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PRIMITIVE STONE MONUMENTS

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Originally appearing in Volume V25, Page 966 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PRIMITIVE STONE MONUMENTS.—The raising of commemorative monuments of such enduring material as stone is a practice that may be traced in all countries to the remotest times. The highly sculptured statues, obelisks and other monumental erections of modern civilization are but the lineal representatives of the unhewn monoliths, dolmens, cromlechs, &c., of prehistoric times. Judging from the large number of the latter that have still survived the destructive agencies (notably those of man himself) to which they have been exposed during so many ages, it would seem that the motives which led to their erection had as great a hold on humanity in its earlier stages of development as at the present time. In giving some Locmariaquer, Morbihan, is the largest menhir in the world. It was in the form of a smooth-sided obelisk, but now lies on the ground broken into four fragments, the aggregate length of which amounts to 20.50 metres (about 67 ft.). It was made of granite foreign to the neighbourhood, and its weight, according to the most recent calculations, amounted to 347,531 kilogrammes, or 342 tons (L°Homme, 1885, p. 193). The next largest menhir is at Plesidy (Cotes-du-Nord), measuring about 37 ft. in height. Then follows a list of sixty-seven gradually diminishing to i6 ft. in height of which the first ten (all above 26 ft.) are in Brittany. As regards form these menhirs vary greatly. Some are cylindrical, as the well-known Pierre de champ-Dolent at Dol (height 30 ft.), and that of Cadiou in Finistere (28 ft.); while that of Penmarch (26 ft.) takes the shape of a partially expanded fan. A menhir of quartz at Medreac (Ille-et-Vilain,e) stands x6a ft. high in the form of a rectangular pillar indubitablement tailU. On the introduction of Christianity into France its adherents appear to have made use of these menhirs at an early period; many of them at present support a cross, and some a Madonna. While the scattered positions of some monoliths suggest that they were sometimes used as landmarks, or perhaps as places of rendezvous for hunters, the singular grouping of others shows that these were only secondary or subsidiary functions. So far as the Ogam inscriptions, found on some of the standing stones in Scotland, Ireland and Wales, have thrown light on the subject they appear to have been the headstones of graves. It is not uncommon to find a monolith overtopping a tumulus, thus simulating the bauta (grave or battle) stones of Scandinavia. Menhirs of all sizes are also met with in Algeria, Morocco, India, Central Asia, &c. Alignments.—The most celebrated monuments of this class are to be seen in the vicinity of Carnac in Brittany. They are situated in groups at Menec (see Plate, fig. 5), Kermario, Kerlescant, Erdeven and Ste Barbe—all within a few miles of each other, and in the centre of a district containing the most remark-able megalithic remains in the world. The first three groups are supposed by some archaeologists to be merely portions of one original and continuous series of alignments, which extended nearly 2 M. in length in a uniform direction from south-west to north-east. Commencing at the village of Malec the menhirs extend in eleven rows. At first they stand from le to 13 ft. above ground, but as we advance they become gradually smaller till they attain only 3 or 4 ft. in height, and then cease altogether. After a vacant space of about 350 yards we come to the Kermario group, which contains only ten lines, but the menhirs are nearly of the same magnitude as those at the beginning of the former group. After a still greater interval the menhirs again appear at the village of Kerlescant, but this time in thirteen rows. In 1881 M. Felix Gaillard, Plouharnel, made a plan of the alignments at Erdeven, from which it appears that, out of a total of 1120 menhirs which originally constituted the group, 290 are still standing, 740 fallen, and 90 removed. The menhirs here may be traced for nearly a mile, but their linear arrangement is not so distinct, nor are the stones so large as those at Carnac. About 5o alignments are known in France. At Penmarch there is one containing over 200 stones arranged in four rows. Others, however, are formed of only a single row of stones, as at Kerdouadec, Leure and Camaret. The first is 48o metres in length, and terminates at its southern extremity in a kind of croix gammee. At Leure three short lines meet' at right angles. The third is situated on the rising ground between the town of Camaret and the point of Toulinguet. It consists of a base line, some 600 yards long, with 41 stones (others had apparently been removed), and two rectangular lines as short offsets. Close to it were a dolmen and a prostrate menhir. All these monoliths consist of a coarse quartz and are of small dimensions; only one, at Leure, reaching a height of 9 ft. Alignments are also found in the regions