Other formats

    TEI XML file   ePub eBook file  


    mail icontwitter iconBlogspot iconrss icon

Maori and Polynesian: their origin, history and culture

The Inscriptions and Carvings on some of these — Monuments often belong to a Later Age

page 14

The Inscriptions and Carvings on some of these
Monuments often belong to a Later Age

(6) The iron age takes us back only about three thousand years in the Old World; there was no iron age in the New till the Spaniards came. But the bronze and copper ages must reach at least four or five thousand years into the past. In some of the barrows of Europe and the kurgans of Russia and Siberia both of these metals are to be found. But the habit of burying in these graves must have continued down to the beginning of the iron age. And, again, on some of the monoliths in Western and Northern Europe, in North Africa, in Northern India, and amongst the Khasi and the Naga Hills there are hieroglyphic and mysterious markings which may be taken as inscriptions. But, though the use of the alphabet cannot go farther back than ten thousand years, and that only in the valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris, there were the beginnings of writing long before in totem and tribal marks, such as we find, for example, in our own day in the Maori signatures of the treaty of Waitangi, amongst a people that never had any writing. And many of these monoliths must have been used by later peoples to commemorate events of their own history or customs or rites of their own religion. Upon giant stones erected on the Siberian kurgans there are sometimes inscriptions that are manifestly Buddhist, and these could not have been engraved long before our era. Carvings are also not infrequent on these colossal stones in North Africa, Brittany, and on the Pacific coast of America. And these might well have been the work of the people who erected the stones. For carving on bone and ivory and wood was by no means inartistic even with the rough chipped-stone implements of the old stone age. And the wonderful Maya carvings of Central America and those on page 15the titanic stones near Lake Titicaca we know were all produced without the use of metals.