DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR
U. S. GEOGRAPHICAL AND GEOLOGICAL SURVEY OF THE ROCKY MOUNTAIN REGION
J. W. POWELL IN CHARGE
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES
THE OLD WORLD AND IN AMERICA
GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE
INTRODUCTION ................ ............ ...... ...... .............7............ .....
PART I.-Primitive lapidarian sculptures in Europe and Asia................................... 9
Scotland, etc ..-...-..... ....-...... .-..................-..........-....-......- 9
Eng-land ------------------------------------------------------------------ 1
Ireland --------------------------------------------------------------------- 17
France--------------------------------------- .....I'l....111-- ------- I-------- 18
England ..................... .................... .............. ........... 15
Ireland ....... ......... ..... .... ...................-............................ 17
France ........ ...................... ........................... ................. 18
Switzerland ................... ..--................. .........-................... 21
Germany and Austria .-........-....-.........--......-...- ..... .......... ......... 22
Denmark--- ........----.....................-... .....- ...... ..-.. -.... .......... 25
Sweden ................... .----........... ..-------- --......... ..................... 28
India .........................................----. .......... .................... 31
PART II.-Primitive lapidarian sculptures in America ....-----....... .......................... 41
North America..----..............----------------------................................. 41
Central America .............. .... .. ..........-..... ... ...................... G6
PART III.-Views concerning the significance of cup-shaped and other primitive sculptures...... 71
SUPPLEMENTARY NOTE......--------.....----................--- ......... .......--.....-....-. 95
SUMMARY .................. .............. .... ............... ................................ 97
INDEX ............- ................. ........................................................ 105
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
FIG. 1.-Common types of European cup and ring-cuttings.
FIG. 2.-Chief deviations from the general types of European cup and ring-cuttings.
FIG. 3.-Sculptured rock-surfaces at Auchnabreach, Argyleshire, Scotland.
FIG. 4.-Cup and ring-cuttings on a menhir at Ballymenach, Argyleshire, Scotland.
FIG. 5.-Dolmen with cup-marked cap-ptone, near Clynnog Fawr, Caernarvonshire, Wales.
FIG. G.-Kistvaen surrounded by blocks, one of which is cup-marked. Oatlands, Isle of Man.
FIG. 7.-Cupped stone in a chambered tumulus at Clava, Inverness-shire, Scotland.
FIG. 8.-Cupped monolith near Dnnbar, East-Lothian, Scotland.
FIG. 9.-Large cup-stone near Balvraid, Inverness-shire, Scotland.
FIG. 10.-Cupped stone found at Laws, Forfarshire, Scotland.
FIG. 11.- Stone with cup and ring-cuttings, County of Kerry, Ireland.
FIG. 12.-Incised stone in the tumulus at Lough Crew, Ireland.
FIG. 13.-Carving of a celt in a plumed handle, on the roof of a dolmen near Locimariaker, Brittany.
FIG. 14.-Incised chamber-stones in the tumulus of Gavr' Inis, Brittany.
FIG. 15.-"La Boule do Gargantua," a cupped boulder near Belley, Ain, France.
FIG. 16.-Cup-cuttings on a rock near Chirac, LozBre, France.
FIG. 17.-Cupped block near Mont-la-Villo, Canton of Vand, Switzerland.
FIG. 18.-Fac-similo representation of a cupped rock near Ober-Farrcnstildt, Prussian Saxony.
FIG. 19.-Fac-simile representation of a cupped rock near Meissen, Saxony.
FIG. 20.-Cupped backside of a runic stone at Ravnkilde, Jitland, Denmark.
FIG. 21.-Tracings of ships and wheels on the roof-stone of a funeral chamber near Herrestrup, Seeland,
FIG. 22.-The Balder Stone," near Falkhping, Sweden.
FIG. 23.-Stone slab showing cups and engraved designs. From a tumulus in Scania., Sweden.
FIG. 24.-One of the engraved slabs of the ivik monument, Scania, Sweden.
FIG. 25.-Rock-sculptures in Quille II'rad, Lin of Bohus, Sweden.
FIG. 26.-Cup and ring-cuttings at Chandeshwar, India.
FIG. 27.-Section of a stone Mahadco in the temple of Chandeshwar, India.
FIG. 28.-Mahadeo in a shrine at Benares, India.
FIGS. 29, 30, and 31.-Mahadeo symbols engraved on stone slabs in the temple of Chandeshwar, India.
FIG. 32.-Pitted stone found near Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee.
FIG. 33.-Pitted stone from Muncy, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania.
FIG. 34.-Nut-stone from the neighborhood of Loudon, Loudon County, Tennessee.
FIG. 35.-Cupped stone found near Groveport, Franklin County, Ohio.
FIG. 36.-Cupped stone from the neighborhood of Portsmouth, Ohio.
FIG. 37.-Cupped stone from Summit County, Ohio.
FIG. 38.-Earthenware paint-cups used by the Zunis, New Mexico.
FIl. 39.-Stone mortar and pestle with a cup-shaped cavity. From the Tcsuque Indians, New Mexico.
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS.
FIGs. 40 and 41.-Terra-cotta spindle-whorls from Tezeuco, Mexico.
FIG. 4"2.-Cupped sandstone block, discovered in Lawrence County, Ohio; now in Cincinnati.
FIG. 43.-Cupped granite boulder at Niantic, New London County, Connecticut.
FIG. 44.-Cupped (?) rock in the neighborhood of Orizaba, Mexico.
FIG. 45.-Large boulder with mortar-cavities. Santa Barbara County, California.
FIG. 4G.-Sculptures on Bald Friar Rock in the Susqunhanna River, Maryland.
FIG. 47.-Sculptured slab from Bald Friar Rock.
FIG. 48.-Northeastern end of Bald Friar Rock.
FIGS. 49, 10, and 51.-Sculptures on Bald Friar Rock.
FIG. 52.-Sculptured boulder in the Gila Valley, Arizona.
FIG. 53.-Rock-carving in the San Pete Valley, Utah.
FiGs. 54, 55, 56, and 57.-Rock-paintings in Lake County, Oregon.
FIG. 58.-Rock-sculptures near David, Chiriqni, and Northumbrian types.
FIG. 59.-Holy-water stone in a church at Stro in Scania, Sweden.
FIG. 60.-Holy-water stone in a church at Oennarp, Scania, Sweden.
FiG. 61.-Cups and furrows on the wall of Saint Mary's Church, at Greifswald, Pomerania.
OBSERVATIONS ON CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN
SCULPTURES IN THE OLD WORLD AND IN AMERICA.
BY CHARLES RAU.
The attention of European archaeologists has been directed for several
years to that very curious and widely-distributed class of antiquities, which
are called pierres a ecuelles in French, and Schalensteine in German, and to
which the English designation "cup-stones" might with propriety be applied.
In a general way, they may be defined as stones and rocks upon which cup-
shaped cavities, varying in size and number, are executed by the hand of
man. But as these cup-like excavations often appear, more especially in
the Old World, associated with engraved figures of a different character, it
will be necessary to consider them in connection with the latter.
Though the knowledge of the existence of cup-stones in Europe dates
back many years, it is only of late that archaeologists have commenced to
view them in a broader light, and to speculate on their ethnic significance.
Professor E. Desor, in particular, published not long ago a pamphlet, enti-
tled "Les Pierres h E]cuelles" (Geneve, 1878),* in which lie describes, with
his usual clearness, their occurrence in different countries, making this dis-
tribution a basis for drawing inferences bearing on the important question of
the migration of man in long-past ages.
*Reprinted in: Materiaix pour 1'Histoire Primitive et Naturelle de 1'Hornme, 1878, p. 25)9, etc.
Professor Desor republished this essay, enriched by additional facts, in his "M6langes Scientifiques,"
Paris, Neuclhtel, et Genbve, 1879.
8 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
It is certainly a matter of great interest that cup-stones, analogous to
those of the Eastern Hemisphere, are found in the United States, and, as it
appears, in other parts of the Western Continent. Before entering upon
the task of describing them so far as my present information permits, I will
give, for the sake of comparison and direct reference, a brief account of the
cup-stones of the Old World, relying chiefly on Professor Desor's excellent
pamphlet, yet availing myself in addition of such other writings of similar
bearing as happen to be at my command. In consideration of the scanti-
ness of my literary sources, I cannot claim for this rdsumd anything like
completeness; but, nevertheless, I hope it will bring out the principal fea-
tures of the subject.
PRIMITIVE LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES IN EUROPE AND ASIA.
Foremost among the works relating to the peculiar kind of sculpture
under consideration stands that entitled "Archaic Sculptures of Cups, Cir-
cles, etc., upon Stones and Rocks in Scotland, England, and other Coun-
tries," by Professor J. Y. Simpson.- The author's descriptions chiefly relate
to the occurrence of cupped and other engraved stones in Scotland; but also
those that have been observed in England, Wales, Ireland, Brittany, Sweden,
and Denmark are mentioned by way of comparison.
According to Professor Simpson, the cup-shaped cavities and other
sculptured figures (presently to be described) occur in the British Islands,
more especially in Scotland, as follows:-
I. On stones connected with archaic sepulture, as-
1. On stones of megalithic circles,
2. On stones of megalithic avenues,
3. On stones of dolmens,
4. On chambered tumuli,
5. On stone cists and covers of urns,
6. On standing stones or monoliths.
SPublished in: Proceedings of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, Eighty-fifth Session
(1864-65); Edinburgh, 1867. The copy at my disposal (from the Library of Congress) has no special title,
and I find that the work is quoted under different titles. I select that given by Professor Desor in his
essay on cup-stones.
It is a remarkable fact that Sir James Y. Simpson, the distinguished and much-occupied Edinburgh
physician, who first employed anesthetics in obstetric practice, found leisure to devote himself to thorough
archeological investigations, and to produce a work of high merit.
10 CUP-SIIAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
II. On stones connected with archaic habitations, as-
7. In weems, or underground houses,
8. In fortified buildings,
9. In and near ancient towns and camps,
10. On the surface of isolated rocks (in places probably once
III. On isolated stones.
Professor Simpson reduces the forms of the sculptures in question to
seven elementary types, here reproduced and comprised under Fig. 1, in
which each type is distinctly indicated. I also briefly present such extracts
from the author's accompanying explanations as will serve to afford addi-
tional information on the subject.
FIRST TYPE.- Single cups.-They are the simplest type of these ancient
stone-cuttings. Their diameter varies from one inch to three inches and
more, while they are often only half an inch deep, but rarely deeper than
an inch or an inch and a half. They commonly appear in different sizes on
the same stone or rock, and although they sometimes form the only sculpt-
ures on a surface, they are more frequently associated with figures of a
different character. He observes that they are in general scattered without
order over the surface, but that occasionally four or five or more of them
are placed in more or less regular groups, exhibiting a constellation-like
SECOND TYPE.-CupS surrounded by a single ring.-The incised rings are
usually much shallower than the cups, and mostly surround cups of com-
paratively large size. The ring is either- complete or broken, and in the
latter case it is often traversed by a radial groove which runs from the cen-
tral cup through and even beyond the ring.
TH[RD TYPE.-Cups surrounded by a series of concentric complete rings.-
"In this complete annular form," says Professor Simpson, "the central cup
is generally more deeply cut than the surrounding rings, but not always."
The number of rings varies from two to seven, or even more.
FOURTH TYPE.-Cups surrounded by a series of concentric but incomplete
rings, having a straight radial groove.-This type, Professor Simpson thinks,
constitutes, perhaps, the most common form of the circular carvings. The
TYPES OF SCULPTURES.
rings generally touch the radial line at both extremities, but sometimes they
terminate on each side of it without touching it. The radial groove occasion-
ally extends considerably beyond the outer circle, and in most cases it runs in
a more or less downward direction on the stone or rock. "Sometimes it runs
on and unites into a common line with other ducts or grooves coming from
other circles, till thus several series of concentric rings are conjoined into a
larger or smaller cluster united together by the extension of their radial
branch-like grooves." This type usually exhibits from three to six rings,
the outermost having a diameter of from ten to sixteen inches. But the
author measured one specimen at Auchnabreach, Argyleshire, Scotland,
three feet in diameter and composed of eight circles.
FIFTH TYPE.--CpS surrounded by concentric rings and flexed lines.-"'Tho
number of inclosing or concentric rings is generally fewer in this type
than in the two last preceding types, and seldom exceeds two or three in
SIXTH TYPE.-Concentric rings without a central cup.-In a compara-
tively limited number of cases the concentric rings of the types already
described appear without a central cup or depression, which is, however,
most frequently wanting in the complete concentric circles of the third type.
SEVENTH TYPE.--Concentric circular lines of the form of a spiral or
volute.-The central beginning of the spiral line is usually, but not always,
marked by a cup-like excavation. "The volute or spiral is, perhaps, the
rarest of the forms of circular ring-cuttings in Great Britain; but this type
seems common on the incised stones of Ireland and Brittany."
It often occurs that two, three, or more of these various types are found
on the same stone or rock, a fact proving, to use Professor Simpson's lan-
guage, "that they are intimately allied to each other, belong to the same
archaic school of art, and have a community of character and origin."
In Plate II of his work Professor Simpson represents what he calls "the
chief deviations from the principal types." I reproduce here this plate as
Fig. 2 without further comment, drawing only attention to the first four
designs, which represent cups connected by grooves. This is a noticeable
and frequently occurring feature, as will be seen hereafter. In order to show
the co-existence of different types on the same stone surface, and the manner
12 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
in which they are grouped, I give in Fig. 3 (copied from Plate XXIII
of Simpson's work) views of sculptured rock-surfaces at Auchnabreach,
Argyleshire, Scotland. Simple cups, cups surrounded by one ring or by
concentric rings with radial grooves, and spirals, appear here promiscuously
mingled. Fig. 4, taken from Simpson's work (Plate XVII, 3), exhibits
isolated as well as connected cups, a cup surrounded by a ring, and con-
centric rings with radial grooves, on a standing stone menhirr) belonging to
a group of seven at Ballymenach, in the parish of Kilmichael-Glassary, in
In the many examples of rock-sculpture mentioned and illustrated by
designs by Professor Simpson, groups of simple cups appear not very fre-
quently as the only markings on a stone-surface; in most cases, as exemplified
by Figures 3 and 4, they are accompanied with cups surrounded by rings
or associated with other figures of a more or less complex character. But
in view of the occurrence of simple cups on stones and rocks in North
America, I will, for the present, direct my attention to corresponding sculp-
tures in the Old World, and briefly enumerate the stones noticed by the
Scottish savant on which the cup-like cavities appear unmixed with other
figures, excepting the before-mentioned grooves by which they are now and
then connected. These simple carvings, it will be seen, mostly occur on
stones of megalithic monuments.
1.-Prop-stone of a dolmen at Lancresse, in the Island of Guernsey.
It shows eleven cups of from three to four inches diameter, arranged in a
row close to one of the edges of the stone and following its curvature
(Simpson, Plate VIII, 3).
2.-Cap-stone of a dolmen in the vicinity of the village of Ratho,
in Edinburghshire, Scotland. On its upper surface is sculptured a row of
twenty cups, which runs in a straight median line from one end of the stone
to the other. In addition, there is a cup placed on either side of the central
row. The largest cups measure about three inches in diameter, and are
half an inch deep. The cap-stone is a block of secondary basalt, or whin-
stone, about twelve feet long, ten in breadth, and two in thickness (Simpson,
Plate IX, 1).
3.-Cap-stone of a dolmen near the village of Clynnog Fawr, in Caer-
narvonshire, Wales. Its upper surface is covered with a large number of
cups running in oblique, but almost parallel, lines. Two long grooves, form-
ing an acute angle, connect a number of the cups (Simpson, Plate IX, 2).
This dolmen is represented as Fig. 3 on Plate III of Desor's Pierres h
EIcuelles," but erroneously marked Dolmen de Ratho. I reproduce Professor
Simpson's view of the dolmen as Fig. 5.
4.-Large stone which formerly occupied the centre of a still complete
stone circle at Moncrieff, a few miles south of Perth, Scotland.* It has
carved upon its surface about seventeen irregularly-distributed cups of
different sizes (Simpson, Plate IV, 2).
5.-Block of a small circle surrounding a kistvaen, or stone cist, at Oat-
lands, in the Isle of Man. The design shows in one corner of the block
eighteen cup-markings, which form five irregular rows (Simpson, Plate
VIII, 1). Fig. 6 of this publication.
6.-One of the roofing-stones in the chamber of the large elongated
tumulus, Mont Saint-Michel, at Carnac, Brittany. It -shows on the inner
side six apparently large cups, placed without special order (Simpson, Plate
7.-Two stones in chambered tumuli at Clava, in Inverness-shire, Scot-
land. Upon the surface of one of them are seen twelve cups, apparently
of equal size; the other stone shows five of them, which are placed in the
shape of an irregular cross (Simpson, Plate X, 3 and 4). Fig. 7 represents
the first-mentioned of these stones.
8 -Stone probably belonging to a chamber within a stone circle on
Cloughton Moor, near Scarborough, England. One side shows four cups,
the other three (Simpson, Plate XI, 4).
9.-Monolith standing near Dunbar, East-Lothian, Scotland. Upon
one of its sides appear five cups, so placed that they might mark the angles
of an irregular pentagon (Simpson, Plate IV, 3). Reproduced as Fig. 8.
10.-Conical standing stone in the bourg or village of the Forest, in
the Island of Guernsey. There are upon it three apparently large cups,
forming a row in the longitudinal direction of the stone, but placed far
apart (Simpson, Plate VIII, 2).
*The size of the objects figured in Simpson's work is rarely indicated.
14 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
11.-Standing stone, nearly ten feet high, in the neighborhood of Edin-
burgh, where it is known as the "Caiy Stone." Between two and three
feet from the ground is sculptured on one of its sides a horizontal row of
six cups, placed closely together (Simpson, Plate XVII, 1). A view of this
stone, differing from Simpson's representation, is given by Professor Daniel
12.-Isolated stone near Balvraid, in Inverness-shire, Scotland. It
measures above six feet in length, and is covered with many cups, five pairs
of which are joined by straight or curved grooves (Simpson, Plate XIV, 2).
Reproduced as Fig. 9.
I3.-Stone found among the ruins of an ancient fortification at Laws,
in Forfarshire, Scotland. The stone shows sixteen cups, which form an
irregular oval group (Simpson, Plate XII, 5). Fig. 10 in this publication.
14.-Rock lying in a wood behind the church-yard of Kirk Braddan,
in the Isle of Man. On one side eight cups are distributed without order;
on the other an equal number is recognizable, and here two pairs are con-
joined by straight grooves (Simpson, Plate XXVI, 4).
15.-The Baal or Balder Stone, near Falk6ping, Sweden (Simpson,
Plate XXXI, 1). It will be described and figured in my notice of Swedish
Professor Simpson represents in all about a hundred stones upon which
figures are sculptured, and my enumeration shows that among these only
sixteen bear exclusively cup-shaped cavities, which are in some instances
conjoined by grooves. I have to mention, however, that he also alludes in
his work to a number of simple cup-cuttings which he does not figure. I
presented the preceding summary simply for the purpose of showing that
cups unaccompanied by other figures are not very frequently met with
on stones in Scotland, England, and the smaller islands belonging to Great
*Wilson: The Archeology and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland; Edinburgh, 1851, p. 96.
RAU.] SCOTLAND, ETC.-ENGLAND. 15
An important publication relating to English rock-sculpture of the
peculiar kind here examined is that by Mr. George Tate, entitled "The
Ancient British Sculptured Rocks of Northumberland and the Eastern Bor-
ders" (Alnwick, 1865).* While Professor Simpson chiefly treats of Scot-
tish sculptures, yet draws also those of other countries within the sphere of
his observations, Mr. Tate's work, as its title indicates, is mainly devoted to
a narrower district in the North of England.
The rock-sculptures of Northumberland described by Mr. Tate are
almost absolutely analogous to those hitherto considered, and appear to be
of contemporaneous origin with them. The well-developed spiral line,
however, does not occur among the English sculptures figured by Mr. Tate.
For the rest, we behold here the same rings with central cups and radial
grooves, etc., which form most curious and complicated groups, and are
frequently accompanied by simple cups. Yet, in none of the illustrations
published by the author do they constitute the sole sculptures of a rock-
surface. The general results of Mr. Tate's investigations in Northumber-
land are summed up in the following resume on page 27 of his treatise:-
"From this survey we find that fifty-three sculptured stones have been
observed in Northumberland, and that there are inscribed on them about
three hundred and fifty figures. All of them are more or less connected
with ancient British remains. Four of them formed the covers of cists;
four were probably covers of cists; two are within a few yards of barrows,
beneath which are similar small sepulchral chambers; five of them are
within ancient British camps; eight of them are not more distant from such
camps than a hundred yards, most of the others are less distant than half a
mile, and none further away than a mile. Their relation, however, to the
camps, forts, and hut-circles-the dwellings of the ancient British people-
is more apparent than to their sepulchres."
To this I will add that the sculptures observed by Mr. Tate within or
SThe illustrated work on incised markings on stone in Northumberland, etc., published in 1869 by
direction of the late Duke of Northumberland, was not within my reach.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
in the neighborhood of camps and fortifications are mostly executed on
sandstone rock in situ.