flanking the Pyrenees, but here they are generally in single file —mostly straight, but sometimes reptiliform. One at Peyrelade (Billiere) runs in a straight line from north to south for nearly idea of the characteristics of these rude and primitive monuments in Britain and elsewhere it will be convenient to classify them as follows: (i) Isolated pillars, or monoliths (.ovos, solitary, and )tiOos, stone) of unhewn stones raised on end, are called menhirs (Cornish, maenhir, and Welsh maen, a stone, and hir, long). (2) When these monoliths are arranged in lines they become alignments (ad, to, and Fr. ligne, a line), as at Menec, Carnac (see Plate, fig. 5). (3) But if their linear arrangement be such as to form an enclosure (enceinte), whether circular, oval or irregular, the group is designated by the name of cromlech (Gaelic, crom, crooked, and leac, Welsh llech, a flagstone), as at Carrowmore, Ireland (see Plate, fig. 4). (4) When the monoliths, instead of standing apart as in the previous structures, are placed close to each other and enclose an area sufficiently small and narrow to be roofed over by one or more capstones so as to form a rude chamber, the monument is called a dolmen (Breton, dolmen, from dol, a table, and men, Welsh maen, a stone). For illustrations of the dolmens at Keriaval and Kit's Coty House (see Plate, figs. r and 2). This megalithic chamber is sometimes wholly embedded in a mound of earth or stones so as to present to outward appearance the form of a tumulus or cairn. As, however, there are many tumuli and cairns which do not contain megalithic chambers, it is only partially that these prehistoric remains come under the category of primitive stone monuments. In the rare instances of a dolmen being constructed of two single standing stones. supporting a third, like the lintel of a door, as may be - seen at Stonehenge (q.v.), the monument is called a trilithon (rpt=rpeis, three, and XiOos, stone). Menhirs.—Rude monoliths set on end appear to have been erected in all ages for a variety of commemorative purposes, such as on the accession of kings and chiefs, or to mark the site of a battle, a grave, or a boundary line, &c. Throughout the British Isles such standing stones are widely interspersed, especially in the less cultivated districts. In Scotland, when stones were used ceremonially in the act of crowning a king, they were called tanist stones, the most celebrated of which was the Lia Fail, formerly at Scone (now at Westminster Abbey), on which the kings of Scotland used to be crowned. We read also of hare or hoer stones, cambus or camus stones (cam, crooked), cat (cath, battle) stones, witch stanes, Druid stanes, &c. The Hawk stane, or Saxum Falconis, at St Madoes, Perthshire, was erected in memory of the defeat of the Danes at Luncarty, and a monolith now standing on the field of Flodden is said to mark the place where King James fell. When menhirs were grouped together their number was often significant, e.g. twelve (Joshua iv. 5) or seven (Herod. iii. 8). Some standing stones are found to have been artificially perforated, and with these superstition has associated some curious ceremonies. As examples of this class may be mentioned the famous Stone of Odin near the circle of Stennis, the Clach-Charra, or Stone of Vengeance, at Onich near Balachulish, Argyllshire, and Men-en-tol (the holed-stone) in Cornwall. Two rude monoliths in Scotland bear inscriptions—the famous Newton Stone in the district of Garioch, and the Cat Stane near Edinburgh. Others have cup-and-ring markings, spirals or concentric circles. In Ireland, Wales and Scotland they are occasionally found with Ogam inscriptions and in the north-east of Scotland (Pict-land) with some remarkable and hitherto unexplained symbolical figures, which were continued on the hewn and elaborately sculptured stones of early Christian times so largely found in that locality. In England monoliths are often associated with the cromlechs or stone circles, as the King's Stone at Stanton Drew, Long Meg at Little Salkeld, the Ring Stone at Avebury, &c. One of the finest British monoliths stands in the churchyard of Rudston, Yorkshire. Menhirs are found in all countries which abound in megalithic structures. In France over r600 isolated examples have been recorded, of which about the half, and by far the most remarkable, are within the five departments which constitute Brittany. Over the rest of France they are generally small, and not to be compared in size to those of Brittany. At 300 yds. and contains 93 stones, some of which are of great cromlech (now partially submerged), the circles of which intersect size. At St Columb, in Cornwall, there is one called the Nine each other. Cromlechs may also be connected by alignments or Maidens, which consists of eight quartz stones extending in avenues, as already explained; and they are often associated a perfectly straight line for 262 ft. In Britain, however, with other megalithic monuments. Thus, at the end of the the alignments are more frequently arranged in a double file, great Carnac alignments are the remains of a