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It is worthy of note that along the path travelled by the spiral from the Ægean to the North, we find a recurring tendency to substitute false spirals (concentric circles and tangents) for true spirals, and finally to replace the false-spiral by free concentric circles. This movement of
simplification does not appear to be strictly related
Ægean to the Bal-
Brandenburg. replace the spiral by concentric circles increases in a marked degree in the later stages of the Bronze culture, and accompanies the debasement of types which set in as the fine models of the earlier period were abandoned before the advancing influence of the Iron culture.
In the early Iron Age, concentric circles have become well nigh universal throughout Europe as a simple form of ornament for domestic objects, bone combs, &c.
In addition to the spiral, the half-circle motive may be followed to the North
Fig. 48.—Sweden : detail, bronze collar,
(figs. 45 to 48'). The latter form is, however, not restricted to the spiral districts, but is found throughout the entire range of the
1 Fig. 45, “Cong. Préhist. Budapest,” vol. ii., plate xcii. ; figs. 46 and 47. “Nachrichten über deutsche Alterthumskunde," 1895, pp. 5, 7.
Bronze Age culture in Europe. The tendency of the spiral to degrade to concentric circles, which we have noticed along the path of the extension of the spiral system to the North, and which is increasingly marked in the later stages of the Bronze Age, has, as pointed out, a counterpart in the substitution of concentric circles for spirals in the westward extension of spiral influence. The lower state of the bronze culture in the lands west of the Danube and Elbe systems, indicated by the absence of the finer forms of bronze remains which mark the “Golden Age" of bronze in Hungary and the Scandinavian region, explains the widespread use of the lower forms of ornament in the Western lands. It appears that, in some instances, the half-circle motive was confounded with halved concentric circles, as on a sword. blade, fig. 49 (Atlas for Nordisk Oldkyndighed, plate ii.), but, as a rule, its identity is maintained. Panel patterns of upright lines and x forms are found in the
North, as on the horn found at Wismar, in Mecklen. burg, ascribed to the close of the earlier Bronze Age, but examples are not numerous. In the Swiss lakedwellings and Rhone Valley districts, this form of ornament is more common, and on the Dipylon pottery, which represents the dawn of the classical period of Greece, it occurs frequently in border patterns.
Panels of small lozenges, in lattice form, also occur on the Wismar horn, and hatched lozenges appear in the decoration of some massive bronze axe-heads of the early period. Incised lozenges are likewise found on some of the pottery from Scandinavian Late Stone Age graves, but it does not appear to be easy to
establish, at least from published examples, the conFig. 49. tinuity of the lozenge and chequer patterns along the
path of the spiral. Westward the whole body of concentric circles, half-circles, lozenge and x forms, are well represented, and in company with the ever-recurring herringbone, chevron, and triangle motives, constitute the ornament of the developed and later periods of the Bronze Age in Western Europe. It is therefore remarkable that lozenge forms are so rarely represented in the Scandinavian region. The same may be said of the Bronze Age remains of Hungary. The tendency of triangle to interchange with lozenge patterns, may partly account for this. In many instances where triangle ornaments are placed point to point, the intervening spaces form lozenge patterns, in other instances the triangles give the effect of halved lozenges. It is
1 Montelius, “ Les Temps Préhistoriques en Suéde,” plate vii., fig. 3. Madsen, “ Antiquités Préhistoriques du Denmark-L'âge du Bronze," plate i.
2 Madsen, “L'Âge de la Pierre," plates xv. and xvi.
not always clear whether the pattern is to be regarded as of triangles or as of lozenges (formed by the left spaces on a hatched ground or with contrasted halves). In some examples of this class of decoration on Hungarian axe-heads, the lozenge space bears a central ornament, show
ing recognition of the lozenge form. But though, I think, the left lozenge spaces of this class of ornament were recognised as lozenges, it is, nevertheless, remarkable that independent lozenge forms should be so rare in the decoration of the Bronze Age remains of Hungary and Scandinavia.
On the other hand, much al
lowance must be made for the Fig. 50.
imperfection of the record. The
lozenge is well represented in western areas of Europe, but relatively speaking, examples are not numerous when compared with triangle and chevron ornament. The two wooden batons, however, from Castione (Munro, fig. 195), elaborately carved with chevrons, triangles, and lozenges, indicate how large a portion of the evidence has perished, and in the loss of the woodcarving, and the painted decoration of the period, how imperfect the record may be. It may be noted in this connexion that the halfcircle and lozenge motives of Mycenæ ornament are, it would appear (with rare exceptions of the lozenge in metal), confined to pottery, and are not found in stone and metal work.