I shall have occasion to refer again to Mr. Tate's interesting monograph.
Of particular interest is a class of small English cup-stones, which
the Rev. William Greenwell found in no inconsiderable number during his
extensive exploration of English barrows. He refers to them repeatedly,
but with special minuteness in his account of a barrow in the parish of
Kilburn, in Yorkshire. This barrow, which measured forty-two feet in
diameter, was no longer in its original state, having been much disturbed
in recent times for the sake of the stones which formed it. No traces of
any interment remained, a fact ascribed by Mr. Greenwell to the total dis-
appearance of the bones by decay. According to his opinion, a burned body
had never been interred in this mound, for in that case some fragments of
calcined bones would have come to light. On the east side of the barrow
was found a stone with two grooves running crosswise, and probably pro-
duced by the sharpening of some stone implement.
"A remarkable feature in this barrow," Mr. Greenwell continues, "was
the very large number of stones (more than twenty) of various sizes, from
five inches to eighteen inches square, and of different and irregular shapes,
on which pit or cup-markings had been formed. These hollows were both
circular and oval, and differed in size from one inch in diameter to three
inches, and their depth was about two inches. The oval pits, as a rule,
were not very regular in outline. Some of the stones had only one pit-
marking upon them, others had as many as six; on some they were quite
separate from each other, on others they were connected by a shallow but
wide groove. They were all formed in a soft and very light oSlitic sand-
stone, and the pits were in most cases as fresh as if only made yesterday,
showing most distinctly the marks of the tool, which appeared to have been
a sharp-pointed instrument, and very probably of flint. It is not easy to
attribute any special purpose to these stones or to their markings. The
condition of the pits, showing no signs of wear (for had anything been
ground or rubbed in them, the marks of the tooling upon so soft a stone
would have been speedily effaced), seems to preclude the idea that they
were intended for any domestic or manufacturing process. On the whole,
I prefer to regard them as symbolic representations, though as to what their
significance may be, I confess myself unable to offer anything more than
conjecture." He then draws attention to their resemblance "to the sim-
ilarly-shaped pits which, found sometimes alone and sometimes in connection
with incomplete circles, have been discovered so extensively in Northum-
berland, Yorkshire, Argyleshire, Kerry, and other parts of the United
Kingdom, occurring in many cases upon rocks, but very frequently upon
detached stones of greater or less size "* In general, Mr. Greenwell met
with such cup-stones in barrows containing burned human remains. He
lays particular stress on the freshness of their cavities, and the latter cir-
cumstance-if, indeed, these cup-stones were designed for any practical
purpose-renders the solution of the question of their use extremely diffi-
cult, or perhaps impossible.
Sculptures analogous to those hitherto considered have been discovered
in Ireland, more especially, as it appears, in the southern part of the king-
dom. A large stone slab, found in the County of Kerry, and figured by
Professor Simpson on Plate XXVII, shows on its surface single cups as
well as others surrounded by circles, the latter being in part traversed and
connected by grooves. Mr. Tate likewise mentions similar Irish sculptures,
and represents on Plate XI (Fig. 8) a stone found in the above-named
county underneath several feet of peat. In lieu of a description of this
stone, I present in Fig. 11 a copy of Mr. Tate's design of the same.
These simpler sculptures are often associated in Ireland with other
devices, such as stars, rosettes, crosses, triangles, zigzags, etc., which, as
far as I know, have not been observed in Great Britain. Such an assem-
blage of figures is exhibited on the side-surface of a block fashioned as a
rude seat, and belonging to the stone circle which surrounds a large cairn
at Lough Crew, near Oldcastle, Leinster. This block, of more than ten
Greenwell and Rolleston : British Barrows, etc.; Oxford, 1877, p. 341, etc.
18 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
tons weight, and known as "the Hag's Chair," has been described and
figured by Mr. James Fergusson.* Many of the stones forming the cham-
ber of the tumulus at Lough Crew are likewise ornamented with various
devices, as seen in the representations of two of them given by Mr. Fer-
gusson.t I present as Fig. 12 a copy of one of his designs. The sculpture
on this stone is even more characteristic than that on the Hag's Chair.
Of a still more artistic character are the sculptures on the stones in the
celebrated cairns of New Grange and Dowth, in the neighborhood of
Drogheda. Here are seen graceful groups of double spirals, scrolls, math-
ematical devices, and even designs resembling palm or fern-like plants-
in general forms evidently belonging to a later period than the cup and
ring-cuttings previously treated. Mr. Fergusson takes occasion to draw
attention to the progressive development shown in Irish sculpture.t
The dolmen-stones of Brittany likewise exhibit sculptures far superior
in design to those of Scotland and England, and doubtless belonging to a
more advanced stage of primitive art. Though we behold here curious
concentric circles and spiral lines, which bear a distant resemblance to the
sculptures of Great Britain, we also meet with real ornaments, snake-like
designs, and representations of hafted and unhafted celts. Some of the
sculptures of Brittany are raised and not incised. A very characteristic
outline of a celt in a plumed handle is seen on the roof of a dolmen called
"the Merchant's Table," near Locmariaker. It is here reproduced as Fig. 13.
The tumulus on the Island of Gavr' Inis, in the Bay of Morbihan, a
SFergusson: Rude Stone Monuments in all Countries; London, 1872, p. 215.
SIbid., p. 216.
T Ibid., p. 222. In addition, however, he says on the same page: "It would be an extremely dan-
gerous line of argument to apply this law of progressive development to all countries. In India,
especially, it is very frequently reversed. The rudest art is often much more modern than the most
refined, but in Ireland this apparently never was the case. From the earliest scratching on pillar-
stones down to the English conquest her art seems to have been unfalteringly progressive."
Illustrations of the sculptures of New Grange and Dowth are given by Simpson and Fergusson in
their works here quoted.
few miles east of Locmariaker, is of great interest to archaeologists, on
account of the sculptured stones forming its chamber, upon which groups'
of intricate concentric and spiral lines, and outlines of objects generally
considered as celts are traced. These stones have repeatedly been repre-
sented. Fig. 14 is a copy of one of Mr. Fergusson's illustrations.
Yet, the fact that cup-cuttings are not wanting in this part of France
is exemplified by the roofing-stone of Mont Saint-Michel, at Carnac, which
has been alluded to on a preceding page. The Rev. W. C. Lukis,
moreover, communicated to Mr. E. T. Stevens that he had found in twelve
cases cup-cuttings on dolmen-stones of Brittany (mostly upon cap-stones),
and in one case on a slab near the entrance of a galleried chamber. He
further observed them twice on menhirs, once on a rock in situ, and again
on a loose stone block, all in the same region.* It is not mentioned
whether these cups occur alone or, as is more probable, accompanied by
I am not aware that elaborate sculptures similar to those of Brittany
have been discovered in the southern parts of France. Simple cup-cuttings,
on the other hand, are not wanting there, and more of them doubtless will
become known in the course of further investigation. Professor Desor
draws in his pamphlet attention to the report of Messrs. Piette and Sacaze,
who lately examined in the neighborhood of Luchon, in the Pyrenees, a
large number of megalithic monuments, one of which, called Le Cailhaou
des Pourics (the chicken-stone), has sculptured on its surface sixty-two cups,
from five to six centimeters in diameter and from two to three centimeters in
depth. Four cups in the middle of the stone are conjoined by grooves in
such a manner that they form a cross.t Elsewhere in his pamphlet (page
21) Professor Desor observes that thus far cup-stones have not been
noticed in the East of France, notwithstanding the abundance of erratic
blocks in that region. Shortly afterward, however, M. A. Falsan described
two cup-stones which he had discovered in the valley of the Rhone. One
of them, in the neighborhood of Belley, in the Department of the Ain,
deserves particular mention. It is a sandstone boulder of oval shape, a
*Stevens: Flint Chips; London, 1870, p. 490.
t Piette et Sacaze: Les Monuments dela Montague d'Espiaup (Pyr6nkes); Mat6riaux, 1878, p. 246.
20 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
meter and a half long and sixty centimeters in thickness, having sculptured
on its upper surface about sixty round cups, distributed in irregular groups,
and in some instances conjoined by grooves, which, to judge from the very
good accompanying illustration, here reproduced as Fig. 15, are much shal-
lower than the cavities. The largest cup measures eight centimeters in
diameter; the others are smaller, and their depth varies between a few mil-
limeters and three centimeters. The people of the neighborhood call this
block La Boule de Gargantua, attaching to it the legend that it was hurled
from a distance to its present place by the giant of that name, the impres-
sions of his fingers being the very cups seen on its surface.
M. Falsan alludes to the existence of other yet unexamined cup-stones
in that region, and a further search probably will amply reward the investi-
Quite recently M Louis de Malafosse has pointed out the occurrence of
cup-cuttings on rocks in the Lozere Department, mentioning in particular a
schistose rock in situ near the rivulet Rioulong, not far from a place called
Chirac. A cornice-like projection of this rock shows about forty cups,
apparently grouped without order, and in some instances connected by
grooves, as indicated in Fig. 16, which is a copy of M. de Malafosse's
illustration. The grooves are shallower than the cups, the latter being fiom
three to four centimeters in diameter and from three and a half to four
centimeters deep. The cup marked A is larger than the others. These
cavities are conical in shape and some terminate in a flat bottom. M. de
Malafosse thinks that, though the rock is very hard, the cavities might have
been produced by the rotation of a flint implement.t
Additional discoveries of cup-stones in different parts of France may
be confidently expected.
Falsan: De la Presence de quclques Pierres A incuelles dans la Rdgion Moyenne du Basmi du
Rh6ne; Mat6riaux, 1878, p. 280.
tDo Malafosse: Lea Pierres a Bassina et lea Rochers A ]fcuelles dans la Lozbre; Mat6riaux, 1879,
In this country erratic blocks bearing cup-cuttings are not rare* Accord-
ing to Professor Desor, about fifty were known some years ago, twenty of
them having been found in the French cantons of the republic; and owing
to the closer search on the part of geologists and archaeologists their num-
ber steadily increases by new discoveries.
He figures on Plate I of his pamphlet the cup-stone observed as early as
1849 by Professor F. Troyon at the foot of the Jura, near Mont-la-Ville, in
the Canton of Vaud, and then and afterward described by him.* This block
consists of chlorite slate, is ten feet and a half long, and from four to five
feet in breadth. Its surface exhibits twenty-seven irregularly-distributed
cups, of which the largest measures nine inches in diameter and four inches
and a half in depth; the others are considerably smaller. Some of the cups
forming the central group are connected by undulating furrows of insignifi-
cant depth, and a short straight groove conjoins two cups near the upper
end of the rock. I give Professor Desor's illustration as Fig. 17.
Dr. Ferdinand Keller has described the cup-stones of Switzerland in a
memoir which is not within my reach.t In J. E. Lee's translation of Dr.
Keller's reports on the lake-dwellings of Switzerland I find the description
and representation of a block in the Luterholz near Bienne, in the Can-
ton of Berne, which shows twenty-one cups, arranged without apparent
order, and partly connected by grooves. The block weighs about twenty
hundred-weight, and consists of gneiss.T Professor Desor refers (on page
14) to the discovery of similar blocks in the neighborhood of Bienne, with-
out describing them in detail; he also alludes to several cup-stones in the
environs of Ziirich.
Cup-cuttings appear to occur in Switzerland mostly on boulders of
granite and gneiss, and, as a rule, unassociated with other sculptured figures.
Troyon: Habitations Lacustres des Temps Anciens et Modernes; Lausanne, 1860, p. 158, note.
tDie Zeichen-oder Schalensteine der Schweiz, in: Mittheilungen der Antiquarischen Gesellschaft
in Zirich," Bd. XVII.
t Keller: The Lake-Dwellings of Switzerland and other Parts of Duropo; translated by J. E.
Lee; London, 1878, Vol. I., p 460; Vol. II, Plate XXXIX, 14. In the description eighteen cups are men-
tioned; the figure shows twenty-one.
22 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
Yet, according to Professor Desor (page 12), a rock exhibiting a number of
simple cups and one cup surrounded by two circles was formerly seen near
the village of Mels, in the Canton of Saint Gall. Unfortunately, this rock
has been'destroyed. This isolated case, however, is in so far of interest,
as it exemplifies the transition from the simpler and earlier cup-type to a
somewhat more developed form.
Dr. Keller states that smaller cupped stones have been found in the
Lake of Neuchatel, at Corcelettes, at Font, above Estavayer, and at the
lake-dwelling of Cortaillod, just opposite the shore, almost always in places
which are dry at low water.
"The implements met with in the neighborhood of these hollow stones,"
he continues, "belong in general to the bronze age. The cups vary from
three to ten inches in diameter; they are seldom more than an inch in depth.
They are made on the surface of the stone without any kind of order, ex-
cept that when they are three in number, they form, as it were, the points
of an equilateral triangle."* Though he alludes on the same page to a
relation between these stones and the large cup-bearing boulders of Switz-
erland, he seems to have afterward changed his view, and to regard the
former as utensils designed for some domestic purpose, perhaps for grinding
cereals or other substances (Desor, page 8). This was Professor Troyon's
GERMANY AND AUSTRIA.
As far as I could learn, no cup-stones have yet been discovered in
Southern Germany, but it hardly admits of any doubt that they will be
found in that district, when diligent search is made for them. Their occur-
rence in North Germany, however, is well established. Mr. C. Jessen
describes in the "Zeitschrift fir Ethnologie" (Vol. IV, 1872, p. 223) a real
cup-stone discovered by him not far from Eckernf6rde (Schleswig), and to
Keller: Lake-Dwellings, etc., Vol. I, p. 460. Figs. 12 and 13, on Plate XXXIX of the same work
represent two of these cupped stones, one with three, the other with four cavities; but their size is not
indicated, either on the platefr in the text.
t "D'autres pierrcs portent do petits bassins, do 2 a 3 pouces de diambtre sur 5 t 8 lines do pro-
fondeur, destinds sans doute t broyer des grains, mais don't l'usage a pu etre fort vari."-1-royoln: Habi-
tations Lacustres, elc., p. 158.
SWITZERLAND-GERMANY AND AUSTRIA.
which he attributes, doubtless erroneously, the character of a stone upon
which stone axes were ground. This block, which is figured in the "Zeit-
schrift" (Plate XIV), consists of granite, is five feet long, half as wide, and
exhibits upon its surface twenty-four cups of unequal size. Miss J. Mestorf,
the accomplished custodian of the Archaeological Museum at Kiel (Hol-
stein), mentions, as the result of her careful examination of various records,
that sixteen cup-stones have been found in the duchies of Schleswig and
Holstein, of which five only are still known to exist, the others being either
destroyed or no longer traceable. She refers to a specimen taken out of a
garden-wall in Schleswig, and preserved in the Museum of Kiel, upon which
four of the cups are joined by grooves, thus presenting the shape of a cross.
Another specimen in the same museum, which consists of white marble
and is only 7.5 centimeters in size, shows on both sides a number of dimin-
utive cups, resembling those seen on large stones and rocks. It was found
in a burial-urn from a cemetery pertaining to the early age of iron, near
Altona (Holstein), and is considered as an amulet. There is further men-
tioned a cupped stone near Albersdorf (Holstein), which formed one of the
three lid-stones of a cist covered by a mound of earth, and containing only
a fractured flint lance-head. On the upper side of the stone, which has not
been removed, are sculptured more than a hundred cups and a figure like a
wheel with four spokes-a design not uncommon in Denmark and the Scan-
dinavian countries, as will be seen in the sequel. Another stone, found in
a tumulus at Risby (Schleswig), shows a curious system of cups and con-
necting grooves, both rather shallow, to judge from a representation by Dr.
Henry Petersen.* This relic is now in the Museum of Copenhagen. A
stone found in a tumulus near Arrild (Schleswig) had cups sculptured on
one side, and on the other the word Fatur, in runic characters. This
remarkable piece of lapidarian sculpture was put out of sight by its last
owner, who used it in building the foundation of a barn. Five or six of
the cup-stones traced by Miss Mestorf occurred in or in connection with
In: M6moires de la Societ6 Royale des Antiquaires du Nord, 1877, p. 335.
t J. Mcstorf: Ueber Schalcnsteinc. I., in: Correspondonz-Blatt der Doutschen Anthropologischon
Gesellschaft;, 1879, S. 3:-Worsaao: Die Vorgcschichto des Nordous nach glcichzeitigen Donkcmlorn;
in's Deutscho iibertragen von J. Mcstorf; Hamburg, 1878, S. 41.
Since the above was written, I have been favored with a letter from Miss Mestorf, dated April 3,
24 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
According to Mr. Friedel, cup-cuttings occur on megalithic monuments
in the Island of Riigen, situated in the Baltic Sea, opposite Stralsund, Prus-
sia, and on rocks in different parts of Silesia. He refers to a rock called
the Bischofs-Stein (Bishop's Stone), at or near Niemegk, in the Province of
Brandenburg, Prussia, upon which are sculptured, on one side a Maltese
cross and the date 1590, and on the other a chalice, a cross, and several
cups, while its top shows a trough-shaped cavity.* The communications
of that gentleman relative to the cup-like cavities executed on the walls of
many churches in Germany and Sweden, and thus bearing witness to the
practice of cup-cutting within comparatively recent times, are of great in-
terest.t But as I shall revert to this subject in another section of this essay,
I refrain from enlarging on it in this place.
Though of late years much has been said in Germany concerning
cupped stones, it appears that two of them, long ago briefly described and
figured by Samuel Christoph Wagener, have recently escaped the notice of
German archeologists. One of them is thus mentioned by Wagener among
the antiquities in the neighborhood of Ober-Farrenstadt, near Querfurt, in
Prussian Saxony: "There was also found in this district the memorial stone,
Fig. 895, with many drill-holes" (Auch fand sich in hiesiger Gegend der Denk-
stein, Fig. 895, mit vielen Bohrl6chern) t The illustration, a very rude out-
line sketch, of which Fig. 18 is a fac-simile, evidently represents a cup-stone.
The size of the stone is not indicated. The other cupped stone, represented
in an equally rude manner by Fig. 133G7 in Wagener's work, is a granite
block near Zadel, in the neighborhood of Meissen, Saxony. The people of
the neighborhood call it Riesenstein or Giant Stone. It is six feet high and
seven feet broad, and marked with many cup-excavations, of which the
upper ones, placed in rows, are oval, three inches long, from one inch to an
inch and a half wide, and from a fourth of an inch to half an inch in depth.
1880, in which she enumerates the cup-stones which have become known in the duchies of Schlcswig
and Holstein up to the year 1880. There are eighteen in all, of which the last in the list has not yet
been described. It was discovered at or near Bunsoh (Holstein), is conical in shape, sixteen centimeters
high, and shows twenty-seven cups, three of which arc surrounded by single rings.
As early as 1751 mention is made of cupped boulders in the Province of Brandenburg in a his-
torical work on that province by J. C. Bekmann. The author calls them Ndipfchensleinc.
t Verhandlungen der Berliner Anthropologischen Gesellschaft; Sitzung vom 16. February 1878,
t Wagener: Handbuch der vorziiglichsten in Deutschland entdeckten Alterthiimer aus heidnischer
Zeit; Weimar, 1842, S. 479.
RAt.] GERMANY AND AUSTRIA-DENMARK. 25
The lower cups are circular, and vary from two to three inches and a half
in diameter.* Fig. 19 is a copy of Wagener's sketch of this rock.
I was totally in the dark as to the occurrence of cup-stones in Austria
until my esteemed correspondent, Dr. M. Much, of Vienna, favored me with
a full reply to a letter of inquiry addressed to him. Though cup-stones
have thus far been mentioned only in a transient manner in the publications
of the Anthropological Society of Vienna, they are, nevertheless, by no
means uncommon in Austria, more especially in Bohemia and in that part
of the empire where the three provinces, Bohemia, Moravia, and Lower
Austria border upon each other. In this district the soil is often covered
with rounded granite blocks, some of which are cupped like the boulders
of Switzerland and Northern Europe. The sketches of Bohemian cup-
stones sent to me by Dr. Much show rather large cups, either isolated or in
groups, and frequently connected by grooves. "These are only hasty
sketches," he says, and, moreover, not based upon personal observation,
but communicated to me by others. Absolute correctness cannot be claimed
for them. At any rate, however, they prove the existence of cup-stones in
Austria; and I am of opinion .thgt:rtf yAre:.h'ot'at all rare in Bohemia, in
the northwestern part of AiWr" rid im lorthierr iS' r Austria. Those
which I have seen on~rei.Vitusberg and Stolzenberg, b'olt'.it the neighbor-
hood of Eggenburg erredrrd iri. .r -.I'jh~ i'rt'erized 1;*p'historic set-
tlements and placs-.of sacrifice; yet I am not prepared to'state whether
these are to be referred to the age of polished stone or to a later period,
though the latter appears to me more probable."
My statements relative to primitive lapidarian sculptures in Denmark,
called Helleristninger in that country, are almost exclusively taken from an
article by Dr. Henry Petersen, published in the "MWmoires" of the Royal
Society of Northern Antiquaries.t
*Wagencr: IIandbuch, etc.; 8. 755.
tPetersen: Notice sur les Pierres Sculptees du Danomark, in: M6moires do la Socidt6 Royale des
Antiquaires du Nord; Copenhague, 1877, p. 330-342.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
According to his account, cup-cuttings are found in post of the Danish
islands (Seeland, Laaland, Fiinen, Langeland, Bornholm) and in Jitland.