large circle which or in avenues leading to, or from, other megalithic monuments, can be readily traced, notwithstanding that some houses such as still exist, or formerly existed, in connexion with the are constructed within its area. In the British Isles and in cromlechs or circles at Avebury, Stonehenge, Dartmoor, Shap, the north of Europe they frequently surround dolmens (as at Callernish, &c. The stone circle at Callernish, in the island of Carrowmore, Ireland—Plate, fig. 4), tumuli and cairns. A few Lewis, shows an unusually elaborate design with two parallel examples of a dolmen being surrounded by one or more circles rows of upright stones running northwards and a single line have been recorded by M. Cartailhac from the department of across, thus presenting a cruciform appearance. A very tall Aveyron, in France. Outside the stone circle there is also menhir (17 ft. long) occupies the centre of the circle (42 ft. frequently to be found a circular ditch as at Avebury, Stone-in diameter). The peat which in the course of ages had accumu- henge, Arbor Low, Ring of Brogar, &c. The most remarklated to a depth of 5 ft. was removed in 1858, and hence able megalithic monument of this class now extant is Stone-the characteristic features of this remarkable monument henge, which differs, however, from its congeners in having the are well seen in the Plate, fig. 3. The only example in England stones of its outer circle partially hewn and attached by trans-comparable to the great alignments of Carnac is in the vale of verse lintels. The largest cromlech in France was situated at the White Horse, in Berkshire. Here the stones, numbering the village of Kergonan, on the Ile-aux-Moines (Morbihan), about 800, are grouped in three divisions, and es .end over an about the half of it being now destroyed by the encroachment irregular parallelogram measuring from 500 to 60o yds. in of the houses. The remaining semi-circumference contains length and from 250 to 300 yds. in breadth. Sir Henry Dryden 36 menhirs, from 6 to 10 ft. high, and its diameter is abut describes several groups of alignments in Caithness, as at Garry- 328 ft. This cromlech, like so many English " circles," whin, Camster, Yarhouse, and the " Many Stones " at Clyth was not circular but slightly elliptical. Only a few of the (Fergusson, Rude Stone Monuments, p. 529). Alignments in British cromlechs exceed these dimensions, among which may single and multiple rows have also been observed in Shetland, be mentioned Avebury (126o by 1170 ft.), Stonehenge (outer India, Algeria, &c. circle 300 ft., inner 1o6 ft.), Stanton Drew (36o ft.), Brogar Cromlechs.—In Britain the use of the word cromlech is vir- (345 ft.), Long Meg and her Daughters (330 ft.). One near tually synonymous with that of dolmen. In France, however, Dumfries with 11 stones and 291 ft. in diameter, called the and on the Continent generally, it is exclusively applied to that Twelve Apostles, also closely approaches what Fergusson calls class of monument for which in this country only the descrip- the Too-metre size; but, generally speaking, the Scotch and Irish tive name of " stone circles," or " circles of standing stones," examples are of smaller proportions, rarely exceeding xoo ft. is used. This application of the term in various countries to in diameter. That most of the smaller circles have been used different classes of monuments has given rise to some confusion. as sepulchres has been repeatedly proved by actual excavations The earliest known use of the word occurs in Bishop which showed that interments had taken place within their areas. Morgan's translation of the Bible into Welsh (1588), where " the It is difficult, however, to believe that this could have been the clefts of the rocks " is rendered by cromlechydd y creigiau. Its main object of the larger ones. At Mayborough, near Penrith, earliest occurrence in the special sense in which it has continued there is a circular mound entirely composed of an immense to be used by British antiquaries is in a description of some aggregation of small stones in the form of a gigantic ring and ancient remains by the Rev. John Griffith of Llanddyfnan enclosing a flat area, about 300 ft. in diameter. This space (165o), in which he says—" There is a crooked little cell of is entered by a wide aperture in the ring, and near the centre stone not far from Alaw, where according to tradition Bronwen there is a fine monolith, one of several known to have formerly Leir was buried; such little houses, which are common in this stood there. Of the same type is the Giant's Ring, near Bel-country, are called by the apposite name cromlechaw." In fast; but the ring in this instance is made of earth and it is this article the word cromlech retains its continental meaning considerably larger in diameter (58o ft.), while the central and is exclusively used to indicate enclosures (enceintes) formed object is a fine dolmen. It is more probable that such enclosures of rude monoliths placed at intervals of a few yards; and as were used, like many of our modern churches, for the double such enclosures generally assume a circular, or oval, shape they purpose of burying the dead and addressing the living. are not infrequently described as stone circles. Rectangular Dolmens.