mor. Germ. distinctly refers to the same usage and its religious intention; when speaking of the Aestii, he says, "Matrem Deum venerantur Aestii; insigne superstitionis formas aprorum gestant. Id pro armis omnique tutela securum Deæ cultorem etiam inter hostes præstat." See further Ettmuller's Beowulf, (Zurich, 1840,) p. 50. In this practice it is obvious that we may recognise the origin of the more modern crests.—T.
  26. The primeval antiquities of Denmark 092b.png

    The annexed cut represents the boss of a shield of the usual Saxon form, which with the accompanying horse's bit, buckle, and fragment of iron, (consisting of one large and two smaller rings,) were found in a barrow in Bourne Park, near Canterbury, opened by Lord Albert Conyngham, on the occasion of the British Archæologists visiting Canterbury.
    The next engraving is from the boss of a shield discovered in a tumulus on Breach Downs, near Canterbury, by the same nobleman in the month of September, 1841; the opening and examination of which arc very fully described by his lordship in the Archæologia, vol. xxx. pp. 47—56.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 092c.png

    While the following cuts from the Journal of the Archæological Association, vol. ii. p. 53, represent two bosses of very characteristic forms, differing however very considerably from those generally found in Kent and in the Isle of Wight, and which were discovered in 1844-5, in a field called Tanner's field, which from time immemorial has remained unbroken, and lies on the outskirts of Fairford, in Gloucestershire. T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 092d.png

  27.  The following engravings from the Journal of the Archæological Association, vol. ii. p. 331, represent two similar objects found at Pier-o-wall in Orkney, in April, 1839. They are of bronze or copper, and to the projecting points presented on the exterior convex surface, jewels, stones, or glass were no doubt affixed. The bow-like bar in the concavity of No. 3, is of iron. In the Vetusta Monumenta (vol. ii. pl. 20. figs. ix. and x.) a similar ornament is engraved, which was found together with a brass pin and a brass needle, one on each side of a skeleton, in the Isle of Sangay, between the Isles of Uist and Harris, to the west of Scotland: and there is a similar object in the British Museum.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 094b.png

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 094c.png

  28. We are indebted to Mr. Birch's elaborate paper on the Torc of the Celts, in the third vol. of the Archæological Journal, for the accompanying figure of a solid torc, now in the collection of the British Museum. The body is plain but thin, the bulbs oblong, slightly concave, and decorated at the side with an engrailing. This has been anciently twisted into a knot, probably in order to fit a younger or female wearer, or perhaps it has been  intended for an armilla, since two more of these were found with it.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 096c.png

  29. In the Archæologia, vol. xxxii. pp. 64, et seq., will be found a paper by Sir Henry Ellis, on the subject of a jewel or ornament composed of an ancient cast from a gold coin of the Emperor Mauricius, set into gold of rough workmanship, with a ring or loop at the top to suspend it by, and bits of red glass or stone let in, in a double row on that side which bears the obverse of the coin, forming a border to it, and to which a rich appearance is given by bits of stamped gold being placed under each. This curious relic, obviously of the class alluded to in the text, was found upon the beach of the Norfolk coast, between Bacton and  Mundesley, in January, 1846, and was then in the possession of Miss Gurney, but has since been presented by her to the British Museum, which previously possessed three similar specimens, also described by Sir H. Ellis.
    In the Journal of the Archæological Association, vol. ii. p. 314, will be found a description and engraving of a very curious bracteate fibula, obtained from a barrow in the parish of Ottley, Norfolk, about twelve years ago. It is of bronze patinated; and from the resemblance which the figure upon it bears to that upon the seal of Richard Constable of Chester, in the time of Stephen, or that upon the coins ascribed to Robert, earl of Gloucester, the illegitimate son of Henry I., Mr. Fairholt is inclined to conclude that it is a work of the same period.

    Would not the fact of coins being thus used as ornaments, and not as money, seem to indicate their rarity at the period when they were so employed?—T.

  30. The primeval antiquities of Denmark 098.png

    The bead here represented (from Arch. Journal, vol. iii. p. 354) is in the possession of Mr. Orlando Jewitt, of Headington, Oxford, and, it is believed, was found in that neighbourhood. It appears almost black, but when held to the light is found to be a beautifully clear deep green glass. The surface of it is richly varied with splashes of white enamel mixed with blue, radiating from the centre and slightly contorted, particularly on the under side. The enamel penetrates some distance into the surface of the glass, and appears to have been thrown on to the mass while in a soft state; it was then probably slightly twisted, and its globular form flattened down between two plain surfaces. It is not perforated, and there is only a slight depression in the centre. Another bead of similar character, found near Adderbury, in the same county, and now deposited in the Ashmolean Museum, is engraved in Beesley's History of Banbury.—T.
  31. Sir Philip de Malpas Grey Egerton, Bart., exhibited to the Society of Antiquaries two gold bracelets of this form which were found in 1831 in digging the foundation of a cottage near Egerton Hall, Cheshire. See Archæologia, vol. xxvii. p. 401, where one of them is engraved.—T.
  32. A very curious and interesting gold Saxon ring, inscribed NOMEN EHLLA FIDES IN XPO, found in a meadow at Bosington, near Stockbridge. Hants, by a labourer who saw it glittering among the peat, and which is now in the possession of the Rev. A. B. Hutchings, of Appleshaw, Hants, is engraved in the Journal of the Arch. Association, vol. i. p. 341.—T.
  33. The primeval antiquities of Denmark 100b.png