" The stones upon which these cup-cuttings occur," he says, "are generally
large erratic blocks lying in the midst of fields; but there is a special inter-
est attached to them when they are sculptured on stones that have served
in the construction of sepulchres of the age of stone, namely, covered gal-
leries, oblong or round dolmens, or, as is often the case, on the surface of
slabs forming the coverings of funeral chambers. Their presence on these
slabs is not in itself a decisive proof that they were made in the stone age,
for the slabs were rarely covered with earth, and the figures may have been
engraved upon them long afterward, as upon any stone found in the fields.
But the motive which led to the selection of stones of dolmens probably is
to be sought in the peculiar protection these monuments afforded, to which
an almost sacred character was attributed. A more conclusive proof, how-
ever, that these cup-cuttings reach as far back as the stone age is furnished
in the fact of their presence upon the inner walls of sepulchral chambers;
for it is evident that they could not have been engraved on these stones
after their application irtti' ciist.ru.Vti'nifi.-t he chambers" (page 332). He
cites several exanrgls..si'suipport of his 'vi.i' .ut he also states that cup-
stones have beek'found in .D.nmark in connectro ',.th burials of the bronze
age, mentiotifg in partihiiM .'a'tMiotlts t Borrety-~in the Southwest of
Seeland, which inclosed a stone of considerable size, ie't1ibiting on its upper
convex surface from seventy-five to eighty cup-cuttings. There have been
found in Denmark several stones bearing runic inscriptions, dating from the
ninth to the eleventh century, on which cups, in all probability of earlier
origin, are sculptured. In a few instances the runic lines even traverse the
cup-shaped cavities. Fig. 20, copied from Dr. Petersen's article, represents
the cupped backside of a runic stone at Ravnkilde, in Jiitland.
Some artificial foot-tracks, set in pairs, have been.observed in Denmark:
in one instance on a slab belonging to the covering of a gallery in Seeland; in
another on one of the blocks surrounding an oblong tumulus in the Island
of Laaland. The first-named sculptures, figured by the author on page
337, are not unlike the well-known foot-sculptures so often seen on rocks
in the United States.* Danish popular legends refer to these tracks as to
real impressions of human feet. Figures resembling wheels with four spokes
have repeatedly been found in Denmark on isolated blocks and on stones
of megalithic structures, and in one case in connection with cup-cuttings on
a rock in the Island of Bornholm. Dr. Petersen's statements render it
probable, if not certain, that these wheel-shaped sculptures pertain to the
stone age as well as to that of bronze (page 337).
Sometimes they appear associated with rude designs of ships, the crew
of which is indicated by upright straight lines. A group of this kind is
seen on the cap-stone of a funeral chamber near Herrestrup, in the North-
west of Seeland. According to Professor Simpson (who quotes from Holm-
berg), the chamber was entirely concealed within an earthen mound until
discovered by treasure-diggers, and hence there is a strong probability that
the sculptures are coeval with the chamber. The latter contained some
urns, with tools and pieces of flint. The sculptured group consists of three
wheel-shaped figures and three very rudely executed manned ships, together
with some imperfect linear markings, perhaps not of artificial origin. The
figures are so slightly carved that they become very distinct only in a good
light.t I give in Fig. 21 a representation of this structure, copied from
Fergusson's "Rude Stone Monuments" (Fig. 106 on page 303). In 1875,
Dr. Petersen states (page 338), two blocks with similar figures (a wheel,
manned vessels, and human figures of the most primitive character) were
discovered in the neighborhood of the denuded chamber. The latter has
been thought by some to have been erected during the stone age; but
Worsaaet as well as Petersen incline to the opinion that Danish sculp-
tures among which figures of ships occur, generally belong to the age of
bronze. The last-named gentleman takes ocQasion to draw special atten-
tion to analogous designs of ships and other figures engraved on Danish
bronze knives (razors?), two of which he represents on page 341. Mr.
*Dr. Peterson's illustration bears much analogy to Fig. 222 on page 57 of my publication entitled
"The Archmological Collection of the United States National Museum." In both cases the soles of the
feet are represented as being covered.
tSimpson: Archaic Sculptures, etc., p. 72.
t Worsaae: The PrimevalAntiquities of Denmark; translated by W. J. Thorns; London, 1849, p. 91.
For representations of others see Worsaae: Nordiske Oldsager i det Kongeligo Museum i Kjiibcn.
havn, Figs. 171-175.
28 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
Fergusson is even inclined to ascribe to the stone chamber in question a
still more recent origin.*
Sculptures on rocks in situ are not found in Denmark, because, as Dr.
Petersen states, rock-formations suitable for their execution are, excepting
perhaps the Island of Bornholm, wanting within the present limits of the
Kingdom of Denmark (page 332).
The primitive sculptures forming the subject of this essay are, so far
as variety is concerned, perhaps better represented in the territory of
Sweden than in any other part of Europe. Simple cup-cuttings on erratic
blocks are not wanting in that country; but cups also occur there among
the more elaborate figures engraved on boulders and stones of megalithic
structures as well as on natural rock-formations.
Reference was made on a preceding page to the Baal or Balder Stone,
at Ranten, near Falkoping, in the Lin of Mariestad. This block was first
described by Professor Sven Nilsson, who states that it is a granite boulder
from six to seven feet in length, oval in shape, and more than three feet high.
On the upper slightly convex surface are numerous cup-cuttings of unequal
size, the largest of which occupies nearly the centre; and a projection near
the base of the block exhibits additional cup-like excavations. Fig. 22 is a
copy of Professor Nilsson's representation of the stone.t He is of opinion that
this block and others of the same description served as sacrificial altars in
the worship of Baal or Balder, which, he thinks, was at one time prevalent
in the North of Europe; and that the cup-shaped cavities were designed for
the reception of the blood of the victims. This view will be considered in
another part of this essay. A cup-stone in the LDn of Halland is figured
in the "Matiriaux" for 18i8 (on page 268); another in the "Archiv fir
Anthropologie" (Vol. XII; page 106). The latter, which was found near
*Fergusson: Rudo Stone Monuments, etc.; p. 303.
t Nilssou: Die Urcinwohner des Scanditnavischen Nordens; das Broizcealter; aus dem Schwo-
dischen iibersetzt; Hamburg, 1866; Nachtrag, S. 45.
GSteborg, and is now preserved in the Historical Museum of that city, is
apparently a boulder, and of small size, having one side entirely covered
with cups, while there are only three on the opposite surface. The cups are
not over six centimeters in diameter. Other cupped stones are known to
exist in various parts of Sweden, where, indeed, these remarkable antique*
ties are so familiar to the people that they designate them by the name
elfstenar, or elf-stones, connecting with them curious superstitions-either
descended from ancient times or of later origin-to which allusion will be
Dr. Petersen figures on page 331 of his previously-quoted article in
the Memoires" of the Royal Society of Northern Antiquaries two erratic
blocks found in the Province of Scania, upon which cups as well as figures
resembling wheels with four spokes are sculptured, and which appear to
be of contemporaneous origin.
Professor Nilsson represents in his iork on the bronze age a heavy
diorite slab from a tumulus in Scania, called Willfarahig.* This slab shows
the designs of two horses drawing a two-wheeled chariot, and of three
ships, two of them manned. In addition, the stone shows thirteen cup-
markings, two of which are inclosed by the figure of one of the ships, while
a third is traversed by its lower line, as seen in Fig. 23, which is a some-
what reduced copy of Nilsson's delineation. Professor Simpson is certainly
right in believing that the cup-cuttings are in this case of earlier date than
the incised figures.t Nilsson, however, draws no such inference, but finds
in the presence of the cups a support for his view that the slab occupied a
horizontal position in the tumulus, and served as a sacrificial altar. In this
tumulus, which inclosed no stone chamber, were found a rotten tooth of
a horse, fragments of a clay urn, pieces of charcoal, a lance-head and an
arrow-head, both of flint, and a fine flint dagger; and, in addition, a
medallion-like piece of bronze, ornamented with graceful spiral lines, such
as are peculiar to the earlier bronze age. Professor Nilsson, therefore,
has good reason for ascribing the Willfara tumulus to the age of bronze.$
He points out the analogy existing between the sculptures on the Will-
Nilsson : Das Bronzealter; Nachtrag, S. 42.
t Simpson: Archaic Sculptures, etc.; p. 78.
t Objects of flint and bronze are often associated in burials of the bronze age.
30 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
fara slab and on the chamber-stones of the well-known monument at Kivik,
in Christianstad Lkn, Scania, which, according to his view, was erected
by Baal-worshiping Phoenicians, who, he thinks, had colonies in the North
of Europe, and introduced there the use of bronze. The Kivik sculptures,
executed on seven unground granite slabs, four feet high and three feet
wide, exhibit a variety of figures, among them a man standing on a two-
wheeled chariot drawn by two horses, several unharnessed horses, ships,
groups of men (supposed to represent warriors, musicians, prisoners, and
priests), various ornamental (perhaps symbolical) designs, four wheel-shaped
figures, a cone or obelisk (the emblem of Baal or the sun-god, according
to Nilsson), and two handled axes, evidently representing weapons of metal
(see Fig. 24). Cup-cuttings are entirely wanting on the Kivik slabs. The
sculptures on them, as interpreted by Nilsson, commemorate a victory,
probably a naval one, and the succeeding sacrifice of prisoners of war.*
Dr. Petersen claims, as it were, the Kivik and similar Scanian sculptures
for Denmark, not only because Scania formed a part of that country until the
year 16%0, but also for the reason that the Scanian monuments of the ages
of stone and bronze partake more of a Danish than a Swedish character.t
Lastly, I must refer to the sculptures which are often seen on nat-
ural rock-surfaces in different parts of the Scandinavian Peninsula, but are
particularly abundant in the Lan of Bohus. They represent scenes of war
and hunting, manned and empty ships, etc., and some of these groups seem
to be executed in a quite spirited manner. There appear among-the figures
warriors armed with weapons resembling the leaf-shaped swords peculiar to
the bronze age, to which, indeed, these rock-engravings have been referred by
several authors. Professor Nilsson, however, believes that they originated
during the age of iron, ascribing them to the Vikings of the eighth and ninth
centuries.t A. E. Holmberg's work on the subject, entitled Scandinaviens
Hallristningar" (Stockholm, 1848), is not within my reach; but I am able
to give in Fig. 25 a specimen illustration of this kind of sculpture, which I
The subject is treated quite in detail by Nilsson in his work on the bronze age. His illustrations
of the Kivik slabs have been copied by Simpson in his "Archaic Sculptures," where also a r6sum6 of
Nilsson's interpretation is given.
tLoc. cit., p. 330.
SNilsson: Das Bronzealter; S. 90.
have taken from an article by Dr. Lennal-t Aberg.* It will be seen that
cups and wheel-shaped figures accompany the more elaborate representa-
Professor Desor lays particular stress on the circumstance that cup-stones
are found in various parts of India. "We touch here upon the main point
of our thesis,"f he says in his often-quoted pamphlet (page 33), in order to
render his appreciation of the fact more conspicuous. He mentions that a
number of years ago, Colonel Meadows Taylor and Dr. Wilson have drawn
attention to the analogy between the megalithic monuments of Indiat and
those of Great Britain, while recently the similarity of the figures sculpt-
ured on them was pointed out by Mr. J. H. Rivett-Carnac, an officer of the
Bengal civil service. Just at the time when I was engaged in preparing
this treatise, that gentleman sent copies of his publications to the Smith-
sonian Institution, and I became thus enabled to draw my information from
the original sources.
In the district of Nagpoor, tumuli surrounded by single, or, less fre-
quently, by double stone circles are quite numerous; but the most extensive
groups of this class of barrows are situated near Junapani, a hamlet lying
about five miles westward of the civil station of Nagpoor, on the high-
road to Katole. These mounds were explored in 1867 by Mr. Rivett-Carnac
and two other gentlemen.
"From the, people of the neighborhood," he says, "and even from the
Brahmans and other learned persons of Nagpoor, who speak with authority
on the ancient history of the province, no satisfactory information regard-
ing the tribes who constructed these barrows is to be obtained. Some will
tell you the story that these mounds are the work of giants, or of the Gao-
*Aberg: Hiillristningar uti Bohusliin, in: Annaler for Nordisk Oldkyndighed; Copenhagen, 1839,
Plate X, p. 386.
t "Nous touchons ici au point capital do notre these."
t Descriptions and representations of megalithic monuments in India, derived from sources hardly
attainable in this country, are found in Fergusson's "Rude Stone Monuments" (p. 455, etc.), where also
interesting details concerning the recent erection of menhirs, dolmens, etc., by the Khasias in Bengal
32 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
lees or Shepherd Kings, regarding whose rule in Central India, at a period
prior to the Aryan invasion, a deep-rooted tradition exists. That the circles
are very old, the condition in which they are now found distinctly shows,
and the remains discovered therein leave no doubt that they were once the
burial-places of a people of whom these circles are now the only trace that
remains to us."*
The tumuli forming these groups are all of the same type, consisting
of circular mounds of earth, at present not exceeding four feet in height,
and the circles surrounding them, from twenty to fifty-six feet in diameter,
are constructed of trap boulders, such.as occur abundantly in the neighbor-
hood. A map of the locality, accompanying Mr. Rivett-Carnac's descrip-
tion, shows no less than sixty-four tumuli, distributed in several groups,
the largest of which comprises fifty-four. Each circle contains a few stones
larger than the rest and comparatively regular in shape, perhaps in conse-
quence of artificial modification; and such stones are distinguished by the
peculiarity that their upper surfaces or sides exhibit cup-cuttings, differing
in sie, and mostly arranged in regular groups formed by parallel lines or
other nearly symmetrical dispositions, as shown on one of the plates illus-
trating Mr. Rivett-Carnac's report. Thus far ring-sculptures have not been
discovered by him on stones belonging to circles; but he thinks "they may
be yet brought to light, together with perhaps other and more striking
particulars, linking these tumuli still more closely to the remains found at
The few of the mounds under notice which have been opened inclosed
no cists, the objects found in them being covered, without any special pro-
tection, with the now much-hardened earth composing the mound. The
contents dug out from the centres of the barrows were fragments of urns,
accompanied by a whitish earth, probably produced by the decomposition
of bones, and articles of iron, thickly covered with rust and of antique
forms (celts, daggers, spear-heads, a snaffle-bit in good preservation, stir-
rups (?), etc). Ornamented bangles or bracelets of copper, supposed to be
alloyed with gold or silver, but containing neither tin nor zinc, are also
Rivett-Carnac: Prehistoric Remains in Central India; reprinted from the Journal of the Asiatic
Society of Bengal; Calcutta, 1879, p. 2.
t Ibid., pp. 3,4, 15.
mentioned and figured. The author ascribes the absence of vaults in the
Junapani mounds to the want of stones suitable for their construction,
drawing attention to the circumstance that they are not wanting in the
tumuli of other parts of India where the proper material is within reach.
Finally he enumerates the points of resemblance between the barrows of
Europe and those of India, referring in particular to the cup-marks found
on stones surrounding tumuli in both regions.*
Somewhat later Mr. Rivett-Carnac discovered on stones and on rocks
in situ in the mountains of Kumaon not only cup-sculptures, but also such
of rings, resembling very closely those seen in Great Britain and other
countries of Europe. The results of his explorations in this region and the
deductions therefrom made by him hardly can be overestimated, in view of
their bearing on a most interesting problem of prehistoric archaeology. The
locality chiefly examined by Mr. Rivett-Carnac is thus described:-
"At a point about two miles and a half south of Dwara-Hath, and
twelve miles north of the military station of Ranikhet in Kumaon, the bridle-
road leading'from the plains through Naini Tal and Ranikhet to Baijnath,
and thence on to the celebrated shrine at Bidranath, is carried through a
narrow gorge, at the mouth of which is a temple sacred to Mahadeo, where
the pilgrims who follow this route generally halt for a short time, and where,
from the position of the temple .in the defile, the priest in charge can con-
veniently levy contributions on all passers-by. The temple will not be
found marked on the one-inch-to-the-mile map of the Great Trigonometri-
cal Survey, but it is locally known by the name of Chandeshwar."t
About two hundred yards south of the temple, toward the middle of
the defile, rises a rock at an angle of forty-five degrees, presenting a surface
upon which, in a space measuring fourteen feet in height by twelve in
breadth, more than two hundred cups are sculptured. They vary from an
inch and a half to six inches in diameter, and from half an inch to an inch
in depth, and are arranged in groups composed of approximately parallel
rows, as seen in Fig. 26, which is a copy of Mr. Rivett-Carnac's repre-
Rivett-Carnac: Prehistoric Remains in Central India; p. 5, etc.
t Rivett-Carnac: Archmological Notes on Ancient Sculpturings on Rocks in Kumaon, India, simi-
lar to those found on Monoliths and Rocks in Europe, etc.; reprinted from the Journal of the Asiatic
Society of Bengal; Calcutta, 1879, p. 1.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
sentation of a portion of the Chandeshwar rock. The cups, it will be
noticed, are mostly of the simple type, and only exceptionally surrounded
by single rings or connected by grooves. Somewhat more elaborate
combinations were seen by the explorer upon other portions of the same
rock. "From the villagers and from the old priest at the temple hard by
no information was to be obtained of the origin of these markings, beyond
'that they were so old that the oldest man in the village had no knowledge
of who had made them, nor had they been made in the time of their
fathers' fathers, but they were most probably the work of the giants or the
goals (herdsmen) in days gone by.'"*
It may not be superfluous to state in this place that "Mahadeo"
(Mahadeva) is one of the many names given to Siva, the third in the
Trimurti or Hindoo triad. Moor characterizes him in these words: "He is *
Time, the Sun; he is Fire, the destroyer, the generator. His consort, Bha-
vani, is the symbol of created nature, and in that character named Pracriti.
As the deity presiding over generation, his type is the Linga, the origin
probably of the Phallic emblem of Egypt and Greece. As the God of Jus-
tice, which character he shares with Yama and other deities, he rides a bull,
the symbol of divine justice. He holds, as his commonest attribute, a
trident, called Trisula, in this, and in some other points, resembling our
Neptune: his consort also has a relationship to water, although Vishnu be
generally the deity presiding over humidity. As emblems of
immortality, serpents are a common ornament with many deities; but
Mahadeva seems most abundantly bedecked with them: bound in his hair,
round his neck, wrists, waist, arms, and legs, as well as for rings, snakes
are his constant attendants."t
Mahadeo is worshiped by the Hindoo sect called the Saivas under
the form of a phallus, sometimes represented by an upright stone pillar,
more or less modified by art, but often in the same shape, in conjunction
with the Yoni, the female organ of generation, and the special emblem of
Bhavani. These symbolic representations are seen in Hindoostan of all
sizes, from a large, rudely-executed sculpture to a diminutive object of art;
but they generally present a conventional shape, in which the uninitiated
Rivett-Carnac: Archaological Notes, etc.; p. 3.
tMoor: The Hindu Pantheon; London, 1810, p. 36.
hardly would recognize what they are intended to recall; and it may be
added that no obscene conceptions are mingled in the minds of the many
thousands of Hindoos who venerate under this form the generative energy
of nature. The great centre of Siva-worship in India is the city of Benares.
After this digression, I insert Mr. Rivett-Carnac's description of the Chan-
"On visiting the temple sacred to Mahadeo at the entrance to the
gorge, I could not help being struck by the peculiar construction of many
of its shrines as bearing a marked resemblance to these rock-markings. In
addition to the principal shrine, placed within the temple itself, a massive
little structure built up of large stones, many of which would appear to
have been taken from Buddhist ruins so plentiful in the neighborhood of
Dwara-Hath, I counted thirty-seven minor shrines within the walled in-
closure by which the temple is surrounded. These consist mostly of a
rough pedestal formed of loose stones surmounted by a Mahadeo and Yoni.
The Yoni, in the largest of these shrines, was a solid block of stone, cut to
the well-known 'jew's-harp' shape, the upright Mahadeo being slightly
carved at the summit and base. Some half a dozen others were more or
less solid and well made, according to the conventional construction of these
symbols. In one case the stone which did service for the Yoni was the
cushion-shaped finial of some Buddhist temple, the Mahadeo being repre-
sented by a carved head with high-raised cap, broken off from some neigh-
boring ruin. The fragment had been inserted, cap downward, in the square
hole by which the cushion had been fixed on to the top of the original
I interrupt here the author's account in order to direct attention to
Figures 27 and 28, the first of which, copied from Plate III of the pamphlet
under notice, represents the section of a large stone Mahadeo and Yoni in
the Chandeshwar temple; while Fig. 28 shows the same symbol in a more
elaborate form, as seen by the author in a temple or shrine at Benares, and
ill states the "jew's-harp" shape to which he alludes. In this instance,
by way of attribute, a serpent is coiled around the emblem of Mahadeo.
The figure is taken from another pamphlet by Mr. Rivett-Carnac, relating
to the snake symbol in India. Leaving aside the serpent, a ground-plan of
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
Fig. 28 would correspond very closely to Simpson's fifth type (Fig. 1 of
"The remaining shrines," he continues, "were of a much poorer type.