—In its simplest form a dolmen consists of three, enclosures are, however, not unknown, examples of which may be four, or five stone supports, covered by one selected megalith seen at Curcunno (Morbihan), near the well known dolmen of called a capstone, or table. A well-known example of this kind that name, and at Saint Just (Ille-et-Vilaine). The former in England is Kit's Coty House (see Plate), situated between measures 37 by 27 yds., and is now composed of 22 menhirs, Rochester and Maidstone, which is formed of three large sup-all of which are standing (some fallen ones having been restored ports with a capstone measuring 11 by 8 ft. From this simple by the government), while about a dozen appear to be wanting. form there is an endless variety of structures till we reach the A " donkey-shoe-shaped " enclosure has been described by so-called Giant Graves and Grottes des Fees, which consist of Sir Henry Dryden in the parish of Latheron, Caithness, measur- numerous supports and several capstones. The dolmen of ing 226 ft. long, 110 ft. wide in the middle, and 85 ft. wide Bagneux, situated in the corner of a plantation on the outskirts at the two extremities. Stone circles are frequently arranged of the town of Saumur, measures 18 metres in length, 6.5o in concentrically, as may be seen in the circles at Kenmore, near breadth and 3 in height. It is constructed of huge flagstones, Aberfeldy, Perthshire, as well as in many other Scottish, Irish 4 on each side, and 4 capstones—the largest capstone measuring and Scandinavian examples. More rarely one large circle 7.50 metres in length, 7 in breadth and 1 in thickness. Another surrounds inner groups without having a common centre, as near Esse (Ille-et-Vilaine) called La Roche aux Fees, is con-at Avebury where the outer circle (1200 ft. in diameter) sur- structed of 3o supports and 8 capstones, including the vestirounded two others each of which contained an inner con- bule. Dolmens of this kind are extremely rare in the British centric circle. The stone circle of Ballynoe, Co. Down, Isles, the only one comparable to them in form being Calliagh Ireland, consists of inner and outer (eccentric) circles; the Birra's House near Monasterboice, Ireland, which consists former measures about 57 ft. in diameter with 22 stones, and of 4 capstones supported by 4 or 5 thin stones on edge to form the latter 1o5 ft. in diameter with 45 stones. At Boscawen, each side, and one stone closing one end. Owing to its small in Cornwall, there is a group of circles confusedly attached and size (12 ft. long by 4 wide) this monument is disappointing in partially overlapping. Also, on the small island of Er-Lanic appearance. These free standing megalithic chambers, generally (near the famous tumulus of Gavr'inis), there is a double I known as allees couvertes, as well as many other examples of the simple dolmen, show no evidence of having been covered aver by a mound containing an entrance passage. Only one dolmen with a mound. When there was a mound, it necessitated in has been recorded in Belgium; but in France their number the larger ones an entrance passage which, like the chamber, was constructed of a series of side stones and capstones. Some archaeologists maintain that all dolmens were formerly covered with a cairn or tumulus—a theory which undoubtedly derives some support from the condition of many examples still extant, especially in France, where they may be seen, as it were, in all stages of degradation from a partial to a complete state of denudation. Were the soil and stones which compose the tumulus of New Grange, Ireland, removed, leaving only the large stones which form its entrance passage and central chambers, there would be exposed to view a very imposing megalithic structure, not unlike the group of monoliths at Callernish in the Lewis (see Plate, fig. 3). The alias couvertes of France, Germany and the Channel Islands had their entrance at the end; but, on the other hand, those of the Drente, in Holland (Hunebedden), had both ends closed and the entrance was on the side facing the sun. The covered dolmens are extremely variable in shape—circular, oval, quadrangular and irregular being forms commonly met with; and as to size they range from that of an ordinary barrow up to that of New Grange, which rises in the form of a truncated cone to a height of 70 ft. with a diameter of 315 ft. at the base and 120 ft. at the top. Around its base was a circle of some thirty rude monoliths, placed about to yds. apart, and forming a circumference of t000 ft.