    The accompanying engraving, derived from Mr. Birch's payer in the Arch. Journal, to which such frequent allusion has already been made, represents a Saxon torc of silver, found at Halton Moor with coins of Canute, which is remarkable for having the body composed of many small chains, and having the upper part ornamented with triangular stamped ornaments with pellets, a mode of ornamentation very commonly found on the antiquities discovered both in Scandinavia and in this country.—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 100c.png

  34. A number of similar armlets were found with Anglo-Saxon coins, pieces of the second race of French kings, and Cufic coins, at Cuerdale, near Preston, in 1840, and the following (see next page) is one of many figured in Mr. Hawkins's interesting paper on the subject, in the 4th vol. of the Arch. Journal. While on this subject I cannot resist quoting from the same volume the following extract from M. Worsaae's remarks on those antiquities. "Hildebrand, in describing the Cufic or oriental coins found in Sweden (in his important description of Anglo-Saxon coins in the Royal Swedish Cabinet of Coins, Stockholm, 1844, 4to.) remarks, (says M. Worsaae,) 'that along with them are generally found silver ornaments, large rings for the neck or the head, of wires twisted together, smaller rings for the arm, partly of wires twisted together, partly of a single thin piece of silver the ends of which form a beautiful knob; bracelets, sometimes with patterns which are made with a punch, ingots both complete and broken, lumps of silver, most- ly hammered and rolled together for convenience of transport, and in order that they might be used as money.' This description (remarks M. Worsaae) would exactly apply to the silver ornaments found at Cuerdale. ' There can be no doubt,' continues Hildebrand, 'that those ornaments, ingots, and lumps of silver have accompanied the coins from rich Asia, where they could much more easily obtain silver than in the northern parts of Europe, even if we suppose that the little silver which is to be found in the mines in the Scandinavian mountains, was known and used at the time in question. This view is confirmed by the circumstance that similar ornaments are still used in some parts of Asia.' "—T.

    The primeval antiquities of Denmark 101.png

  35.  Such was the case too in the British islands.
    "In 1786 there was found, seventeen feet below the surface of a bog in the county of Longford," says Mr. Richard Lovell Edgeworth, in his Report to the Commissioners for improving the Bogs in Ireland, (Appendix to Report II. p. 174), "a woollen coat of coarse but even net-work, exactly in the form of what is now called a spencer. It fitted me as well as if it had been made by a modern tailor. A razor(?) with a wooden handle, some iron heads of arrows, and large wooden bowls, some only half made, were also found, with the remains of turning tools; these were obviously the wreck of a workshop, which was probably situate on the borders of a forest. The coat was presented by me to the Antiquarian Society."— T.
  36. The accompanying engraving represents the remains of a bucket or vessel of such character, found in the right hand corner of a grave in a barrow in Bourne Park, the seat of Lord Albert Conyngham, in August, 1844. The hoops, which were in perfect preservation, occupied their position one above another as if had been there to support them. It appeared to have been about a foot high, the lower hoop was a foot in diameter, and the upper hoop exactly ten inches. The hooked feet would seem to have been intended to support the wood the wood and prevent it from slipping. A somewhat similar vessel is represented in one of the plates of Douglas's Nenia.—T.
  37. The reader who will take the trouble to refer to Mr. Hawkins's "Account of Coins and Treasure found in Cuerdale," in the Archæological Journal, vol. iv. p. 110—130, cannot but be struck with the resemblance between this and the Cuerdale find, which consisted of a large mass of silver, consisting of Ingots or bars of various sizes, a few silver armlets tolerably entire, several fragments and a few ornaments, of various kinds, cut into pieces of different dimensions and weights, amounting to upwards of a thousand ounces, exclusive of about six or seven thousand coins, Anglo-Saxon, Cufic, &c.—T.
  38. Of the town of Wisby, so interesting to antiquaries from its connection with the early commerce of Europe,—it having been perhaps the greatest place for trade in northern Europe,—and from the manner in which its ancient buildings are preserved, a slight historical sketch was published by Professor Soderberg in 18445, under the title of "Vägledare i Wisby Ruiner, jemte Förord om Gothland och Wisby," &c. Wisby, 1845.—T.