But this last class was to me much the most interesting, as suggesting a
possible connection between the rock-markings and Lingam worship.
Rough sketches of these types will be found in Plate III, which accom-
panies this paper (here given as Figures 29, 30, and 31). The position and
arrangement of these symbols and the veneration paid to them, some having
been quite recently decked with small offerings of flowers, left no doubt
that they equally with the larger and more solid shrines represented the
Mahadeo and Yoni. But whereas in the first-noticed and better class the
Mahadeo is represented by an upright stone, this other and poorer type is
without the upright, and is apparently a conventional rendering or sketch of
these symbols roughly cut out on the stone, the inner circle representing
the Mahadeo, the outer circle the Yoni, the line or lines the gutter by which
the libations and offerings are drained off from this as well as from the more
elaborate class of Mahadeos. In the centre of the yard is a monolith
Mahadeo of four feet and a half in height above the ground. It has no
markings on it, but together with all its surroundings seems very old. The
priest in charge of the temple held that most of the shrines were very old,
and accounted for their large number by saying that the yard was the
burial-place of men of great sanctity, some of whom had been brought from
great distances for interment there, and that Mahadeos of an elaborate or
poor class were placed over the tombs according to the means of the
The resemblance of the sculptures represented by Figures 29, 30, and
31 to a class of cuttings on boulders, rocks, and megalithic monuments in
Europe cannot be denied; but this is a subject to which I shall revert in
In the neighborhood of Chandeshwar the explorer noticed some temples
or enclosures consisting of concentric stone walls of rude construction,
open in one place, with the Mahadeos, represented by stone pillars, in the
centre. The construction of the temples, he thinks, appears of some inter-
*Rivett-Carbac: Archaeological Notes, etc.; pp. 3, 4, 5.
est when considered in connection with the rock-cuttings and shrines at
Chandeshwar, fifteen miles distant.*
Mr. Rivett-Carnac refers to a letter received in 1877 from a gentleman
then in India, Mr. Campbell of Islay, who is much interested in the sub-
ject of Scottish rock-markings. Being at Ayodhya with a Hindoo who
spoke good English, Mr. Campbell procured a fakir, and drew on the sand
two concentric circles with a dot in the middle, asking what the figure meant.
The fakir at once answered "Mahadeo." He then drew a similar figure
with a radial line beginning in the centre, and received the same answer.
The meaning of these figures, Mr. Campbell says, is familiarly known
throughout India. At Delhi he learned from a friend that they are chalked
on stones in Kangra (Punjab) by people marching in marriage-processions.t
This fact is certainly significant, to say the least. Professor Desor, more-
over, states, probably on the strength of private communications from Mr.
Rivett-Carnac,t that Hindoo women carry, in pilgrimages, water from the
Ganges to the mountains of the Punjab, for the purpose of besprinkling
with it these signs in the temples, where they invoke the divinity to bestow
on them the favor of motherhood (page 34).
The final conclusions arrived at by Mr. Rivett-Carnac are summed up
in the closing paragraph of his article on the snake symbol in India, written
subsequently to his investigations in Nagpoor and Kumaon.
"I may add in conclusion," he observes, "that no one who has been
in this country and who has noticed the monolith Mahadeos of the Western
Ghats of the Himalayas and other parts of India, can fail to be struck with
the resemblance that the menhirs of Carnac in Brittany and its neighbor-
hood bear to the Siva emblems of India. I visited these remarkable
remains when at home last year, and was quite taken aback by their resem-
blance to well-known Indian types. The monoliths of Scotland covered
with what I believe to be 'Mahadeo' symbols are of the same class. Added
to this, in the recesses of the Pyrenees, the people whose language suggests
their descent from the tribes who erected the tumuli and menhirs, not only
in this neighborhood, but also in other parts of Europe, still preserve tra-
Rivett-Carnac: Archmological Notes, etc.; p. 5. t Ibid., p. 15.
SProfessor Desor alludes to a correspondence with Mr. Rivett-Carnac (Correspondenz-Blatt der
DeutschenAnthropologischen Gesellschaft, 1877, S. 127).
38 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
editions connected with these monoliths, and have actually retained some
traces of what I will call Siva-worship With this evidence, added to the
points noticed in my papers on the Junapani barrows and the Kumaon
markings, the connection between the marks in India and Europe may then,
I hope, be considered tolerably complete."t
It should be mentioned that cupped boulders of gneissoid porphyry
were discovered by Dr. Verchure on the banks of the Indus, in Cashmere,
prior to Mr. Rivett-Carnac's explorations. Yet the first-named traveler,
not knowing the character of cup-cuttings, was inclined to ascribe the
artificial cavities to the action of glaciers. "This supposition," says Pro-
fessor Desor, appears to us totally inadmissible. The action of glaciers
doubtless tends to modify the rocks upon which they move. They polish
them and leave upon them characteristic furrows and strim. Though we
have ourselves devoted long years to the study of glaciers, we have never
noticed that they produce cavities like basins or cups. It must therefore
be conceded that these latter are the work of man. M. Verchre doubtless
would have felt less scruple in admitting this origin, if he had been acquainted
with the frequent occurrence of cups on erratic blocks in Europe" (page 36).
At the close of his essay Professor Desor, availing himself of the
remarkable results obtained by Mr. Rivett-Carnac, sets forth the inferences
he draws from the occurrence of cups and other archaic figures upon stones
and rocks in countries as far distant from each other as India and Ireland.
He ascribes the practice of executing such sculptures to people of the Aryan
stock, who, he thinks, transferred this peculiar custom from their Asiatic
homes to the countries of Europe. He connects with this immigration the
*The author refers to certain superstitious practices in connection with sacred stones, but lately or
even still in vogue among the people in the Pyrenees, as stated by Messrs. Piette and Sacaze in the
article quoted in my account of cnp-stones in France. Speaking of a boulder, called Le Cailhaou
d'Arriba-Pardli, they say:-
Antrefois, il y a trento ans a peino, Ics jouues gcns do Poubeau allaient on procession, le soir dn
mardi-gras, fire sur cette pierro un grand fen do paille pour Icquel chaque chef do maison fournissait
une botte. Ils marchaient un t un, clhacnin tenant par derribro celui qui le prdc6dait, et s'avangaient
dans une attitude et avee des gestes h la fois burlesques et obscenes."
With reference to a menhir in the same district the following statement is made:-
"Encore aujourd'lui, lorsque les habitants de lionrg-d'Oneil vont de ce c6t6, plus d'une june
femme va baiser le menhlir en cachetto."-P'iclte et Sacaze: Lcs Monuments de la Montagne d'Espiaup (Pyrd-
ne'es); Mat6riaux, 1878, p. 257-58.
tRivett-Carnac: Rough Notes on the Snake Symbol in India, etc.; reprinted from the Journal of
the Asiatic Society of Bengal; Calcutta, 1879, p. 14.
erection of megalithic structures in those countries,* and believes, in short,
that the neolithic period dates in Europe from the arrival of those Asiatics,
who supplanted there the troglodytic tribes (probably Mongolian), of which
the Laps are the last remnant in Europe. The Aryan new-comers, he be-
lieves, brought with them several species of domestic animals and of cereals,
the remains of which are found abundantly in the Swiss lacustrine settle-
ments of earliest date, and likewise the celts of jadeite and nephrite dis-
covered in the dolmens of Brittany and in lake-dwellings, .and consisting of
materials not found in Europe, but by no means rare in the East.
"It would remain to us," he says, "to investigate by what routes
these colonists from Asia reached Europe; whether they followed the same
track or came in successive waves, as it were, advancing in different direc-
tions. This is a vast and arduous (ask, which cannot be entered upon in a
rapid sketch like the present one, but which, perhaps, we shall make one
day the subject of a special treatise" (page 43).
Reserving my observations on the theories advanced by Professor
Desor and other archeologists for a subsequent part of this treatise, I
close my brief account of primitive sculptures in the Old World and pass
over to a consideration of analogous lapidarian work in the Western Hemi-
"It should be remembered," hepays, "that, according to the majority of archaeologists, the mega-
lithic monuments of Europe belong to the age of polished stone, considering that arms and utensils
almost exclusively of stone have been found in the large dolmens of Brittany, and that among the fine
celts they have furnished, several are made of jadeite and other kinds of stone peculiar to the East.
Copper beads, it is true, have been taken from several dolmens in the South of France, and Messrs. Piette
and Sacaze, moreover, have not long ago discovered in the cromlechs of the Pyrenees bronze bracelets
with designs recalling those seen on the ornaments of the later bronze age; but hence it does not fol-
low that the metal was introduced in Europe simultaneously with the megalithic structures. The latter
may be of anterior date, and their use may have been continued after the introduction of bronze, and
perhaps even longer."--Pierres d cuelles, p. 40.
PRIMITIVE LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES IN AMERICA.
Before entering upon the subject indicated in the above heading, I have
to allude, for the sake of gradual demonstration, to the so-called hammer-
stones, a well-known class of aboriginal relics found in considerable number
throughout the United States. They are generally roundish or oval pebbles
of a somewhat compressed or flattened form, presenting in their side view
the outline of a more or less elongated ellipse. Their only artificial alter-
ation consists in two small pits or cavities, so placed to form the centres of
the opposite broader sides. In these cavities the workman is supposed to
have placed the thumb and middle finger of the right hand, while the fore-
finger pressed against the upper circumference of the stone. The material
of these implements is usually quartzite, graywacke, or some other kind of
As similar stones occur in Europe, speculations upon their use are not
wanting, and Professor Nilsson, in particular, has tried to prove they had
been employed in chipping tools and weapons of flint.t. I will admit that
they may have been used, in Europe as well as in America, for fashion-
ing rough implements and for flaking off pieces of flint, etc., which were
eventually to be brought into definite shapes; but they are by far too
clumsy and possess too much roundness on all sides to have been the
Stools for fabricating arrow-heads and other delicate articles of flint. How
would it be possible, for instance, to produce a stemmed dart with long
t Nilsson: The Primitive Inhabitants of Scandinavia; translated by Sir John Lubbock; London,
1868, p. 10, etc.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
barbs by means of such a hammer-stone 7 The art of making stone arrow-
heads, moreover, is no longer a mystery, at least not in the United States,
where several methods still are employed by certain western tribes for
fashioning them. They probably were mostly chipped into their final shape
by pressure with tools of horn or bone, a number of which, obtained from
still existing tribes, can be seen in the United States National Museum.
The fine neolithic flint objects of Northern Europe, such as barbed and
stemmed arrow and spear-heads, daggers, crescent-shaped implements, etc.,
doubtless were produced by similar methods.
Whether the bruised pitted stones were originally designed for ham-
mers, or whether, in view of the diverse purposes which implements some-
times have to serve in the hands of uncivilized man, their use as hammers
was a secondary one, are questions upon which I will not enlarge in this
place.* It is certain, however, that a large number of the pitted stones,
usually called hammer-stones in the United States, are perfectly intact at
their circumferences, and consequently cannot have served as imagined.
Of the many pitted stones in the National Museum, sixty-derived from
New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Tennessee, Kentucky, Louisiana,
and California-are now on exhibition, and of these only twelve show the
marks of hammering. There is a single pit either on each of the opposite
broad sides or only on one side of the stones now considered, and their
cavities, differing in size and depth, are not ground, but apparently pro-
duced, sometimes quite clumsily, by means of a tool of flint or other hard
stone. May not such stones have been used by the aborigines for cracking
upon them, by means of other stones, the different kinds of hard-shelled
fruits so abundant in North America ? The cavities mostly are of sufficient
depth to hold any kind of nut in place. This kind of work would chiefly
have devolved upon women and children (particularly girls), and hence it
would not be difficult to account for the large number of these stones. t And
The real North American hammer-stones, I am now inclined to believe, are pebbles or fragments
of quartzite or flinty materials, sometimes modified by art and much battered by use. They tell their
own story, as it weie. Exactly similar stones are found in Europe. Mr. Evans figures two of them on
page 223 of his well-known work on the stone implements, etc., of Great Britain.
t That the method hero indicated was in vogue among the prehistoric people of Europe is almost
demonstrated by Sir Charles Lyell's description of a log-cabin, discovered in 1833by Captain Mudge, R.
N., in Drumkellin bog, in Donegal, Ireland, at a depth of fourteen feet from the surface. It was twelve
feet square and nine feet high, being divided into two stories, each four feet high. The planking
NORTH AMERICAN PITTED STONES.
further, an intact flattish stone, used with its broad side as a hammer for
beating upon the end of a flint tool-an operation probably often per-
formed in savage life-would gradually receive at the point of contact the
impression of the harder flint. Hence a number of pitted stones may owe
their cavities to such a mode of application.
Fig. 32 represents a stone of the class under notice, which was found
near Franklin, Williamson County,.Tennessee, and belongs to the series
exhibited in the National Museum. It is a somewhat flattish pebble of oval
shape, about two inches in thickness, and showing only on one side a small
cavity, worked out very carelessly, and just large enough to receive an
object of the size of a nut. The material is a clayey sandstone.
Sometimes these stones exhibit two cavities close together, as though
it had been intended to crack with one blow two nuts placed in these pits.
Such a stone is represented by Fig. 33. The original belongs to a series of
pitted stones which were sent to me, many years ago, by my friend, Mr. J.
M. M. Gernerd, of Muncy, Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, and had been
collected by him in that neighborhood, more especially near the banks of
the Susquehanna River. This specimen, a graywacke pebble not exceeding
an inch and one-quarter in thickness, shows on both sides two shallow con-
tiguous cavities. When the first white settlers penetrated to that part of the
Susquehanna Valley, they found on or near the present site of Muncy a
village of the Minsi or Munsey Indians, the Wolf clan of the great Lenni-
Lenape or Delaware nation; and the name "Muncy," indeed, perpetuates
the designation of that clan. There is still a tradition, I am informed
by Mr. Gernerd, that they were in the habit of gathering large
supplies of shell-bark hickory-nuts, which formerly grew plentifully in the
It should be borne in mind that nuts played a conspicuous part in the
household of the North American Indians. The first adventurers of the
consisted of oak, split with wedges of stone, and the roof was flat. A stone celt and a flint arrow-head
found iu the interior of this primitive building furnish additional proofs of its remote antiquity. Ou
the floor of the dwelling," observes Captain Mudge, "lay a slab of freestone, three feet long and four-
teen inches thick, in the centre of which was a small pit, three-quarters of an inch deep, which had been
chiseled out. This is presumed to have been used for holding nuts to be cracked by means of one of
the round shingle-stones, also found there, which had served as a hammer. Some entire hazel-nuts and a
great quantity of broken shells were strewed about the floor."--Lycll: Antiquity of Maln; London and
Philadelphia, 1873, p. 32.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
Latin race who came in contact with them (Cabega de Vaca, the anony-
mous Knight of Elvas, Biedma), and many authors of more modern times,
mention these fruits as an important article of food of the aboriginal inhabit-
ants. It can be imagined that they consumed a large quantity in a raw
state; but they also prepared from them an oily, milk-like liquid, which
they used as an ingredient in the preparation of other food. Full details in
regard to this subject have been published by Colonel Charles C. Jones in
his work on the antiquities of the Southern Indians, to which I would refer
those specially interested in the subject.*
He there also draws for the first time attention to a class of utensils which
he designates as "nut-stones," and to which he ascribes, as the name im-
plies, the same mode of employment which I feel inclined to claim for the
pitted stones just described. Colonel Jones found the relics called nut-
stones by him in considerable number in Middle and Upper Georgia, but
most abundantly on the site of an old Indian village near the confluence
of the Great Kiokee Creek and the Savannah River (Columbia County).
More than thirty were there seen by him within the space of a few acres.
He thus describes them:-
"They consist of irregular masses of compact sandstone or soapstone,
weighing from two to ten pounds, in whose surfaces occur circular depres-
sions, from an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, and from one-quarter
to three-quarters of an inch in depth. Upon the broadest and flattest sides
these depressions, from three to five in number, are located close together.
To produce them the harder stones had been pecked and the softer gouged.
Not only on one side do they appear, but frequently on both sides, and
often in the ends, so that the stone, when set up in the earth on any one of
its faces, would always present one or more of these cup-shaped cavities
ready for use. Their cavities are so located that one, two, three, four, five,
and sometimes more nuts could be cracked at a single blow delivered by
means of the circular flat crushing-stones so common and so often found in
direct connection with the rude articles now under consideration. The cups
are just large enough to hold a hickory-nut or a walnut in proper position,
so that, when struck, its pieces would be prevented from being widely scat-
*Jones (Charles C.): Antiquities of the Southern Indians; New York, 1873, p. 315, etc.
NORTH AMERICAN NUT-STONES.
tered. Particularly do the soapstones indicate the impressions left by the
convex surfaces of the harder nuts. Upon some of them the depressions seem
to have been caused simply by repeatedly cracking the nuts upon the same
spot, so that in time a concavity was produced corresponding to the half of
the spherical or spheroidal nut. Such is the most natural explanation we
can offer with regard to the use of these stones."*
It should be added that Colonel Jones found in some instances the
sites where he collected the stones even now overshadowed by hickory and
walnut-trees. I had frequent occasion to examine the specimens of this
class brought together by him, and I never doubted for a moment the cor-
rectness of his view as to the use of these utensils.
A nut-stone of coarse-grained sandstone, found in the neighborhood of
Loudon, Loudon County, Tennessee, and preserved in the National Museum,
is represented by Fig. 34. It shows on the figured surface ten irregular con-
ical depressions, four of which are considerably larger than the rest. The
lower side is provided with eight unequal cavities of the same character.
The cavities in the North American stone utensils thus far described
are produced, as stated, in a manner betokening but little care. I now pass
over to another class of objects, which bear in their general appearance
much resemblance to the first-mentioned stones (typified by Fig. 32), but
which, to judge from the character of their cavities, were designed for a
totally different purpose. They are pebbles, or more or less flattish frag-
ments, exhibiting either on one of the broad surfaces or on both, a reg-
ular cup-shaped cavity from an inch to an inch and a half in diameter,
which has almost invariably been produced by means of a rotating grind-
Fig. 35 shows the character of a specimen of this class in the National
Museum. It is a somewhat flattish dioritic pebble, two inches and a half
thick, which exhibits on the figured surface a circular cup-shaped cavity,
measuring an inch and a half in diameter and nine-sixteenths of an inch in
depth. There is a similar cavity on the opposite side of the stone. This
specimen was found near Groveport, Franklin County, Ohio.
Jones (Charles C.): Antiquities of the Southern Indians; pp. 315, 318.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
In Fig. 36 I give the representation of another stone of this type,
derived from the neighborhood of Portsmouth, Ohio, and likewise preserved
in the National Museum. It is a pebble of fine-grained sandstone, almost
quadrilateral in shape, about an inch and a half thick, and provided on each
side with a rather shallow depression. Both cavities are covered with red
paint, which seems to have penetrated into the stone. Several other speci-
mens in the archeological collection of the National Museum are character-
ized by the same peculiarity, and hence it may be assumed that the stones
under notice are cups in which the aborigines rubbed or dissolved the colors
used in face-painting and for other purposes. Indeed, paint-mortars of
stone, not much differing from the utensils in question, are still employed
by remote western tribes.
I must now proceed to consider another very remarkable class of North
American relics, namely, stones of larger size, upon which several cup-
like cavities are worked out. The material of these stones is almost
exclusively sandstone, and they occur mostly in the shape of flat fragments
without definite contours. The cups are either on one of the flat sides or
on both, and their number on a surface varies, as far as I have observed,
from two to ten. They are irregularly distributed, being placed close
together or more or less apart from each other. In general they measure
an inch and a half in diameter, but sometimes less. The cavities are pro-
duced by grinding, and usually approach a semi-spherical form; occasion-
ally, however, they are somewhat conical or funnel-shaped. Their inner
surfaces exhibit different degrees of smoothness, being often, in conse-
quence of weathering, rather rough, like the remaining surface of the stone.
These cup-stones bear some resemblance to those found in certain lacustrine
stations of Switzerland; but they seem to differ in appearance and destina-
tion from the English cupped stones described by Mr. Greenwell.
A cup-stone in the National Museum, derived from Summit County,
Ohio, and weighing eleven pounds, is represented by Fig. 37. The level
surface shows nine cups, of which six are perfect, and three, placed near
the broken sides, more or less incomplete. The stone, it will be seen, is a
fragment, and may originally have been provided with more than nine cav-
ities. There are now eleven of these cup-stones in the National Museum,
NORTH AMERICAN CUP-STONES.
five of which have been found in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Kentucky, and
Illinois, while the remaining six are derived from Ohio, which State, I
believe, has furnished the majority of the known specimens.