Within the past few years a number of remarkable urns of black and black-and-red pottery, have been found in tumuli in the west of Hungary and Lower Austria, between Hallstadt, and
Fig. 51. Pressburg (figs. 50 to 53). The black pottery is, in some instances, plain, in others decorated with triangle ornament in graphite, and, in several notable instances, with spirals in relief. The decoration of the red and black urns is confined
1“ Mitth. Prähistorischen Commission der K. Akademie der Wissenschaften.” Vienna, 1890 and 1893.
character of the together in the samphite. But both classes
to lozenge and panel patterns in graphite. But both classes of urns have been found together in the same tumuli. They partake of the character of the Iron Period, and are more or less closely related to the Halstadt culture.
They are here introduced not only as showing the persistence of the spiral in the Hungarian region, but more especially as showing the
tendency, above referred to, of triangle and lozenge ornament to replace each other. On vase, figure 50, triangle ornament is associated with boldly-marked lozenges. Triangles when thus arranged in a sort of chequer pattern of halved lozenges, seem to be classed with lozenge patterns. On figure 51 we have a panel formed of a chequer of lozenges, and next it a panel in which some of the spaces are
filled as lozenges, whilst others Fig. 52.
are halved, forming contrasting
triangles. These chequer patterns, as also those of figure 53, are clearly referable to the Cyprian patterns. The occurrence, as we shall see, of this system of patterns on early Bronze Age remains in Scotland, in some instances identical with Cyprian forms, and the close association of lozenge, chequer, and x patterns with the spiral in the Bronze Age ornament of Ireland, is, I think, strong evidence that lozenge and chequer
patterns, which we can put back to the Mycenæ Period in the Ægean, travelled northward across Europe on the path of the spiral; unless it be suggested that the lozenge patterns represent a wave of ornament which spread westward to Ireland, and there met and entered into association with the spiral coming from the North. But a movement of lozenge patterns westward, in isolation from the Danube route, does not appear probable, though lozenge motives in the West would, no doubt, be replenished directly from the old Greek lands. That the great highway of the Danube and Elbe systems was at any time isolated from pattern movements, so fully represented in Scotland and Ireland, can hardly be supposed. At the same time, when all has been said to meet objections, it must be admitted that the gaps in the evidence for lozenges are not explained. And it is difficult to resist the impression that the chequer and lozenge patterns which, at a later time, centre round the geometric pottery of Cyprus, represent, in their extension, a somewhat later influence than that of the spiral. Something further may be said on this subject when we have the Scotch and Irish examples before us.
It will be useful here to review briefly the question of dates. Adopting Professor Petrie's computation, the flourishing period of Mycenæan art is placed between 1500 and 1200 B.C.; from the latter date is a period of decadence till 800 B.C., when pre-Hellenic art finally perished under the Dorian invasion. Taking 1400 B.C. as the date when the spiral system of ornament had been localised in the Ægean, we may assume that by 1200 B.C., it was fully established in the North. Worsaae places the beginning of the Bronze Age in Scandinavia at about 1000 B.C. ; Montelius puts it back to 1500 B.C. When we consider that the introduction of bronze in the northern lands was not dependent on race movement, but was largely due to trade intercourse, the earlier date, which squares with the Ægean dates, is to be preferred. Dr. Naue estimates the approximate chronology of the earlier Bronze Age in Upper Bavaria at 1400 to 1150 B.C., and the later Bronze Age from 1150 to 900 B.C. Concerning these dates, Mr. A. J. Evans observes that “there seems good warrant for believing that the central point of Mycenæan culture belongs to the fourteenth or fifteenth century B.C. But it is upon the fabrics of the later Bronze Age of this Bavarian region that the characteristic spiral decoration of Mycenæ first appears : and it might naturally be supposed that this influence made itself felt at a date nearer to the fourteenth than the twelfth century before our era.” On the other hand, he would bring down the close of the Bronze Age in Upper Bavaria to as late as 800 B.C. Thus from several centres of observation we find a close agreement as to the main dates. 1200 B.C. may, therefore, be taken as the approximate inferior limit for the arrival of the spiral in the North.
The importance of these dates in relation to the Bronze Age in Ireland will be seen at once. If we can establish a connexion between the spiral ornament of Ireland, and that of the North of Europe, we have fixed approximately the date of the most interesting monuments of that period in Ireland.
JOUR. R.S.A.I., VOL. V., PT. III., 5TH SER.