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DESCRIPTION OF THE PLATES.
PLATE 1. (Frontispiece)-A portrait of Ramohun Roy, affording an example of very dark complexion in a Brahman of undoubtedly pure race: a specimen of colour approaching to black in a tribe of the Indo-European stock.
PLATE 2: Figs. 1, 2, represent skulls of the two principal varieties of the Iotun or Great Finnish race. Fig. 1, is a Lapponic skull from Blumenbach's decades. Fig. 2, is the skull of an Esthonian Finn, from the work of Dr. Alexander Hueck, published at Dorpat in 1838.
These skulls are described and their differences pointed out in a section of this volume, relating to the physical characters of the Finnish nations.
PLATE 3.-Contains a drawing taken from the cast of a skull in the Museum of the Royal College of Surgeons. The cast was presented to the College by Professor Eschricht of Copenhagen, together with a learned and interesting memoir on the sepulchral remains of ancient races in Denmark and the neighbouring countries, published in the "Danske Folkeblad." The cast is that of a cranium discovered in a barrow in the isle of Moen, which appears from Professor Eschricht's account to be a good specimen of a great number of skulls found in similar situations. The memoir which accompanied it gives much curious information on the subject of the sepulchral remains dispersed over the north of Europe. The comparison of these remains with the numerous relics of a like description spread through the British isles, and with the contents of innumerable tumuli existing in the north of Russia, and particularly along the banks of the great rivers of Siberia, may hereafter throw an important light on the ancient history and ethnography of all these regions. Professor Eschricht's memoir
communicates some interesting facts, which may suggest the topics of future inquiry.*
"Over many parts of Denmark are scattered earthen mounds, which are termed in the country Jettehoie' or Giants' tombs. They are regarded as relics of the olden time. Their vast number proves, says the author, that they were not raised during one age, and history records that the custom of erecting mounds over the dead prevailed in the north of Europe for many centuries previous to the introduction of the Christian religion. That these monuments belonged to different ages is further evinced, by the difference of their structure, and of the relics of ancient art which have been discovered in them. For a long period of time it seems to have been customary to deposit in these graves burnt bodies, or merely collections of burnt bones in earthen vessels: but this was not the oldest custom, nor was it universally prevalent: we sometimes find bones in earthen vessels in the same graves with entire skeletons. With the dead it was usual to bury various articles, such as his weapons, working tools, ornaments, and some religious tokens, probably amulets, fetisses or talismans. In the later pagan times such things were of bronze, sometimes of gold, seldom of silver or iron in the more ancient times the ornaments were generally of amber, and the weapons and implements of stone or bone; seldom, perhaps never, of metal. This circumstance furnishes the ground for distinguishing the sepulchral remains of the northern land as belonging to different chronological eras."
"Now, as we are obliged to admit that iron was known to the nations of Gothic or German race, who inhabited Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, from an early age, and who were the ancestors of the present Swedes and Danes, we must refer the existence of the earliest class of these remains to a period ending two thousand years ago, and reaching back not only beyond authentic historical memorials, but even beyond the earliest traditions. It is evident that they belonged to a people older than the Danes. Who were this people? The early traditions speak of giants, elfs, the hereditary enemies of the Goths, and it is highly probable that under these names were designated that ancient race whose indefatigable industry supplied the want of metal. As history gives little infor
* I am indebted for the opportunity of consulting this memoir to the kindness of Professor Owen. The drawing has been taken by the permission of the Council of the Royal College of Surgeons, in whose Museum the cast is deposited.
mation, a research into the contents of the sepulchral mounds themselves seems to be the only resource for elucidating this question.
"Though many of these graves have been opened, and in some not fewer than twenty skeletons have been discovered, there is yet not one entire skeleton in any museum in Denmark.
"In the summer of 1836, M. Hage of Stege, in the isle of Moen, ordered two mounds to be opened, which were situated close together, near Byen: the style and contents of these barrows prove that they belonged to the oldest period of similar remains. An opening in the southern end of each mound affords an entrance to a narrow passage, which leads into a chamber in the centre of the mound; the passages, as well as the chamber, are formed by means of rough stones of a flat shape. The sepulchral chambers are fourteen or sixteen ells long, between four and five broad, and two ells and a half high." From this account it would appear that these oldest 'Jettehoie' or Gravhoie,' in the Danish islands, bear a close resemblance to our long sepulchral barrows in Britain. Some of them contain, as it seems, ten or even twenty human skeletons. Three skulls were procured by Professor Eschricht from one of the tumuli above mentioned. They are described and figured in the memoir, and the cast sent to the Museum was taken from one of them. Professor Eschricht afterwards compared these skulls, and the relics of art found in the same barrows, with several extensive collections of similar remains in the Danish museums, particularly with the contents of sepulchral mounds near Hellested in Sjælland. The result seems to be, that the shape of the skulls is very similar in all the tombs which belong to the first age, or that of stone implements. In these tumuli there are numerous ornaments of amber, weapons of stone and of bone, but no relics that indicate the knowledge of metals among the people who deposited them. These tumuli are very numerous, and extensively spread, showing that the tribe to which they belonged were for ages the sole inhabitants of the northern countries. In a series of barrows different from those described ornaments, such as rings of gold, sometimes of copper or of bronze, make their appearance; and these belong evidently to a much later period of Paganism. A third age succeeds, which is that of iron instruments and weapons: the people whose relics are found in these last are supposed to have been the ancestors of the Danes, namely, of the Iutic, Gothic or GermanoScandinavian race.
We still want more precise information, as to the osteological
character of the skeletons found in these different series of tumuli, and the memoir contains no account of those which belong to the two latest periods. On the remains found in tumuli of the earliest class some interesting remarks are to be found in Professor Eschricht's Memoir, but these are scarcely sufficient to satisfy all doubts as to the important ethnological question, to what people they belonged. The author supposes they were "a Caucasian race." He draws this inference from the spherical form of the head and its considerable developement, and from the shape of the nasal bones, which, as he says, are arched, indicating a prominent or aquiline nose. On the other hand, he mentions characters which belong to the Finnish nations rather than to Indo-Europeans. He says that the orbits of the eyes were small and deeply set under the eye-brows, so that the eye must have been deeply set with strong prominent eye-brows: there is a considerable depression of the nasal bones between the orbits; these are characteristics of the Finnish race, as may be seen in a preceding page of this volume, which contains an account of the osteology of an Esthonian Finn. A still stronger feature of resemblance to some of the Lappish, Finnish, and many kindred races, is the lateral projection of the zygoma, giving to the skull much of that pyramidal form, which is so remarkable a feature of the Turanian nations. This will be perceived by the reader, on inspecting the annexed engraving, which was taken from the cast, though it is not perceptible in the profile or in the front view--neither of them affording aspects of the skull which are satisfactory-given in the "Danske Folkeblad." It would be rash to conclude from these characters that the skulls in question belonged to a Finnish people, though that race is known, as we have seen, to have approached in ancient times the borders of Denmark. We might rather look upon the Cimbric or Celtic inhabitants of Northern Europe, as does Professor Eschricht, as the erectors and occupants of those ancient tombs. Some remains found in Britain give reason to suspect, that the Celtic inhabitants of this country had in early times something of the Mongolian or Turanian form of the head. However this may have been, we recognise in both countries remains belonging to two successive periods; I mean those of the stone and of the copper age, in the phraseology adopted by Professor Eschricht.*
*The three heads described are very small: though they appear to have belonged to adults, the circumference measures only about sixteen inches. Heads so small, as the author observes, are seldom seen among the modern Danes. This however may be an individual rather than a national character.