An Ohio cup-stone in the National Museum deserves particular men-
tion, on account of one of its cavities being covered with red paint, which
cannot be removed by moistening. It is the only case of this kind noticed
by me, and the use of the cavity as a paint-cup in this instance may be
accidental. I therefore will not venture to express the opinion that all
North American cup-stones of the type represented by Fig. 37 are to be
considered as utensils designed to hold colors. Yet the possibility of this
mode of application cannot be denied, considering that the Indian inhab-
itants of the East and of the Mississippi Valley employed different kinds
of paints, each of which had to be made ready for use in a separate recep-
tacle. Small paint-cups of earthenware, joined together, and certainly
reminding one by their arrangement of the cavities in the stones under
notice, are in use among the Zuni Indians of New Mexico. Several speci-
mens were obtained by Mr. James Stevenson in 1879, during his expedition
to New Mexico and Arizona, undertaken under the auspices of the Bureau
of Ethnology. Fig. 38 represents one of the articles in question. It con-
sists of four united cups of an inch and a half in diameter and about an
inch in depth.* The paints still adhering to the inner surfaces of these
cups are red, white, yellow, and blue. There is but little difference be-
tween the dimensions of the cups and the cavities of the cup-stones just
Mr. Stevenson obtained on the same occasion from Indians of the
Pueblo of Tesuque, New Mexico, a small mortar and pestle, both of stone,
which were used by them in the preparation of paint. This simple appa-
ratus, represented by Fig. 39, hardly would attract particular attention, if
it were not for a cup-shaped cavity excavated on one side of the pestle,
and perfectly corresponding in shape and size with the artificial depressions
of the cup-stones. The cavity served to receive a portion of the liquid paint
prepared in the mortar. Such at least was the account given to Mr. Ste-
venson by the Tesuque Indians. They probably poured into the cavity a
The number of cups in the specimens obtained by Mr. Stevenson varies between two and five.
48 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
small quantity of the fluid pigment, in order to use it freed from the par-
ticles of coloring mineral substance remaining in the mortar.*
These two illustrations of the use of paint-cups among Indians of our
time certainly afford no direct evidence that the cup-stones in question were
made to serve in a similar manner, though they certainly heighten the
probability of such an application.
The first notice of an American cup-stone, I believe, is contained in
"The Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley," by Squier and Davis,
the well-known work published in 1848 as the first volume of Smithsonian
Contributions to Knowledge. On page 206 (Fig. 92) a sandstone block,
said to have been found in one of the mounds of Ohio, is figured. The
block, weighing between thirty and forty pounds, exhibited on its surface
a number of cups of different sizes, resembling, as the authors state, in all
respects those in work-blocks of coppersmiths, in which plates of metal
are hammered to give them convexity. Hence it appeared to them prob-
able that the block had been used in the manufacture of such concavo-
convex discs of native copper as are sometimes met with in the mounds of
the Mississippi Valley. While living in New York, I had often occasion to
see a fragment of this block in the collection of Dr. E. H. Davis, and a
careful examination of the relic made it evident to me that the cavities had
not been used as Messrs. Squier and Davis supposed. By the sale of the
Davis collection, which comprised the bulk of the mound-relics obtained
by the two explorers, to the late Mr. William Blackmore, the fragment in
question was transferred to the Blackmore Museum, in Salisbury, England,
and Mr. E. T. Stevens has since described it as follows:-
"The oblong fragment in the Blackmore collection measures six inches
by eight, and has upon it three perfect detached cups, two cups which are
confluent, portions of three finished cups, one half finished, and several
which have been commenced. It may be well to remark that these "cups'
are oval, there being a difference in the two diameters of about one-eighth
of an inch. They measure in their greater diameter about one inch and a
half, and are about seven-eighths of an inch in depth. Judging from the
In painting pottery, etc., they apply the color with a brush stripped from the leaves of the
NORTH AMERICAN CUP-STONES.
engraving in the 'Ancient Monuments of the Mississippi Valley,' the cups
upon the original mass were not all of the same size. One corner of the
fragment indicates that it has been exposed to the action of fire. Squier
and Davis have suggested that these cups were used in hammering plates
of copper into the convex form needed for making bosses. The circum-
stances that two of the cups are confluent, that the surface of the block
has not been smoothed, and that there is no evidence of bruising from
hammering, all militate against the idea that this block was used, or was
even intended to be used, as an anvil."*
Of late years Colonel Charles Whittlesey has devoted special attention
to cup-stones. According to his statement, they occur quite frequently in
Northern Ohio, more particularly in the valley of the Cuyahoga River; but
he informs me by letter that, to his knowledge, none have been obtained
from the numerous mounds of Ohio. He brings the cup-stones in connec-
tion with the spinning process of the natives, supposing the cavities had
served as sockets in which spindles were made to revolve, and hence he
calls the stones "spindle-socket-stones."t I must confess that I cannot
share Colonel Whittlesey's opinion, in view of the absence of spindle-
whorls in those parts of the United States where cup-stones thus far have
been found. If spindle-whorls had been in use among the former inhab-
itants of this country, it is very probable that, in conformity with their
well-known taste, they would have made them of stone or clay, and in that
case they would be as abundant in the eastern half of the United States as
they are in Europe, where the practice of spinning by means of this simple
contrivance dates as far back as the neolithic period.t Adair, it is true, in
describing the mode of weaving in vogue among the Southern Indians
(Muskokis, etc.), speaks of an apparatus which may have been a spindle.
"Formerly," he observes, "the Indians made very handsome carpets. They
have a wild hemp that grows about six feet high, in open, rich, level lands,
and which usually ripens in July. It is plenty on our frontier settlements.
When it is fit for use, they pull, steep, peel, and beat it; and the old women
*Stevens: Flint Chips; London, 1870, p. 486.
t Whittlesey: Ancient Earth Forts of the Cuyahoga Valley, Ohio; Cleveland, 1871, p. 33.
SIt may be supposed that wherever spindle-whorls were employed in prehistoric times, each
woman and girl possessed at least one of these utensils.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
spin it off the distaffs with wooden machines, having some clay on the middle
of them to hasten the motion. When the coarse thread is prepared, they
put it into a frame about six feet square, and instead of a shuttle they thrust
through the thread with a long cane, having a large string through the web,
which they shift at every second course of the thread When they have
thus finished their arduous labour, they paint each side of the carpet with
such figures of various colours as their fruitful imaginations devise, particu-
larly the images of those birds and beasts they are acquainted with, and
likewise of themselves, acting in their social and martial stations."* Had
the contrivances, called "machines" by Adair, been real spindles, he proba-
bly would have recognized them as such, as lie undoubtedly had witnessed
their use in Great Britain, which country he left during the first half of the
eighteenth century, and where spinning with distaff and spindle has not yet
entirely fallen into disuse in our time.
Certain Indian tribes in remote western districts, the Navajos and
Pueblo Indians, for instance, use at the present time spindles for spinning
the cotton and sheeps' wool employed in the manufacture of blankets and
other textile articles. Their whorls are discs of wood, stone, bone, horn,
and burned clay. The archeological collection of the United States
National Museum contains no North American object of stone or clay,
found north of Mexico, in which I can recognize a spindle-whorl. In Mexico,
it is well known, spindles were in general use, and the whorls (malacatl)
are among the common objects seen in collections of Aztec antiquities.
They are represented in the National Museum by many specimens, all
made of terra-cotta, and in some instances tastefully ornamented, like the
originals of Figures 40 and 41, which were obtained by the late Colonel
Brantz Mayer at Tezcuco, and presented to the Smithsonian Institution in
18G2. The Mexican method of spinning is illustrated by designs in the
Mendoza Codex, published by Lord Kingsborough.
It doubtless will be a matter of great interest to archaeologists, both in
this country and in Europe, to learn that large cupped blocks, fully resem-
bling those of the Old World, have of late years been observed in the
*Adair: The History of the American Indians; London, 1775, p. 422.-The remains of textile
fabrics having been found in mounds of this country, it follows that some sort of weaving was prac-
tised here in times long past.
NORTH AMERICAN CUPPED BOULDERS.
United States. As yet a few only are known, but ere long, I am confident,
the existence of others will be ascertained. Whenever investigators have
their attention drawn to a new class of antiquities, they endeavor to find
them, and are usually successful in their efforts.
Fig. 42 shows the appearance of a cupped block preserved in the
building of the Society of Natural History in Cincinnati, to which associa-
tion it was presented by the discoverer, Dr. H. H. Hill, a resident of that
city. His letters and a communication from Professor J. Mickelborough,
also of Cincinnati, enable me to give the following account:-
The block was found by Dr. Hill during an archaeological excursion, in
May, 1874, a mile and a half above Ironton, Lawrence County, Ohio, near
the bank of the Ohio. It was, indeed, washed by the water of that river,
and covered with debris that had fallen from the upper portion of the bank,
from which latter circumstance Dr. Hill concluded it had also rolled from
this higher level to the lower margin of the river-bank. Having bought
the block from the owner of the land, he had it removed from its position
and conveyed by steamboat to Cincinnati, where it arrived in June, 1874.
In the same year he presented it to the Cincinnati Society of Natural His-
tory. The block or boulder, which consists of coarse-grained dark-gray
sandstone, is three feet long, two feet and seven inches wide, and a foot
and a half high, and measures eight feet seven inches in circumference. It
weighs between a thousand and twelve hundred pounds. According to Dr.
Hill, the surface of the stone shows one hundred and sixteen cups, either
rounded or conical in shape.* Professor Mickelborough mentions one hun-
dred and twenty cups, which he describes as being circular in outline, and
apparently produced by attrition with some blunt implement. The average
diameter of the cups is an inch and a half, and their depth about half an
inch; but some are five-eighths of an inch deep, and others again more
shallow. The inside of the cups, he says, is rather smooth, yet not as
SFor photographs after which the illustration was executed, I am indebted to Dr. Hill and Judge
M. F. Force, of Cincinnati. I had the stone drawn on wood in lead-pencil, and before handing over
the block to the wood-engraver, I sent a photograph of the drawing to Judge Force for comparison with
the original. He replied (January 16, 1881). as follows: I think this does very well as a representa-
tion of the cup-stone. Of course, there is an exaggerated distinctness in the cups-- hat is, the shadow
in the hollows is not so distinct, at least in our sunlight, as it is in the pictire."-l hope the slightly
exaggerated distinctness of the cups, alluded to by Judge Force, will be deemed allowable, the more so
as the boulder was exposed to the action of water, and formerly doubtless exhibited more distinct cups
52 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
smooth as the cavities of another smaller specimen in the collection of the
Society of Natural History. In one cup, lie further observes, is a central
depression about one-fourth of an inch in depth and of equal diameter.
This central pit seems to have been made by means of some sharp-pointed
instrument. But-for this peculiarity the cup resembles the others excavated
on the block. To judge from Dr. Hill's description, the feature just alluded
to is not confined to a single cup, but is likewise noticed in others.
On one side of the block, says Professor Mickelborough, are some
grooves four or five inches long, and likewise of artificial origin. They
have the appearance of being worn down by rubbing continuously in one
direction. The diameter of the grooves is equal to that of the cups, inso-
much that a cylindrical stone applied in the direction of its longitudinal
axis would have produced the grooves, and its end, by rotation, the cup-
The correspondents who have furnished me with the material for this
description offer no definite opinions as to the use of this remarkable cup-
stone.- Dr. Hill can think of no practical purpose to which the cups might
have been applied by those who excavated them, unless they served "as
means for imparting information to their friends." Similar views, as will
be seen, have been advanced in Europe with reference to the large cup-
stones in that part of the world.
Dr. Hill speaks of two much larger sandstone boulders, one with
twenty-nine and the other with thirty-seven cups, which he saw near the
bank of the Ohio, a few miles below Manchester, in Adams County, Ohio.
No further particulars as to their appearance are given; but Dr. Hill
intends to examine them again. He thinks it very difficult to remove
In October, 1878, the Rev. John J. McCook, of Hartford, Connecticut,
addressed to the Smithsonian Institution a letter in which lie describes a
cupped granite boulder of large size, lying on the edge of the cliff not far
from his cottage at Niantic, in New London County, Connecticut. A scale-
drawing of the boulder, here reproduced in half-size, and without any
artistic embellishment, as Fig. 43, accompanied his account, of which I
give the following extract almost in his own words.
NORTH AMERICAN CUPPED BOULDERS.
When Mr. McCook became cognizant of the existence of the block, it
had been only five years in its present position. For several generations
it had formed part of the foundation of a wall, and when the wall was
removed, it was found almost imbedded in the soil. At that time he did
not notice the peculiar markings upon it; but from the location of the moss
which covers all below the dotted line a b c in the sketch, and is entirely
absent upon what is now the upper surface, he concluded that the stone
was overset in the removal. Not far from this boulder are several others,
one of them weighing many tons, and nicely poised upon the very edge of
the rocky cliff. Yet he searched in vain for any marks upon them, bearing
the slightest resemblance to those upon the subject of his sketch. His atten-
tion was first drawn to these peculiar marks five or six years ago, while
visiting the neighboring beach, the path leading there passing close by the
cupped boulder. His first theory in regard to them was, that they might
be the work of the Niantic Indians, a small tribe, extinct since 1870, to
whom all the land in the immediate neighborhood of Niantic once be-
longed. But from the beginning he was at a loss to understand for what
purpose they could have made these cup-shaped cavities. He thought they
were too small to have served as mortars, and too symmetrical in their
arrangement to have been used for grinding down the ends of pestles. In
the meantime, however, Mr. McCook read in the "Journal de Geneve" a
review of some publications on cup-stones, and hence it occurred to him
that the boulder under notice "might be one of that system of marked
stones which are found all over the world, and are thought to have some
relation to the religious life of primitive man."
The cups belonging to the central group, II, III, IV, and V, are strik-
ingly regular and smooth. Nr. I is much less regular, and Nr. VI is so
shallow and irregular that Mr. McCook discovered it only on close exam-
ination, and, indeed, is doubtful whether it deserves to be indicated as
belonging to the same class with the rest. The dimensions of the cups are
I. Diameter, 2J inches. Depth, B inch.
II. Diameter, 31 inches. Depth, 1 inch.
III. Diameter, 3' inches. Depth, 3 inch.
9 eph 1_6
54 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
IV. Diameter, 31 inches. Depth, inch.
V. Diameter, 2| inches. Depth, 1 inch.
VI. Diameter, 1| X 2 inches. Depth, 1 inch.
The centre of III is a trifle out of the line between the centres of II
Of the lines or grooves upon the side of the boulder, the irregular
curved one may simply mark the boundary of erosion caused by the ele-
ments, and the straight ones may be nothing but common strike. The
stone is a hard granite of tolerably fine texture. Its present upper surface is
clean and smooth, and entirely free from moss. The portion of the side
below the dotted line in the sketch and the present under-surface, as far as
Mr. McCook could ascertain without turning the stone quite over, are cov-
ered with moss. The boulder measures nearly six feet and a half in its
So far Mr. McCook. It becomes evident by his description that the
cavities on the Niantic boulder are somewhat different from those on the
Cincinnati block, and possibly may have been designed for another pur-
pose. Rounded stones with single cavities not larger and deeper than those
described by Mr. McCook are not rare in the United States, and were
evidently used as mortars; and larger cavities which have served for the
same purpose are excavated on rocks in situ in certain parts of this country,
as I shall have occasion to state more in detail hereafter. However, not
having seen the Niantic boulder, I will refrain from expressing with any
degree of positiveness an opinion at variance with Mr. McCook's view.
For the present my information with regard to large cupped stones or
boulders in the United States goes no further. The discovery of others is
a mere question of time. They will be found when properly looked for.
As early as 1805, Captain William Dupaix, charged by the King of Spain
with an exploration of the antiquities of Mexico, saw not far from Orizaba
what has been thought to be a cup-stone. Many years afterward a dupli-
cate of his report and copies of the designs made by his artist, Castafieda,
were published in Lord Kingsborough's "Mexican Antiquities" (Volumes
IV, V, and VI, 1830-'31). A few years later, in 1834, the work entitled
"Antiquites Mexicaines" (by Alexandre Lenoir) was published at Paris.
NORTH AMERICAN CUPPED BOULDERS.
It embodies Captain Dupaix's original report with illustrations made di-
rectly after Castaneda's drawings. Both publications give a representation
of the stone in question; but these designs are so unlike each other that it
is impossible to form a correct idea of its character. Fig. 44 is a copy of
Lord Kingsborough's illustration.* The figure shows fourteen well-defined
cup-shaped cavities, perfectly resembling those on the stones heretofore
described. In the later work-"Antiquites Mexicaines"-which might be
supposed to be the more reliable one, the stone is figured on a larger scale,f
but bears only in outline a resemblance to Kingsborough's illustration.
Instead of distinct cups it merely shows a number of irregular cavities,
totally different from the cups indicated on Kingsborough's plate. Hence
there remains a doubt as to the real appearance of tile stone, which will
not be removed before it has been examined again by some explorer. I
translate the description of the stone, as given by Dupaix in "Antiquites
"From this place (Orizaba) we proceeded toward the bridge across the
river Blanco, sixteen leagues southeast of the city, in order to examine a
rock called Teololinga. It is spherical in shape, very hard, of a bluish-black
color, and emits no fire when struck with a steel. It has been skillfully
placed in the midst of an extensive savanna. It measures about twenty-
two feet and a half in circumference and a little more than six feet in diam-
eter. This stone, poised upon its axis by those who formerly fashioned it,
has the peculiarity that, when touched only with the little finger, it moves
and continues to vibrate for some time; while it remains apparently motipn-
less when a greater force is applied. On its surface are seen some circular
holes (trous circulaires) of little depth, which can hold water in seasons of
rain. It appears to have served in olden tinfes as a boundary or land-mark
(de borne ou de limited for there is another one at a distance of two leagues
Vol. IV, The Monuments of New Spain, by M. Dupaix, Part I, Plate IV, Fig. 10.
t Atlas, Premiere Partie, Planche VIII.
SAntiquit6s Mexicaines; Relation do la Premibre Exp6dition du Capitaine Dupaix en 1805, Vol.
I, p. 7.-For the sake of comparison I copy here the less complete description published by Lord Kings-
borough:-" From hence (Orizaba) we went to the bridge of the river Blanco, about forty-eight miles
south-east of Orizaba, in search of a large stone called Teololinga. This stone is spherical in its form,
very hard (though it will not emit fire when struck by the steel), and of a dark-blue colour. It hasevi-
dently been wrought into its present shape, and placed in the middle of a spacious plain, by the ancient
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
I am not aware that other stones of analogous character have been
noticed in Mexico; nor have I thus far obtained precise information as to
the occurrence of cupped stones or boulders in parts of the American con-
tinent which are situated south of Mexico.*
In connection with North American cup-stones should be mentioned
boulders or rocks with an artificial cavity, or with cavities, serving for the
trituration of grain, and thus forming what might be called stationary mor-
tars. Their occurrence extends over a large portion of North America;
but there is considerable difference in the character of the cavities, as the
following statements will show.
Colonel Jones saw in the middle and upper parts of Georgia "large
boulders-some of them waist-high-permanent in their location, whose
tops had been hollowed out for mortars. These cavities were circular in
form, and capable of holding a half peck or more. They may be regarded
as public property, and afford proof of the stability of the agricultural popu-
lation by which they were used."t In historical times, however, the south-
ern tribes to whom Colonel Jones refers are known to have generally used
wooden mortars for pounding maize. Adair alludes to their use and describes
the method of hollowing them out by means of fire.t Hunter notices the
wooden mortars of the Indians among whom he lived; but "in addition,"
he says, "each village has one or two large stone mortars for pounding
corn: they are placed in a central situation, are public property, and are
used in rotation by the different families."
inhabitants of the country. It is so artfully balanced upon its axis as to revolve at the slightest touch
of the finger; but if a greater force be used it will stand without the least apparent motion. Its sur-
face contains some holes capable of holding a small quantity of water. It appears to have anciently
served as a land-mark. There is another of these stones to the east, about six miles distant."-Vol. VI,
The Monuments of New Spain, by M. Dupaix, p. 425.
*I quote, however, from the "Materiaux" (1'67, p. 398) the following note, addressed to M.
Gabriel de Mortillet by Professor P. Strobel, and dated Buenos Ayres, May 26, 1866:-
"Aprbs les articles do Morlot, Aymard, Simonin et Bouvet, sur les pierres A 6cuelles et i bassins,
il ne sera pas sans int6ret pour vous d'apprendre qu'on en trouve de semblables dans la Sierra do San
Luis. On y volt de trbs-nombreux bassins crous6s dans la roche, de diverse dimensions. Ils ont
servi aux Indiens pour 6craser et broyer les fruits et les graines, et peut-etre m6me, a ne epoque moins
ancienne, pour Iriturer le mineral auriftre de ces montagnes. II existed aussi des pierres i bassins dans
les montagnes de Mendoza, datant de 1' 6poqne des Incas. Ces divers bassins ont pu servir trois usages
bien diff6rents: r6ligieux, gastronomique et m6tallurgique."
t Jones (Charles C.): Antiquities of the Southern Indians; p. 313.
t Adair: The History of the American Indians; p. 416.
Hunter: Manners and Customs of Several Indian Tribes located west of the Mississippi; Phila-
delphia, 1823, p. 269.
RAU.] NORTH AMERICAN BOULDERS WITH MORTAR-CAVITIES. 57
A boulder formerly used as a mortar is thus described by Professor
Samuel Aughey, of the University of Nebraska:-"Four miles northwest of
Nebraska City, on the farm of Hon. J. F. Kinney, is a granitic boulder as
large as a small house, on whose top smooth holes have been worn by the
Indians in grinding or pounding corn. This boulder is imbedded in a Loess
deposit, through which it extends from the Drift below."* Upon inquiry
by letter, I learned from Professor Aughey that the most conspicuous of the
cavities measures fourteen inches in diameter and six in depth. Its inside,
he says, is worn as smooth as glass. The other cavities on this boulder are
shallow and faint compared to this one.