—only a few of these menhirs are now in situ. The entrance passage to the interior of this huge tumulus measures about 63 ft. long, 4 ft. q in. high, and 3 ft. 6 in. wide, and discloses some large blocks of stone; and its cruciform chamber measures 26 ft. long, 21 ft. broad and 194 ft. high in the middle. The entrance gallery may be attached to the end of the chamber, as in the Grotte de Gavr'inis, or to the side, as in the Giant's Grave at Oem near Roskilde. In other instances there is no distinct chamber, but a long passage gradually widening from the entrance; and this may be bent at an angle, as in the dclmen du Rocher (Morbihan). Again, there may be several chambers communicating with one entrance passage; or, two or three chambers, having separate entrances, may be imbedded in the same tumulus. A curious specimen of the former may be seen in a ruined tumulus near St Helier, Jersey; and an excellent example of the latter is the partially destroyed tumulus of Rondosec, near Plouharnel railway station, which contains three separate dolmens. That such variations are not due to altered customs, in consequence of wideness of geographical range, is shown by de Mortillet, who gives plans of no less than 16 differently shaped dolmens (Musee prehistorique, pl. 58), all within a confined district in Morbihan. Ruined dolmens are abundantly met with in the provinces of Hanover, Oldenburg and Mecklenburg. At Riestedt, near Uelzen in Hanover, there is, on the summit of a tumulus, a very singular dolmen which measures about 40 ft. long and 6 ft. wide. Another at Naschendorf, near Weimar, consists of a mound surrounded by a large circle of stones and a covered chamber on its summit. Remains of a megalithic structure at Rudenbeck, in Mecklenburg, though now very imperfect, show that originally it had been constructed like an allee couverte. It had four supports on each side, two at one end (the other end being open and forming the entrance), and two large capstones. The length in its completed state was about 20 ft., breadth 7z ft., and height from the floor to the under surface of the roof 3 ft. According to Bonstetten, no less than 200 of these megalithic monuments are distributed over the three provinces Luneburg, Osnabruck and Stade; and the most gigantic examples in Germany are in the duchy of Oldenburg. In Holland, with one or two exceptions, they are confined to the province of Drente, where between 50 and 6o still exist, under the name of Hunebedden (Huns' beds). The Borger Hunebed, the largest of the group, is 70 ft. long and 14 ft. wide. In its original condition it contained 45 stones, ten of which were capstones. All the Drente monuments are now denuded, but a few show evidences which suggest that they had formerly been surrounded amounts to 3000-4000. They are irregularly distributed over 78 departments, no less than 618 being in Brittany. In the centre of the country they are also numerous, some 435 having been recorded in Aveyron; but here they are of much smaller dimensions than in Brittany. From the Pyrenees these rude stone' monuments are sparsely traced along the north coast of Spain and through Portugal to Andalusia, where they occur in considerable numbers, but of their precise numbers and distribution we have no trustworthy accounts. According to Cartailhac (Ages prehistoriques de l'Espagne et du Portugal, p. 152) 118 were recorded up to 1899 under the name of antas. Many of them are in the form of free standing dolmens and allees couvertes. The most remarkable monument of this kind in Spain, and certainly one of the finest in Europe, is that near the village of Antequera, some distance north of Malaga. The chamber, slightly oval in shape, measures 24 metres long, 6.15 metres broad, and from 2.70 metres to 3 metres high. The entire structure comprises 31 monoliths—ten on each side, one at the end and five on the roof. Moreover, the roof is strengthened by three pillars placed along the middle line at the widest part of the chamber. The huge stones are made of the Jurassic limestone of the district and, like those of Stonehenge, appear to have been partly dressed. The entire structure was originally, and still is partially covered by earth, which formed a mound about too ft. in diameter. In Africa dolmens are found in large groups in Morocco, Algeria and Tunis. General Faidherbe writes of having examined five or six thousand at the cemeteries of Bou Merzoug, 1'Oued Berda, Tebessa, Gastal, &c. (Congres inter-national d'anth. et d'arch. prehist., 1872, p. 408). In the Channel Islands every kind of megalithic monument is met with. At Mont Cochon, near St Helier, there was lately discovered in-a mound of blown sand an allee couverte and, close to it, a stone circle surrounding a small dolmen. In the British Isles dolmens are common in many localities, particularly in the west of England, Anglesey, the Isle of Man, Ireland and Scotland. In the last named country they are not, however, the most numerous and striking remains among its rude stone monuments—the stone circles and cisted cairns having largely superseded them. No dolmens exist in eastern Europe beyond Saxony. They reappear, however, in the Crimea and Circassia, whence they have been traced through Central Asia to India where they are widely distributed. Similar structures have also been recognized by travellers in Palestine, Arabia, Persia, Australia, Madagascar, Peru, &c. The irregular manner in which these megalithic monuments are distributed