In the Sierra Waco, in the extreme northwestern corner of Texas, about
thirty miles east of El Paso, State of Chihuahua, Mexico, the Hon. John
R. Bartlett noticed "an overhanging rock extending for some distance, the
whole surface of which is covered with rude paintings and sculptures, rep-
resenting men, animals, birds, snakes, and fantastic figures.---On the
shelving portion of the place in question are several circular holes in the
solid granite, from twelve to fifteen inches deep, which the Indians have
made and used as mortars for pounding their corn in; similar ones being
found all over the country where the aborigines have had their habitations."t
Afterward, while proceeding in Chihuahua from Correlitos to El Paso, Mr.
Bartlett saw a smooth rock covering about half an acre, to the right of the
road. In this rock he counted twenty-six cavities within a few feet of each
other. They were from twelve to eighteen inches deep and about six in
diameter, and had been dug out to serve as mortars.t In a letter addressed
to me he adds:-"I remember that there was at that place a great quantity
of flint chippings, broken arrow and spear-heads, fragments of pottery, etc.,
showing that the Indians had spent much time here in making their stone
I am indebted to Mr. Stephen Bowers, at present residing in Clinton,
Wisconsin, for the following account of rocks with mortar-cavities seen by
him in California. He says:-
These are not unfrequently met with in Santa Barbara County, Cali-
*Aughey: Sketches of the Physical Geography and Geology of Nebraska; Omaha, Nebraska, 1880,
tBartlett: Personal Narrative of Explorations and Incidents in Texas, New Mexico, California,
Sonora, and Chihuahua, etc.; New York, 1854, Vol. I, p. 170.
t Ibid., Vol. II, p. 370.
58 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
fornia. I have also seen them in Napa Valley, fifty miles north of San
Francisco; indeed, I deem it safe to say they may be found in nearly every
portion of California, especially on and near the old village sites once
inhabited by the less nomadic tribes.
"But the most remarkable of these excavations I discovered on the
summit of the Santa Inez range of mountains, in Santa Barbara County,
about one mile west of the stage-road-crossing, and at an elevation of 2,500
feet above the sea-level. Here is an open space of nearly level land, sev-
eral acres in extent, where springs of cool sweet water rise, and, uniting,
send a sparkling rivulet down the mountain-side. Elevations, covered
with timber, form this into an amphitheater, while mountain-peaks rise in
every direction. In this romantic spot the aborigines founded a village,
which must have been occupied for a great length of time. Although the
place is now enclosed as a field, and the site of the old village has been
ploughed and tilled by white men, yet the circular depressions indicating the
dwelling-places of the Indians are plainly seen. Marine shells, brought
from the ocean, six or seven miles distant, are scattered over the entire
surface of the old village site, with bones and other kitchen debris. Near
this village site is a sort of natural grotto in the solid rock, covered with
rude paintings of a very interesting character, which probably record the
more important events in the lives of the villagers.
"Within the confines of the old town are two large boulders of sand-
stone, into which conical excavations have been made, and used as mortars
for triturating grain, acorns, etc.; also cup-shaped depressions, the purpose
of which is not clear to my mind. The largest of these boulders (Fig. 45)
is twenty-five feet in length, by about ten feet in width, and shows twenty-
five excavations, measuring from six to twenty-six inches in'rdiameter at the
top, and from five to sixteen inches in depth. The average width of these
mortar-cavities is a little over thirteen inches, and the depth something more
than eleven inches. The smallest is six inches in diameter and five inches
deep, while the largest is twenty-six inches in diameter and sixteen inches
in depth. In one instance a wide groove is cut between two of these exca-
vations, one being probably used for pulverizing the grain, and the other
as a receptacle for the meal. In another instance two of the cavities are
RAU.] NORTH AMERICAN BOULDERS WITH MORTAR-CAVITIES. 59
worn until they meet. With one exception, these mortar-shaped excavations
are circular, and nearly as perfect, usually, as if laid out with dividers.
The exception is an oblong excavation, the greater axis measuring seventeen
inches, the shorter about eight inches.
The boulder has doubtless been used for this purpose a great length
of time, indicating the comparative stability of the tribe once living here.
I was unable to find the pestles which were used in these mortars. It was
the practice of the Santa Barbara Indians to bury pestles and other objects
with the dead, and I presume there was no exception in this case.
The smaller boulder measures about eleven feet by nine and a half
on the surface, rising to the height of six feet above the earth. It contains
eleven depressions, two or three of which seem to have been used as
mortars; but the others, which are quite shallow, probably served some
In the cautions and on the foot-hills along the Santa Inez range, I have
frequently met with boulders containing from one to three or four mortar-
It appears to me that some of the boulders and rocks called pierres a
bassins by French, and Muldensteine by German archeologists, may be con-
sidered as stationary mortars. Their resemblance to undoubted American
mortars of this kind at least would lead me to that conclusion. M. Morlot,
for instance, describes such a block near the new road passing over Mount
Simplon (Canton of Valais). It has the shape of a rough column or a trunk
of a tree, is one meter and five centimeters high, and ninety centimeters in
diameter. In the centre of its upper surface is a cavity of twenty-one
centimeters diameter and nine centimeters depth. There are three smaller
cavities on the same surface.* The height of the block and the dimensions
of the cavity certainly favor my view. Though I could furnish many
similar examples, I- confine myself to the one just given, not wishing to
enlarge on a question which must be decided by European archeologists.
*Morlot: Pierres &a icuelles; Mat6riaux, 1866, p. 258.-This periodical contains several articles
relating to stones with cavities, which apparently have served as mortars.-
In reading Dr. L. Zapf's article "Die Muldensteine des Fichtelgebirges" in "Beitrige zur Anthro-
pologie und Urgeschichte Bayerns" (Bd. III, S. 99), I could not help thinking that the cavities described
by him might be, in part at least, the mortars in which the prehistoric people of that region pounded
fruits or cereals.
60 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
I can perceive, however, that their nomenclature in regard to stones bearing
cups and larger cavities is not sufficiently precise. The terms pierres d
ecuelles and pierres a bassins are indiscriminately used, whereas, in my
opinion, a proper distinction between the two classes of cavities indicated
by them might with advantage be made.
Since my attention was directed to the subject treated in these pages,
I have examined many representations of figures sculptured or painted on
rocks in the United States, in order to ascertain whether there occur among
them any designs analogous to those of the Old World. While engaged
in this investigation, I received from Dr. Charles H. Stubbs, of Wakefield,
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, lithographic representations of a sculpt-
ured rock, called Bald Friar Rock, in the Susquehanna River, not far from
its emboguement into the Chesapeake Bay.* I discovered by means of
the lithographs that several figures on that rock recall certain types of the
lapidarian sculptures of Great Britain, and mentioned the fact to the Sec-
retary of the Smithsonian Institution, Professor Spencer F. Baird, who there-
upon instructed Mr. F. G. Galbraith, of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to
examine the locality and to make drawings of the figures in question.t His
report and several communications from Dr. Stubbs are embodied in the
Bald Friar Rock is situated in the Lower Susquehanna, in Cecil
County, Maryland, and is about three-eighths of a mile distant from Bald
Friar, a station of the Columbia and Port Deposit Railroad. The rock
stands nearer the eastern than the western bank of the Susquehanna-here
three-quarters of a mile wide--and its distance from the mouth of the
river is nearly twelve miles. It rises from a small island to a height of
eight feet and a few inches above low-water level, and, can be reached by
land at very low water. According to Mr. Galbraith's measurement, the
rock was originally seventy-one feet long and ten feet wide; but only
sixteen feet of its eastern and seventeen of its western portion remain, the
The same plates illustrate now the "Second Geological Survey of Pennsylvania" (Geology of
Lancaster County, Harrisburg, 1880).
t Acknowledgments are also due to Dr. L. R. Kirk, of Rising Sun, Cecil County, Maryland, for a
very good drawing of Bald Friar Rock, sent by him to the Smithsonian Institution. It was of great
use as a medium of comparison.
ROCK-SCULPTURES IN MARYLAND.
centre-thirty-eight feet-having been blasted away many years ago, and
the stone used in the construction of a shad-fishery. By this process many
carvings were destroyed, traces of which Mr. Galbraith discovered upon
fragments of rock scattered over the upper end of the island. The rock
evidently was entirely covered with sculpturings. A large portion of its
northeastern end is becoming detached from the main body, and will in
the course of a few years topple over into the rivei, for which reason Mr.
Galbraith was particularly anxious to trace all the carvings on it. To
judge from a detached sculptured piece sent by Mr. Galbraith to the Smith-
sonian Institution, the rock is of a chloritic character, and consequently
not very hard, insomuch that the sculpturing'of the figures by means of
pecking or punching with stone implements was not a very difficult task.
All who have examined the sculptures agree as to their very ancient ap-
pearance. They are of a heterogeneous and peculiar character, and in many
respects unlike any rock-cuttings of which I have seen representations.
There is, for instance, a curious combination of straight and curved lines,
forming a labyrinthic figure, which cannot be compared to any known
object. In another group, shown in Fig. 46, cup-shaped depressions, from
three-eighths to three-fourths of an inch in depth, are mingled with curiously-
formed lines, the whole producing a semblance to characters, which the
makers certainly did not intend to represent. Rows of four, five or more
parallel, or nearly parallel, lines are not unfrequent, and in one instance a
design appears which has been compared to a gridiron. Several of the
figures resemble a plant with a median stem and lateral branches. The
most conspicuous of these carvings happens to be on the slab forwarded to
the Smithsonian Institution by Mr. Galbraith, and is here represented as
Fig. 47. It measures two feet in length and fifteen inches and a half in'its
largest width. The central stem of the carving terminates in a figure in
which a lively imagination might discover a fruit or flower. The incised
lines forming the design are shallow, not exceeding one-fourth or three-
eighths of an inch in depth, on an average an inch wide, and betoken just
such skill in sculpture as might be expected from a primitive people that
had only tools of stone at its command.
The northeastern end of the rock, the one in danger of falling one day
62 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
into the river, is represented by Fig. 48, after a photograph kindly loaned
to me by Dr. Stubbs.* It shows four figures somewhat resembling human
faces, and four concentric rings with a cup-shaped depression in the middle.
These circles appear foreshortened in the sketch, but are correctly repre-
sented in Fig. 49, in one-twelfth of the real size. This type, as has been
seen, occurs frequently among the primitive lapidarian sculptures of Europe;
but hardly any ethnic significance can be ascribed to the presence of the
same design on Bald Friar Rock. It is a form which, on account of its
simpleness and regularity, doubtless suggested itself to nations who never
came in contact with each other, and who employed it either as an orna-
ment or for some symbolical' purpose.t Of far greater interest, on the other
hand, are Figures 50 and 51, carefully copied by Mr. Galbraith from the
rock in the Susquehanna River. Both consist of concentric rings, the outer
of which has an appendage in the shape of a long straight groove, a feature
which assimilates these carvings in a high degree to types of the Old World
heretofore described, more especially to Figures 29, 30, and 31, which
represent Mahadeos in the Chandeshwar temple. Upon examination, it
will be found that the resemblance is very great-indeed so striking, that
an enthusiastic theorist might feel tempted to claim a kinship between the
Asiatic Mahadeo-worshipers and those who sculptured the figures in ques-
tion on Bald Friar Rock. Yet, notwithstanding the similarity the latter
bear to the Chandeshwar sculptures, they may have been intended to
express a totally different idea. We must wait for more convincing dis-
For the sake of greater distinctness, I had the carved figures executed in black. On the upper
part of the rock are seen a few single cups.
t Concentric circles, sculptured as well as painted on rocks, were frequently seen by Major Powell
and his assistants in Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico. Many of them are known to have been executed
by the aborigines of those districts. Further on it will be seen that they are perhaps even now painted
on rocks in the district of the Klamaths in Oregon, and were formerly carved on boulders in Central
America. In 1879 the Smithsonian Institution received from Mr. W. W. Hays photographs of paintings
on a rock in San Luis Obispo County, California. They consist of figures of a most complicated char-
acter, among which several concentric circles appear. The colors, as Mr. Hays states in an accompany-
ing letter, are red, white, and black. The locality is mentioned in Bancroft's "Native Races" (Vol. IV,
p. 691). Indeed, concentric circles seem to be ubiquitous. The late Professor C. F. Hartt observed
them, associated with a variety of other figures, in different parts of Brazil, as shown by his account in
the "American Naturalist," May, 1871.
Among the Ojibways concentric circles constituted, according to Schoolcraft, the symbol of
time (Vol. I, p. 409: Plate 58, Fig. 67).
ROCK-SCULPTURES IN MARYLAND AND ARIZONA.
A similar figure, consisting of two concentric circles with a straight
line running out from the larger circle, occurs, among other carvings, on one
of the many sculptured boulders seen by Mr. Bartlett in the valley of the
Gila River, in Arizona. His representation of this boulder is here copied
as Fig. 52. "I found hundreds of these boulders," he says, "covered with
rude figures of men, animals, and other objects of grotesque forms, all
pecked in with a sharp instrument. Many of them, however, were so much
defaced by long exposure to the weather, and by subsequent markings, that
it was impossible to make them out. Among these rocks I found several
which contained sculptures on the lower side, in such a position that it
would be impossible to cut them where they then lay. Some of them
weighed many tons, and it would have required immense labor to place
them there, and that too without an apparent object. The natural infer-
ence was, that they had fallen down from the summit of the mountain after
the sculptures were made on them.* A few only seemed recent; the others
bore the marks of great antiquity.
"Like most of the rude Indian sculptures or markings which I have
seen, I do not think these possess any historic value, as many suppose.
Where an ingenious Indian, for the want of other employment, cuts a rude
figure of a man or an animal on a rock in some prominent place which his
people make it a practice to resort to, others, with the example before them,
endeavor to compete with their brother artist, and show their skill by sim-
ilar peckings. One draws an animal such as he sees; another makes one
according to his own fancy; and a third amuses himself with devising gro-
tesque or unmeaning figures of other sorts. Hence we find these sculptured
rocks in prominent places."
Referring to the special assemblage to which the block here figured
belongs, he observes:-
"After crossing a plain for about five miles, we reached the object of
our search, which consisted of a pile of large boulders, heaped up some
forty or fifty feet above the plain, and standing entirely alone. Such of
these rocks as present smooth sides are covered with sculptures, rudely
pecked in, of animals and men, as well as of various figures, apparently
The boulders were lying at the base of a bluff.
64 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
without meaning. There are hundreds of them so ornamented, showing
that the place has long been the resort of the Indians for this purpose; for
there seems to be nothing else to attract them here. Many of the inscrip-
tions, like those before described, bear the stamp of great age; others
having been made over them repeatedly, render it impossible to trace out
either the early or the later markings.---I do not attempt any explana-
tion of these rude figures, but must leave the reader to exercise his own
ingenuity in finding out their meaning, if any."*
*Mr. Bartlett presents delineations of eleven of these blocks, thus enabling
the reader to become acquainted with the character of the sculptures upon
them. I hardly can imagine that the latter should be absolutely without
some meaning, though they may not express anything like a definite record.
I lay no great stress on the presence of a Mahadeo-like carving on the
boulder represented by Fig. 52; but I thought it proper to draw attention
A similar motive induces me to present in Fig. 53 the design of a por-
tion of a group carved on a cliff in the San Pete Valley, at the city of
Manti, Utah. A line drawn horizontally through the middle of the parallel
lines connecting the concentric circles would divide the figure into two
halves, each bearing a close resemblance to Professor Simpson's fifth type
in Fig. 1 of this treatise. A copy of the group in question was made and
published by the ill-fated Lie'utenant J. W. Gunnison, who also informs us
that the Mormon leaders made this aboriginal inscription subservient to
their religious hocus-pocus by giving the following translation of it: "I,
Mahanti, the second King of the Lamanites, in five valleys in the mount-
ains, make this record in the twelve-hundredth year since we came out of
Jerusalem-And I have three sons gone to the south country to live by
hunting antelope and deer."'t Truly, mundus vult decipi! Schoolcraft
attempts (Vol. III, p. 494) something like an interpretation, which appears
to me fanciful and unsatisfactory.
Bartlett: Personal Narrative, etc.; Vol. II, pp. 195, 206.
t Gnnnison: The Mormons or Latter-Day Saints, etc.; Philadelphia, 1853, p. 63.-The illustration
is taken from Bancroft's "Native Races" (Vol. IV, p. 717). I have changed, however, in accordance
with Lieutenant Gunnison's design, the position of the grotesque human figure to the left of the con-
EAU.1 ROCK-MARKINGS IN ARIZONA, UTAH, AND OREGON. 65
Among the Klamath Indians in Oregon, it seems, the practice of paint-
ing figures on rocks has not yet entirely gone into disuse. Through the
mediation of Mr. Albert S. Gatschet I received from Dr. James S. Denison,
physician at the Klamath Agency, Lake County, Oregon, a communication
relative to the subject. According to my correspondent, there are in that
neighborhood many rocks bearing painted figures; but his description refers
specially to a single rock, called Ktd-i Tupdkshii (standing rock), situated
about fifty yards north of Sprague River, and one hundred and fifty yards
from the junction of Sprague and Williamson Rivers. It is about ten feet
high, fourteen feet long, and twelve or fourteen feet deep. The accompa-
nying Figures 54, 55, 56, and 57, all drawn in one-twelfth of the natural
size, after Dr. Denison's copies, illustrate the character of the paintings seen
on the smooth southern surface of this rock. The most frequent designs
are single or concentric circles, like Fig. 54, which consists of a dark-red
circle surrounded by a white one, the centre being formed by a red round
spot. Fig. 55, painted in dark-red and white colors, exhibits a somewhat
Mahadeo-like shape; the straight appendage of the circle is provided on
each side with short projecting lines, alternately red and white, and almost
producing the effect of the so-called herring-bone ornament. Figures 56
and 57, executed in dark-red color, are other characteristic designs seen on
the rock in question. The colors, which, as my informant thinks, are rubbed
on with grease, appear quite distinct on the dark surface of the rock.
I have conversed," he says, "with all the leading men and women of
the tribe about these pictures and others in the neighborhood; but none of
them linow, so they say, when and how they were made. It is, however,
the generally-received opinion that K'nimkamitsh, the Creator*, painted them
himself when he made this country. The oldest people say that they were
there when they were young, and that the oldest people told them that they
were there when they were young, and so on. There are many rocks with
pictures on them all over this country. These places are all sacred, and
there are many legends concerning them. Children are taught not to
injure or deface the pictures. My own opinion is, that these pictures have
no more definite meaning than those made by children without any design;
S" The Old Man of Our Forefathers," according to Mr. A. S. Gatschet.
66 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
that they last perhaps for ages unimpaired; but that, when they do get dim,
there is always some enterprising doctor ready to brighten them up, and,
perhaps, to execute new designs. One can see blotches on the rocks which
are very dim, but look as though they had been figures. The pictures are
not critically examined by the Indians, and as no one sees the man making
them, it is easy to claim that they have always existed; for Indians, like
whites, have no objection to pious frauds and lies. They are such liars
that it is hard work to find out even the legends concerning the places.
They either change them to make them like something they have heard of
as being mentioned in the Bible, or leave out a part, insomuch that one can
hardly find two who relate the same story in the same way."
Such are Dr. Denison's remarks, complimentary neither to Indians nor
to whites. He then gives a Klamath tradition relating to K'mlukamtsh,
which I deem it unnecessary to insert, as it has no reference to the rock-
paintings just described.
Lastly, I will draw attention to the curious rock-sculptures which
Dr. Berthold Seemann, the distinguished botanist, examined in Chiriqui, in
the State of Panama, United States of Colombia, and in which he discovers
a great resemblance to those of Northumberland, Scotland, and other parts
of Great Britain. After some preliminary remarks, of no particular interest
to the reader who has thus far followed me, he continues:-
It is, therefore, all the more singular that, thousands of miles away,
in a remote corner of tropical America, we should find the concentric rings
and several other characters typically identical with those engraved on the
British rocks. I discovered them near the town of David, in Chiriqui, in the
spring of 1848, and read a paper on the subject before the Archmological
Institute, shortly after my return to London in 1851. A brief account of it
was given in my Narrative of the Voyage of H. M. S. Herald' (Vol. I, p.
312, London, 1853), but the drawings illustrating them were unfortunately
RAUn. ROCK-SCULPTURES IN CHIRIQUI. 67
omitted, the publisher objecting to them on account of the expense; but
some of them were afterward placed by me at the disposal of Mr. Bollaert,
and published by that gentleman in his 'Antiquities, etc., of South America,
(London, 1860), whilst others have been, it is feared, entirely lost, especially
those which would have established the identity of the British and Chiriqui
inscriptions beyond doubt in the minds of others. For my own part, I was
so much struck with the general resemblance, not to say identity, of the two,
that when the plates of Mr. Tate's work were first shown to me, and I was
quite ignorant to what country they related, I fully believed them to rep-
resent Chiriqui rock-inscriptions. Even from the drawings I still retain of
a Chiriqui rock I am able to pick out some of the most typical characters
found on the British rocks, as the accompanying diagrams-here Fig. 58-
The characters in Chiriqui are, like those of Great Britain, incised on
large stones, the surface of which has not previously undergone any smooth-
ing process. The incised stones occur in a district of Veraguas (Chiriqui
or Alanje), which is now thinly inhabited, but which, judging from the
numerous tombs, was once densely peopled by a nation which became
known to Columbus in his fourth voyage of discovery, manufactured some
elegantly-shaped pottery, wore ornaments made of gold of a low standard,
called quanin, and buried their dead in stone cists, accompanied by their
weapons, ornaments, pottery, and other household articles.t
The explanations accompanying Fig. 58 are likewise Dr. Seemann's.
t Dr. Seemann adds here the following note: This very same people, supposed to have been the
Dorachos or Dorazques, had also made considerable progress in sculpturing columns, and placing on them
raised characters. Several of these columns, about ten to twelve feet long, were knocking about the
streets of David, the capital of Alanjo, or Chiriqui, during my visit in 1848, and numbers are said to
occur in other places. Raised characters require, of course, more artistic skill than incised ones, and
hence denote a higher degree of civilization. If, therefore, the people who readily engraved their
thoughts on the picdra pintal, and other stones of which it is the type, arc assumed to have been the
same as those who expressed them in raised character: s on the columns of which I saw specimens at
David, a long period must have elapsed before tools could be brought to such perfection as to allow the
employment of inscriptions in relief. But there is no identity of, or even distant resemblance between,
the incised and raised characters, and we need, therefore, not trouble ourselves any further about this
point. The identity of the two being abandoned, it may just be worth while to consider the possibility
of their being executed by contemporaries. In highly civilized countries, such as ancient India, Egypt,
and modern Europe, different modes of expressing thought have been and are practised; but the most
advanced people who ever inhabited Chiriqui had not attained so high a degree of civilization as would
justify us in assuming that'they resorted to two entirely different systems of recording their ideas. It
is, therefore, scarcely possible to escape the conclusion that the incised characters were by a different,
less civilized, and more ancient race than the characters in relief.'
68 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
"From information received during my two visits to Chiriqui, and
from what has been published since I first drew attention to this subject, I
am led to believe that there are a great many*inscribed rocks in that dis-
trict. But I myself have seen only one, the now famous piedra pintal (i. e.
painted stone), which is found on a plain at Caldera, a few leagues from
the town of David. It is fifteen feet high, nearly fifty feet in circumference,
and rather flat on the top. Every part, especially the eastern side, is cov-
ered with incised characters about an inch or half an inch deep. The first
figure on the left-hand side represents a radiant sun, followed by a series
of heads, or what appear to be heads, all with some variation. It is these
heads, particularly the appendages (perhaps intended for hair?), which
show a certain resemblance to one of the most curious characters found on
the British rocks (2b in Fig. 58), and calling to mind the so-called 'Ogham
characters.' These 'heads' are succeeded by scorpion-like, or branched,
and other fantastic figures. The top of the stone, and the other sides, are
covered with a great number of concentric rings and ovals, crossed by lines.
It is especially these which bear so striking a resemblance to the Northum-
"Symmetry being the first aim of barbarous nations in their attempt
at ornamentation, I have always rejected the idea that these figures are
intended for mere ornament, and have taken them to be symbols full of
meaning, and recording ideas held to be of vital importance to the people
who used them, and whose very name has become a matter of doubt.
However, to speculate on their meaning must be labor thrown away, until
we shall have become acquainted with all the inscriptions, of which those
on the piedra pintal are specimens.
"At present we can hardly say more than that there is a remarkable
family likeness, if nothing more, between the ancient British and Chiriqui
inscriptions,-a relationship entirely unsuspected by me until Mr. Tate's
remarkable work fell into my hands. Could an identity between these
rocks, so widely separated geographically, be established, we should be in
a position to indulge in legitimate speculation. We should have to con-
cede-I say it without hesitation-that, in prehistoric times, an intercourse
existed between the British Islands and Central America; that this inter-
ROCK-SCULPTURES IN CHIRIQUI.
course could not be maintained by the small crafts which so rude a civiliza-
tion could send across the wide Atlantic Ocean; that a land communication
was absolutely necessary to ensure such an intercourse; that it could not
have been carried on by way of Asia without leaving numerous traces
behind; that no such traces have been found; and that, consequently, it
must have taken place when the Island of Atlantis-in the hands of modern
science no longer an Egyptian myth-was so intimately connecting Europe
and America; that the woods, which then covered Europe, were identical
in character with those still existing in the southern parts of North America.
But before science can concede conclusions of these, or similar, speculations,
we want more facts, which, it is hoped, may be forthcoming now that it has
been shown what great interest attaches to them."*
Leaving aside Dr. Seemann's far-reaching speculations, I must confess
that I cannot share his enthusiasm in the matter of the Chiriqui rock-sculp-
ture described by him. Being in possession of Mr. Bollaert's work which
contains Dr. Seemann's representation of the piedra pintal, I was enabled
to compare the sculptures on the latter with those figured by Messrs. Tate
and Simpson. That there is a general resemblance between the Northum-
brian and Scottish and the Chiriqui sculptures cannot be denied; but I can
discover no figures on the piedra pintal which are identical in shape with
European lapidarian sculptures, excepting concentric circles and a few
carvings resembling wheels with four spokes. Simple devices like these,
when found in different countries, are no proof of the ethnic affinity of
those who executed them, but may rather be considered as the result of
independent invention. It requires a far greater analogy in details to
establish an absolute identity.
However, it would be interesting to know the character of other Chiri-
qui rock-sculptures, which, according, to Dr. Seemann, are quite frequent
in that district.
*Pim and Seemann: Dottings on the Roadside, in Panama, Nicaragua, and Mosquito; London,
1869, p. 27, etc.
VIEWS CONCERNING THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CUP-SHAPED
AND OTHER PRIMITIVE SCULPTURES.
In a preceding section of this essay I have described the cupped
granite boulder, called the Balder Stone, near Falkaping, Sweden. As
stated, it was first brought into notice by Professor Nilsson, who thinks it
served in the worship of Baal as a sacrificial altar, the cup-shaped cavities
of which were designed to receive the blood of victims. The cups on the
Willfara slab (Fig. 23), he believes, were excavated for the same purpose.
We have also seen that he ascribes the introduction of bronze in the North
of Europe to Baal-worshiping Phoenicians, who, according to his view, had
established factories or settlements in those parts, for the purpose of trading
with the natives. He considers the sculptured concentric circles in general
as emblematic of sun (or Baal)-worship, drawing at the same time atten-
tion to their similarity to ornaments seen on weapons and other objects of
the bronze age and even of the early iron age. In order to show by what
mode of reasoning Professor Nilsson was led to these conclusions, it will
be necessary to devote some space to a consideration of his remarkable
work on the bronze age, in which his views are laid down. Yet, if I were
to give a r6sumd of its contents, and comments thereon, I would enter
upon a task most ably performed by Sir John Lubbock, and I therefore
quote his concise observations in full:-
"Professor Nilsson's arguments," he says, "may be reduced to seven,
namely, the small size of the sword-handles, bracelets, etc.; the character
of the ornaments on the bronze implements; the engravings in bronze-age
tumuli; the worship of Baal; certain peculiar methods of reaping and
fishing; and the use of war-chariots.
72 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
"The implements and ornaments of bronze certainly appear to have
belonged to a race with smaller hands than those of the present European
nations; the ornaments on them are also peculiar, and have, in Professor
Nilsson's opinion, a symbolic meaning. Although the great stones in tumuli
attributed to the bronze age are very seldom ornamented, or even hewn into
shape, still there are some few exceptions; one of these being the remark-
able monument near Kivik in Christianstad. From the general character
of the engravings Professor Nilsson has no hesitation in referring this
tumulus to the bronze age, and on two of the stones are representations of
human figures, which may fairly be said to have a Phoenician or Egyptian
On another of the stones an obelisk is represented, which Professor
Nilsson regards as symbolical of the sun-god; and it is certainly remark-
able that in an ancient ruin in Malta, characterized by other decorations of
the bronze-age types, a somewhat similar obelisk was discovered; we
know also that in many countries Baal, the god of the Phoenicians, was
worshiped under the form of a conical stone.
"Nor is this, by any means, the only case in which Professor Nilsson
finds traces of Baal-worship in Scandinavia. Indeed, the festival of Baal, or
Balder, was, he tells us, celebrated on Midsummer's-night in Scania, and far
up in Norway, almost to the Loffoden Islands, until within the last fifty
years. A wood fire was made upon a hill or mountain, and the people of
the neighborhood gathered together, in order, like Baal's prophets of old, to
dance round it, shouting and singing. This Midsummer's-night fire has
even retained in some parts the ancient name of 'Baldersbal', or Balder's
fire. Leopold von Buch long ago suggested that this custom could not have
originated in a country where at Midsummer the sun is never lost sight of,
and where, consequently, the smoke only, not the fire, is visible. A similar
custom also prevailed until lately in some parts of our islands. Baal has
given his name to many Scandinavian localities, as, for instance, the Baltic,
the Great and Little Belt, Belteberga, Baleshaugen, Balestranden, etc.
"The ornamentation characteristic of the bronze age is, in the opinion
of Professor Nilsson, decidedly Semitic rather than Indo-European. He
See Fig. '4 of this publication.
lays considerable stress on two curious vase-carriages, one found in Sweden
and the other in Mecklenburg, which certainly appear to have been very
like the 'vases' made for Solomon's temple, and described in the first Book
of Kings. Finally, he believes that the use of war-chariots, the practice of
reaping close to the ear, and a certain method of fishing, are all evidences
of Phoenician intercourse.
Professor Nilsson is so great an authority, as an archeologist his
labors have contributed so much to place the science on a sound basis, that
his opinions are deserving of the most careful consideration. Nor can they
fairly be judged by the very short abstract which has been given above, as
many of his arguments must be followed in detail before they can be prop-
erly appreciated. That the Phcenicians have left their traces in Norway is,
however, in my opinion, all that can fairly be deduced from the facts on
which he relies, even if we attribute to them all the significance claimed for
them by him. Further evidence is required before it would be safe to con-
nect them with the bronze age. As regards the smallness of the hands, we
must remember that Hindoos share this peculiarity with Egyptians. This
character is therefore not less reconcilable with an Indo-European than
with a Phoenician origin of the bronze-age civilization.
"There are three strong objections to the theory so ably advocated
by Professor Nilsson. The first is the character of the ornamentation on
the bronze weapons and implements. This almost always consists of geo-
metrical figures, and we rarely, if ever, find upon them representations of
animals or plants; while on the ornamented shields, etc., described by
Homer, as well as in the decoration of Solomon's temple, animals and
plants were abundantly represented. Secondly, the burial-customs of
the Phoenicians differed altogether from those of the bronze age, and
although it may be said that those who attribute the presence of bronze in
Northern and Western Europe to Plihnician commerce, do not necessarily,
on that account, assume that the population of those countries became Phoe-
nician, still in this case the hypothesis explains the presence of bronze, but
not the bronze age, of which the use of bronze, though the most striking,
is by no means the only characteristic. Thirdly, the Phoenicians, as far as
we know them, were well acquainted with the use of iron; in Homer we
74 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
find the warriors already armed with iron weapons,* and the tools used in
preparing the materials for Solomon's temple were of this metal It is very
remarkable that scarcely any traces of ancient commerce have been found
in Cornwall, and it is much to be regretted that our museums possess so
few specimens of Phoenician art. When these wants shall have been sup-
plied, as we may hope that ere long they will be, there is no doubt that
much light will be thrown on the subject."t
Professor Nilsson, I may add, finds distinct traces of the Phoenicians
in Ireland, which country he visited in 1860, with a view to examine its
antiquities. He ascribes to that enterprising people the cairns of Dowth
and New Grange, the chambers of which show sculptured figures (zigzags,
wheels with four spokes, etc.) resembling those on the slabs of the Kivik
monument. He lays particular stress on the fact that the custom of lighting
a Midsummer's-night fire, and of dancing around or jumping through it, was
still in vogue among the Irish until within a recent period. This ceremony,
called Balstein by the people, has been abolished through the efforts of the
clergy, who were desirous of putting an end to the excesses arising from
the practice.t The structures of Avebury and Stonehenge, in Wiltshire,
England, I may further state, are considered by Professor Nilsson as tem-
There is repeatedly reference made to iron in the Homeric poems (II. IV, 482; V, 722; XXIII, 826,
etc.), and even the hardening of iron by immersion in water is alluded to (Od. IX, 391). Iron is also
mentioned by Homer in connection with more precious metals, a circumstance indicative of the value in
whichitwasheld. Thus, bronze, gold, and "much-worked" iron-X xdrv re xpv6dv re, roXl`1v7r6v
re 6iS/7pov-constituted the treasure of Ulysses (Od. XIV, 324). Yet spears, swords, and other weapons
used during the Trojan war are described as being made of bronze.
Dr. Schliemann, however, has arrived at different results. In an address delivered at the Eleventh
Annual Meeting of the German Anthropological Society, held at Berlin in August, 1880, he expresses
himself as follows:-
"I wish it were in my power to prove that Homer was an eye-witness of the Trojan war. Unfortu-
nately I cannot. In his time swords were in general use and iron was known; at Troy swords were as
yet totally unknown, and the people had no knowledge of iron. The civilization described by him post-
dates several centuries that which was brought to light by my excavations. Homer gives us the legend
of Ilion's tragic fate as it was transmitted to him by former bards, and, in doing so, he clothes the tradi-
tion of the war and the destruction of Troy in the garb of his own time. Yet he was not without per-
sonal knowledge of the localities, as his descriptions of the Troas in general, an d of the plain of Troy in
particular, are in the main correct."-Xote by C. Ran.
t Sir John Lubbock: Prehistoric Times; New York, 1872, p. 71, etc.
t Mr. Holden, of the well-known firm Harvey & Holden, of this city, told me that, in his boy-
hood, he used to assist in collecting the wood for these fires and in building them. I obtained similar
information from other natives of Ireland. However, the custom of lighting fires on Saint John's eve
also prevailed, and still survives to some extent, in Germany, France, and other parts of the European
NILSSON'S THEORY-VIEWS OF OTHER AUTHORS.
ples erected by the Phoenicians, and dedicated to the worship of the sun-
Nilsson's Phcenician theory has been discussed at great length, and in
a scholarly manner, by Professor Simpson, who is very far from sharing
his views, and is even inclined to attribute a Cinbrian rather than a Phoeni-
cian origin to the Kivik sculptures, to which the Swedish archaeologist so
often refers in his argumentation.* In more recent writings relating to the
introduction of bronze in Europe I have not met with allusions to Pro-
fessor Nilsson's theory, which thus appears to have been abandoned at the
present time.t Yet, though the author has failed to convince his fellow-
laborers in the field of archmology of the correctness of his views, his work,
nevertheless, possesses uncommon merit, on account of the vast amount of
research embodied in it, and Miss Mestorf deserves great credit for having
translated it into German-a language more generally understood than
the Swedish of the original.
As a consequence of the foregoing, it would appear that the Swedish
cupped stones were not sacrificial altars serving in the worship of a Phoenician
deity; and grave doubts have been expressed by prominent authorities
whether cupped boulders were at all used as altars, considering that the
cups often occur on perpendicular or strongly-inclined surfaces, and thus
could not have served as the receptacles of liquid substances.
In addition to the altar theory, cup and ring-cuttings have, as may be
imagined, given rise to a variety of speculations as to the purpose for which
they were made. Some of these views, recorded and commented on in
Professor Simpson's work, may be presented in this place.
The Rev. Mr. Greenwell, Sir Gardner Wilkinson, Dr. Graves, and
others, consider them as archaic maps or plans of old circular camps and
cities in their neighborhood, telling possibly of their direction and character.
"But I believe," says Simpson, "this idea has now been abandoned as
untenable by some, if not by all, of the antiquaries who first suggested it."
"The carvings," Professor Simpson continues, "have been held by some
as intended for dials, the light of the sun marking time upon them-or
SSimpson: Archaic Sculptures, etc.; p. 81, etc.
t Views similar to those of Professor Nilsson are expressed by Freddric de Rougcmont in "L'Age
du Bronze on les S6mites en Occident;" Paris, 1866.
76 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
upon a stick placed in their central cups-and its shadow corresponding
with one of the central radial grooves; but they have been found in local-
ties which neither sun nor shadow could reach, as in the dark interiors of
stone sepulchres and underground houses. Others have regarded them as
some form of gambling table; but they occur on perpendicular and slanting
as well as flat rocks; and besides, if such were their use, they would
scarcely have been employed to cover the ashes of the dead.
"I have heard them spoken of as rude representations of the sun and
stars, and of other material and even corporeal objects of natural or Sabean
worship; but all attempts to connect the peculiar configurations and rela-
tions which they show with any celestial or terrestrial matters have as yet
confessedly failed. Nor have we the slightest particle of evidence in favor
of any of the numerous additional conjectures which have been proposed-
as that these British cup and ring-carvings are symbolic enumerations of
families or tribes; or some variety of archaic writing; or emblems of the
philosophical views of the Druids; or stone tables for Druidical sacrifices;
or objects for the practice of magic and necromancy."
One of Professor Simpson's friends, Mr. Dickson, of Alnwick, in re-
ferring to incised stones in Northumberland, "has suggested that these
carvings relate to the god Mithras (the name under which the sun was
worshiped in Persia); that about the end of the second century the
religion of Mithras had extended over all the western empire, and was the
favorite religion of the Romans-a system of astrological theology; that
in the sculptured Northumberland rocks the central cup signifies the sun,
the concentric circles probably the orbits of the planets, and the radial
straight groove the way through the sun. In consequence, Mr. Dickson
holds these rock-sculptures to be the work of the Romans, and not Celtic-
having been cut, he supposes, as emblems of their religion by Roman sol-
diers near old British camps, after they had driven out their native defend-
ers. But if they were of Roman origin, they would surely be found in
and around Roman stations, and not in and around British localities-in
Roman graves, and not in old British kistvaens. The fact, however, is that
they abound in localities which no Roman soldiers ever reached, as in
Argyleshire, in Orkney, and in Ireland. And possibly even most of them
MITHRAS AND LINGAM-WORSHIP.
were cut before the mythic time when Romulus drew his first encircling
furrow around the Palatine Mount, and founded that petty village, which
was destined to become-within seven or eight short centuries-the Empress
of the civilized world."
The idea that the markings should have any bearing on the worship
of the reciprocal principles of nature is summarily dismissed by Professor
Simpson in a short note on page 80 of his work. He says: "Two archEe-
ological friends of mine-both dignitaries of the Episcopal Church-have
separately formed the idea that the lapidary cups and circles are emblems
of old female Lingam worship, a supposition which appears to me totally
without any anatomical or other foundation, and one altogether opposed by
all we know of the specific class of symbols used in that worship, either in
ancient or modern times."
This note is thus commented on by Mr. Rivett-Carnac: "I am sanguine
that, if the late Sir J. Simpson had seen the sketches of what I have called
the 'conventional symbols' on the shrines at Chandeshwar, and had been
able to compare them with some of the types figured in his work, he might
have been inclined to modify the opinion above extracted. The treatment
of these symbols is purely conventional, they bear no anatomical resem-
blance to anything, they are unlike many of the large, well-known, and
acknowledged representations of the Mahadeo and Yoni. Still they nev-
ertheless represent the same idea. And here it may be noticed that the
same argument of anatomical non-resemblance might be advanced in regard
to the well-known representations, common throughout India, of the mean-
ing of which to the initiated there is no doubt at all. To the uninitiated,
however, the shapes convey nothing, and I have known cases of Europeans
who have been many years in the country, who were quite unsuspicious of
what 'that jew's-harp idol,' as they called it, was intended to represent. As
the old priest at Chandeshwar said, 'Those who can afford it, put up a big
Mahadeo; those who can't, put up these slabs.' And so also with us. The
rich relations or friends of the Christian may put over his grave a solid,
richly-carved stone cross. The grave of a poor man, if marked at all, has
over it perhaps two pieces of wood nailed together in the shape of a cross,
or a cross roughly cut on a piece of stone. The Christian church is built
78 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
in the form of a cross. In Pandukoli and many other spots the Mahadeo
temples are built in the shape of the conventional symbols of that faith."*
He then observes that the symbols of the Mahadeo and Yoni can be more
conveniently indicated on stone by what may be called a ground-plan than
by a section, and refers for illustration to designs accompanying his pub-
lication. It would be difficult to find fault with this refutation of Professor
Simpson's assertion concerning the character of those symbolic representa-
Professor Simpson himself does not attempt to explain the special sig-
nificance of the Scottish and English cup and ring-cuttings; but in view of
their thoroughly homogeneous character, lie considers them as expressive of
some religious conception of those who made them-a conclusion hardly
admitting of any doubt. On the other hand, he holds that the more com-
plicated carved figures seen on megalithic structures in Ireland and Brit-
tany are, in part at least, of an ornamental character; and this view seems
to.me equally correct. Indeed, some of the few illustrations of Irish and
Breton carvings given in this publication (Figures 12 and 14) present an
appearance calculated to corroborate Professor Simpson's opinion.