along the western parts of Europe bordering on the seashore has led to the theory that they were erected by a special people, but as to the when, whence and whither of this megalithic race we have no know-ledge whatever. Although the European dolmens, however widely apart they may be situated, have a strong family likeness, yet they present some striking differences in certain localities. In Scandinavia they are confined to Danish lands and a few provinces in the south of Sweden. In the former country the exposed dolmens are often placed on artificial mounds and surrounded by cromlechs which are either circular (runddysser), or oval (langdysser). In Sweden the sepulture a galerie is very rarely entirely covered up as in the Giant graves of Denmark. In the absence of historical records and scientific investigations it was formerly the custom to regard all these different varieties of primitive stone monuments as of Celtic origin. By some they were supposed to have been constructed by the Druids, the so-called priests of the Celts; and hence they have been described, especially since the time of Aubrey and Stukely, under the name of Celtic or Druidical monuments. But from more recent researches there can be no doubt that the primary object of this class of remains was sepulchral, and that the megalithic chambers with entrance passages were used as family vaults. Against the theory that any of them were ever used as altars, there is prima facie evidence in the care taken to have the smoothest and flattest surface of the stones composing the chambers always turned inwards. Moreover, cup marks and other primitive markings, when found on capstones, are almost invariably on their underside, as at the dolmens of Keriaval, Kercado and Dol ar Marchant. Also, all the six stones forming the three-sided chamber of the great tumulus of Gavr'inis (Morbihan) and most of those in the sides of its long entrance passage (44 ft.), are elaborately sculptured with primitive incised patterns, perfectly analogous to those on the walls of the chamber of New Grange (Ireland). From its position in the centre of a large circular enclosure, as uniformly even as a garden lawn, no dolmen could be more suggestive as a place of sacrifice than that within the Giant's Ring near Belfast; yet nothing could be more inappropriate for such a purpose that its capstone, which, in fact, is nothing more than a large granite boulder presenting on its upper side an unusually rounded surface. No chronological sequence has been detected in the construction and evolution of these primitive stone monuments; nor can their existence and special forms in different countries be said to indicate contemporaneity. The dolmens of Africa are often found to contain objects peculiar to the Iron Age, and it is said that in some parts of India the people are still in the habit of erecting menhirs, cromlechs, dolmens and other megalithic monuments. Scandinavian archaeologists assign their dolmens exclusively to the Stone Age. It would appear that, subsequent to the great chambered cairns of the Stone Age, a period of degradation in this kind of architecture occurred in Britain when the Bronze Age barrows replaced the dolmens, and these again gave way to simple burial in the earth. In Scandinavia the megalithic chamber seems to have been discarded in the Iron Age for burials, either by cremation or inhumation under huge tumuli, as may be seen in the three great mounds of Thor, Odin and Freya at Gamla Upsala, and the ship-barrow at Gokstad on the Sandefiord, the scene of the discovery of the Viking ship now exhibited in the museum at Christiania. Just on the borderland between the works of nature and art comes the so-called Rocking-Stone (Logan, or Loggan, stone, French, pierre branlante), which usually is nothing more than an erratic, ice-transported boulder, poised so nicely over a rocky bed that gentle pressure with the hand may cause it to rock or oscillate. Such stones appear to be sparsely distributed over the whole area occupied by the primitive stone monuments, and, being very large, they were pre-eminently calculated to awaken astonishment in the minds of the worshippers of the mysterious works of nature. Hence the important position assigned to them in the Druidical worship invented by Stukely and other antiquaries of the 18th century. Some rocking-stones are evidently artificial, having had the rock cut underneath them, leaving in each a pivot-like prominence on which the block rests; but, on the other hand, natural causes can produce similar results, the stone itself acting like an umbrella to protect the central portion of the bed while weathering outside is going on all around. The same process is often well illustrated on moraine-bearing glaciers where a huge stone may be seen resting on a pillar of ice several feet in height. That man sometimes imitated such striking natural phenomena is quite probable, and to this extent rocking-stones come within the category of primitive stone monuments.
End of Article: PRIMITIVE STONE MONUMENTS
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