The learned Scottish author refers the cup and ring-carvings to a remote
period of antiquity. "The very simplicity of the cup and circle forms", he
says, "is one strong reason for our regarding these types of sculpture as
the most archaic stone-carvings that have been left to us" (page 105). He
draws particular attention to their precedence of letters and of traditions of
any kind, and to the fact that they appear on megalithic monuments erected
at a time when metal was not yet in use. Concerning this point le says:
"At present I am not aware that within any of the sepulchres, whose stones
are marked only with the incised ring and cup-cuttings, any kind or form
of metallic tool or instrument has yet been found. Should further and
more extended observation confirm this remark, then it will naturally fol-
low that the commencement of these sculpturings must be thrown back to
the so-called Stone period, or to an era anterior to the use of metals.---
I have no doubt, however, that at whatever time the simple cup and ring-
sculptures were first begun to be cut, the practice of carving them-if it
*Rivett-Carnac: Archeological Notes, etc.; p. 11.
COMMENTS BY SIMPSON.
did not initiate in-was at least continued into, and indeed extended during
the so-called Bronze era, and perhaps till a later period; for bronze tools
and ornaments have occasionally been found in localities in Argyleshire,
Northumberland, and elsewhere near to spots where the sculptures exist in
unusual numbers; though none yet have been discovered, as far as I am
aware, in immediate or direct connection with these carved stones or cists
themselves" (pages 119, 120).
Professor Simpson's remarks concerning the race that first introduced
the carving of the lapidarian cup and ring-sculptures are of great interest.
The earliest really historical records of Britain, he observes, date from the
time of Julius Caesar's -expeditions to the island, antedating the Christian
era about half a century. At that period the population appears to have
chiefly consisted of Celts, with an admixture of Belgian and probably of
Ligurian elements. When Scotland was first invaded by the Romans (81
after Christ), the inhabitants made use of war- chariots, and, having already
passed through the era of bronze weapons, fought in the battle of the
Grampian Mountairrs, in which Agricola defeated the native forces under
Galgacus, with huge blunt-painted swords (enormes gladii sine mucrone),*
which form of weapon, Simpson thinks, can only be supposed to have been
made of iron.
The remarks following next in his work (page 125) are of such striking
character that I cannot refrain from quoting them in full. He says:-
"We have no adequate data as yet to fix the date of advent to our
shores of the Cymry and Gael, and to determine whether or not they brought
along with them, at their first arrival, as some hold, a knowledge of the
metallurgic arts. But much evidence has been gradually accumulating of
late years to prove that there had existed some pre-Celtic races in Britain.
Without venturing in the least to point out all, let me simply note two or
three. A race of Megalithic Builders-if we may so call them-who have
not left in their sepulchres, and therefore we infer did not possess, in their
earlier era at least, any metal tools or weapons, seem to have either pre-
ceded the Celts, or to have formed our first Celtic or Aryan wave; and
judging from the extent of their remains in massive chambered catacombs
*Tacitus: Vita Agricolm, XXXVI.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
and cromlechs, in numerous cyclopean forts, gigantic stone circles, etc.,
they must have held the country for a considerable length of time, and
overspread the whole of it by the diffusion of their population. From
their remains, as left in their tombs and elsewhere, we know that they
employed weapons and tools of horn, wood, and polished stone; manu-
factured rude hand-made pottery; had ornaments of jet, bone, etc.; partially
reared and used cereals, as indicated by their stone mullers and querns;
and possessed the dog, ox, sheep, and other domestic quadrupeds. I do
not stop to discuss the various questions whether these Megalithic Builders
did or did not hollow out and use the archaic single-tree canoes found on
our shores, rivers, and lakes;-whether they were the people that anciently
whaled in the Firth of Forth with harpoons of deer-horn, when its upper
waters were either much higher or its shores much lower than at present;-
whether they or another race built the earliest stone-age crannoges or lake-
habitations;-and again whether there was not an antecedent population
of simple fishers and hunters, totally unacquainted with the rearing of corn
and cattle, and who have bequeathed to archaeology all their sparse and
sole historic records in casual relics of their food, dress, and weapons buried
in heaps and mounds of kitchen-refuse, which they have incidentally accu-
mulated and left upon our own and upon other northern and western coasts
of Europe. Whether these formed one, or two, or more races, let me add,
that long anterior to the Megalithic Builders there certainly existed in our
island a tribe of inhabitants that dwelt, in part at least, in natural or arti-
ficial caves, where their bones and their contemporaneous relics have been
found; who possessed implements and weapons of stone and flint, but
rough, and not polished like those of the Megalithic Builders; who seem-
ingly possessed no pottery; who-if we may judge from the want of
rubbers and querns to grind corn-food-had little or no knowledge of
agriculture; and who lived in those far-distant times when the colossal
fossil elephant or mammoth, the woolly-haired rhinoceros, the gigantic
cave-bear, the great hyena, etc., were contemporaneous inhabitants with
him of the soil of Britain; when the British lion was a veritable reality and
not a heraldic myth; and when possibly England was still geologically
united to the Continent, and the Thames was only a tributary of the Rhine.
RAV.] COMMENTS BY SIMPSON AND TATE. 81
I am not aware that we have yet sufficient evidence to consider as of the
same family with these ancient Cave-men, or as of a race still anterior to
them, the Flint-folk of the southern counties of England, whose unpolished
flint hatchets-besides being found in great abundance on the banks of the
Somme and Loire-have been discovered in various parts in the river-drifts
of South England, and an excellent specimen of which, along with the
bones of an elephant, was dug up, in the last century, from a gravel-pit
near Gray's Inn Lane, in the centre of London itself."*
The question to which of these races of man the first sculpturings of
cups and rings are to be referred, is one which, Professor Simpson thinks,
cannot be positively answered in the present state of archaeological knowl-
edge. He wants further data as to their distribution in Europe and in
other parts of the world. Admitting the fact that such carvings were
executed by the "Megalithic Builders" of the age of polished stone, he thinks
the practice may possibly have antedated the era of that race, and, further,
expresses his belief in its continuance through the bronze period and even
later times. f
Mr. Tate arrives at somewhat different conclusions. He infers from
the wide distribution of the cup and circle-carvings over the British Islands
" that at the period when they were made, the whole of Britain was peopled
by tribes of one race, who were imbued with the same superstitions, and
expressed them by the same symbols." He refers to the invariable asso-
ciation of these carvings with ancient British forts, oppida, villages and
sepulchres as an evidence of all having been the work of the people who
dwelt in these places, and were buried in these tombs. Though alluding
to the existence of ante-Celtic races in Britain, he thinks it may be inferred
" that the old remains in Northumberland, the sculptures included, belong
to the Celtic race, though they may tell the history of many centuries prior
to the Christian era." The Northumbrian sculptures being executed on
sandstone, he does not deny the possibility of their having been carved
with stone instruments; yet he is of opinion that metal was known in the
district when the sculptures were made, as bronze and copper objects occur
SThis often-mentioned specimen, preserved in the British Museum, is figured on p. 522 of Evans's
"Ancient Stone Implements, etc., of Great Britain."
t Simpson: Archaic Sculptures, etc.; p. 79-1:4.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
in their neighborhood. In North Northumberland, indeed, considerable
numbers of bronze celts have been discovered, and also bronze daggers,
spear-heads and swords. Mr. Tate further refers to querns taken from some
Northumbrian forts, and made of hard, untractable porphyry, which, he
believes, could not have been fashioned by any stone tool, and lie therefore
argues that the Northumbrian sculptures generally were made by means of
tools of metal, probably of bronze. Mr. Tate seems to underrate the
efficiency of flint instruments, when applied to hard stones.*
Mr. Tate offers no definite view with regard to the meaning of these
rock-sculptures, but considers them as symbolical-most probably of relig-
ious ideas. However, he seems to have a leaning toward the belief that
they originated with the Druids, and were connected in different ways with
the rites of that powerful priesthood. In support of this very cautiously
advanced view he quotes passages from Pliny, Mela and Strabo.
*The question was practically solved during the International Anthropological Congress, held at
Paris in the year 1867. There are in the Museum of Saint-Germain casts of the sculptured stone plates
forming portions of the tumulus-dolmen on the Island of Gavr' Inis, Brittany. These slabs, consist-
ing of compact granite, exhibit, as we have seen, surfaces covered all over with intricate curved lines
and other designs. The savants who were present considered it impossible to execute such sculptures
without employing tools of steel or hardened bronze. But M. Alexandre Bertrand, the director of the
museum, was of different opinion, and proceeded to make a trial. A piece of the same granite was
worked with stone implements, and the experiment proved to be a perfect success. After a day's labor,
a circle and a few lines were engraved. A chisel of polished flint used during the whole time was
hardly injured; one of nephrite had become somewhat blunted, and a similar implement of greenstone
still more. But the edge of a bronze axe used in the operation was instantly bent, and it became evi-
dent that those sculptures had not been executed with bronze, but with stone. This account is given
by Professor Carl Vogt in one of a series of letters addressed, in 1867, from Paris to the Cologne Gazette.
I have quoted it before this in the Smithsonian publication entitled "The Palenque Tablet in the United.
States National Museum."
A similar experiment, made at the suggestion of Professor Simpson, is thus described by him:-
"I have found experimentally that the rings and cups can be engraved deeply and without dif-
ficulty upon the Argyleshire schist, and even upon hard Aberdeen granite, with a flint celt and a wooden
mallet. In the Edinburgh Antiquarian Museum there is a block of gray Aberdeen granite from Kintore,
forming one of the sculptured stones of Scotland, and containing upon one side two crescents, etc. On
the back of this hard granite Mr. Robert Paul, the doorkeeper of the Museum, tried for me the experi-
ment I allude to, and cut, in two hours, two-thirds of a circle with a flint and a wooden mallet. The
flint used was about three inches long, an inch in breadth, and about a quarter of an inch in thickness.
The circle which he sculptured with it in the granite was seven inches in diameter; and the incision
itself was nearly three-quarters of an inch broad, above a quarter of an inch in depth, and very smooth
on its cut surface. In hewing out the circle with the flint, its sharp tips from- time to time broke off,
but another sharp edge was always immediately obtained by merely turning it round.
"The result of this simple and decisive experiment seems to me to be important, asshowing that
if these archaic cuttings could be sculptured alike either by stone or by metallic tools, their mere
character and form afford no evidence whatsoever that they were not carved till after the discovery
and use of metallic implements. In other words, the experiment shows that they might have been
produced before the introduction of metals-or during the Stone age."-Archaic Sculptures, etc.; p. 122.
COMMENTS BY TATE.
"As the functions of the Druids were varied", he observes, "so might
these sacred stones be used for several purposes. On them, as altars, sacri-
fices may have been slain to avert either personal or state calamities; some
of the figures may be the hieroglyphics of the gods to whom they were
dedicated; the philosophical views of the Druids may be symbolically rep-
resented in the circles combined with circles on the Routing Linn Stone,*
which, situated in a wild district and probably in the midst of forests, would
be such a place as the Druids would choose, wherein to teach their occult
doctrines and practise their superstitious rites. Some of the groups of the
concentric circles may show their idea of the motion of the heavenly bodies;
and the radial lines might set forth the 'influence and ability of the immor-
tal gods,' as extending through and beyond the orbits of the heavenly
bodies; the plant-like figures might enable them to expound 'the nature of
things,' as seen in vegetation; possibly the grooves passing from the centre
of one system of circles to another might symbolize the passage of a soul
from one state of being into another and a higher state. And in addition,
I cannot but think that one of the chief uses of those sacred stones was for
magic and necromancy. The religious and philosophical significance of
the figures would add to their impressiveness on the popular mind, when
used for this purpose, and magnify the mysterious power of the Druid
priest or magician when he cast a horoscope, or endeavored by incantations
to avert personal or public calamities."
These passages, I repeat, contain Mr. Tate's suggestions as to what the
significance of the sculptures possibly might be, being by no means intended
to convey a matured opinion; and in order to show how far he is from con-
sidering the problem as solved, I quote here the concluding paragraph of
"Those who are not content unless every mystery is fully explained
may feel dissatisfied, that after all the labor and research bestowed on the
inscribed rocks, we cannot read them off as from a lettered book. Before,
however, more definite results can be arrived at, further investigations must
be made in other parts of the world. Two lines of research may yield
information; one among the Laps in the far North, and the other, with
Represented on Plate I of his work.
84 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
more hope of success, in the early home of the Aryan family. Something,
however, has been achieved-materials for aiding in the fuller solution of
the problem have been placed on record-an advanced starting-point made
for future inquiries-and a description and representation preserved of mar-
velous sculptures, which time and the elements will eventually obliterate."*
Professor Desor devotes a considerable portion of his often-quoted
pamphlet to a discussion of the probable meaning of the primitive rock-
sculptures, more especially those of the simple cup type. In referring to
M. de Bonstetten, who considers the cup-shaped cavities in general as the
work of nature (weathering out of imbedded nodules, etc.), he admits that
such an explanation may be applied in certain cases,t but that on the whole
M. de Bonstetten's view appears totally untenable. Professor Desor is not
very favorable to the altar theory, advocated by Nilsson, Troyon and
others, because the cups often appear on slanting and even vertical surfaces,
and thus could not have served for holding the blood of victims, or liba-
tions of any kind. Nor does he agree with Mr. Westropp, who believes
that the cups have no significance whatever, but were excavated by the
prehistoric people with no other object in view but that of passing the time;
and he likewise rejects the idea, expressed by others, that they are simply
of a decorative character. Having, in addition, alluded to several other
theories-most of them already brought to the reader's notice-Professor
Desor observes as follows:-
"If the cups on our erratic blocks are not ornaments, boundary-marks,
hieroglyphs, or simply the fancy-work of idle herdsmen-what else can
they signify ? We hold with Dr. Keller that they were chiefly made for
the purpose of marking indelibly certain blocks designed to recall a cir-
cumstance or an event, the recollection of which was of a nature to be
perpetuated.t It was doubtless left to oral tradition to explain their purport,
and to transmit" it from generation to generation. Hence the stones thus
marked were invested with a monumental character-using the term in its
most primitive acceptation-like the menhirs and the blocks which the
*Tate: The Ancient Sculptured Rocks, etc.; p. 35-44.
t Professor Simpson noticed in several instances natural cnp-excavations.-Archaic Scuilptures, etc.;
t In applying the term Denkstein to the Ober-Farrentiidt cup-stone, Wagener expresses the same
view. See page 24 of this publication.
1-AU.] DESOR'S VIEWS-CUPPED ASPERSORIA IN SWEDEN. 85
patriarchs put up in commemoration of important events. They were the
natural auxiliaries of traditions, without being their interpreters. This was
more than sufficient to render them popular. It is not surprising that they
were the objects of a certain veneration, which, indeed, has not yet ceased
in our days in some parts of Europe, where they are denominated 'sacred
stones' by the people."*
Mr. Rivett-Carnac's views in relation to the primitive sculptures of
India have been given, in connection with his descriptive account, in a pre-
ceding part of this publication, and I need not revert to them for the present.
Though Professor Nilsson's theories are likewise known to the reader,
I have to draw attention to his statements concerning the continuance of
cup-cutting in comparatively modern times. He is of opinion that the first
Christian missionaries who came to Sweden, found in certain parts of the
country a population still sacrificing on cupped Baal altars. In order to
wean the people in a gentle manner from this practice, he thinks, the priests
first used the cupped boulders as holy-water stones, and afterward intro-
duced aspersoria in the shape of cupped stone vessels in the churches.
Indeed, he describes and figures several of these vessels belonging to
Scanian churches in which, before the era of Protestantism, Catholic wor-
ship was performed. Fig. 59 represents one of the holy-water basins
figured by Nilsson, which is still seen in a church at Strb, in the Bishopric
of Lund. Its upper surface shows five cup-excavations, but is otherwise
smooth. A transition from this simple to a somewhat more elaborate device
is shown by Fig. 60, likewise copied from Nilsson's work, and representing
a holy-water basin in a church at Oennarp, in Scafnia. Its slightly hollowed
upper surface exhibits five excavations, namely, a cross in the centre and a
cup in each corner.t
There is but little doubt that this Christian contrivance of employing holy-
water basins with cup-excavations is the survival of a preceding heathenish
practice; but it is more than questionable whether these Christian church-
vessels were designed to perpetuate, as it were, the recollection of what
Professor Nilsson considers as sacrificial altars. Taking it for granted that
SDesor.: Picrrcs A tcnolles; p. 18 and passiw
tNilsson: Das Bronzealter; Nachtrag, S. 4?
86 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
cup-cuttings were still made in Sweden when the work of converting the
inhabitants from paganism was begun, it by no means follows that the orig-
inal motive for cup-cutting then still actuated the people of that country.
We must at least take into account the possibility of such mutations, the
more so as examples are not wanting. In most countries of Europe and in
China and Japan, for instance, popular superstition even now invests pre-
historic stone implements, such as axes, celts and arrow-heads, with magic
powers, though the remote ancestors of the believers certainly used such
weapons and tools. What was originally an object employed in daily life,
became in the course of time a charm.
Some curious superstitions in relation to cupped stones are still in vogue
among the uneducated people of different European countries. As we have
seen, they are called elfstenar in Sweden. "The elfs," says Miss Mestorf,
"are the souls of the dead; they frequently dwell in or below stones, and
stand in various relations to the living. If their quiet is disturbed, or their
dwelling-place desecrated, or if due respect is not paid to them, they will
revenge themselves by afflicting the perpetrators with diseases or other
misfortunes. For this reason people take care to secure the favor of the
'little ones' by sacrifices, or to pacify them when offended. Their claims
are very modest: a little butter or grease, a copper coin, a flower or a rib-
bon will satisfy them. If they have inflicted disease, some object worn by
the sick person, such as a pin or a button, will reconcile them. A Swedish
proprietor of an estate (in Uppland), who had caused an elfstone to be
transported to his park, found a few days afterward small sacrificial gifts
lying in the cups. In the Stockholm Museum are preserved rag-dolls, which
had been found upon an elfstone." These probably had been deposited
by women who wished to become mothers. Thus we see the cup-stones in
Sweden applied to the use of altars; their cups, however, instead of holding
the blood of victims, as Nilsson conjectured, serve to receive the harmless
gifts of a simple-minded peasantry.
The cup-stone question has of late frequently been discussed in the
annual meetings of the German Anthropological Society as well as in the
meetings of the Anthropological Society of Berlin, Messrs. Virchow, Desor,
Correspondenz-Blatt der Dcutschcn Anthropologischen Gesellschaft, 1879, S. 4.
SUPERSTITIONS--CUP-MARKS ON CHURCHES.
Friedel, Mehlis, Schaaffhausen, and Voss being conspicuous among the par-
ticipants in the debates. Much of what was said in these meetings bearing
on the subject has been brought to the reader's notice, according to
original sources; in addition, however, various communications relating to
the occurrence of cup-excavations and furrows on the outside of the walls
of churches were made on these occasions.
It appears that Dr. E. Veckenstedt, a member of the Berlin Anthro-
pological Society, first pointed out the existence of these curious marks on
a church at Cottbus, in the Province of Brandenburg, Prussia.* They were
afterward noticed under similar circumstances at Guben, in the same prov-
ince.t Mr. E. Friedel, Director of one of the Berlin museums (Mdrkisches
Provinzial-Museum), becoming much interested in the subject, succeeded
in discovering them on churches in many other places of that province
(Spandau, Prenzlau, Angermiinde, Strausberg, Fiirstenwalde and Vetschau).
He further found the marks on churches in Pomerania (Greifswald, Stralsund,
Giitzkow, Lassan, Anklam, Wolgast, Sagard, Altenkirchen, Bergen on the
Island of Riigen; Gristow, Ianshagen and Neuenkirchen near Greifswald;
Morgenitz and Mellenthin on the Island of Usedom; Stettin); and extending
his researches beyond the boundaries of Germany, he found cup-marks on
churches in Sweden (Malmi, Upsala, and Wexi6). Mr. Woldt noticed
them in Berlin, and, according to Dr. Veckenstedt, they occur in Goslar
(Hanover) and Brunswick. Dr. Voss saw them in Baireuth (Bavaria).t Mr.
W. Schwartz sent to the Anthropological Society of Berlin a report concern-
ing cups on churches in the Province of Posen; and Professor Virchow,
finally, discovered himself these artificial excavations on the walls of ecclesi-
astic buildings in Switzerland (Thun and Berne) and in the valley of the
Rhine.l Many additional discoveries of the kind are to be expected.
The Prussian churches on which these curious markings have been
observed, appear to be mostly built of brick, and the excavations, of course,
are made in that material. They are usually, though not always, found on
Verhandlnngen der Berliner Anthropologischen Gesellschaft; Siznng vom 19. Jnni 1875, S. 18.
t Ibid.; Sitzung vom 91. Juli 1877, S. 22.
f Ibid.; Sitzlung vom 16. February 1878, S. 23.
SIbid., Sitzung vom 15. November 1879, S. 18.
II Ibid., Sitzung vom 18. October 1879, 8.*36.
88 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAP1DARIAN SCULPTURES.
the southern side of the churches, near an entrance, and, as a rule, placed
within the reach of a man's arm. The cups are smaller than most of those
seen on blocks, measuring only from two to four centimeters in diameter,
and are commonly distributed without apparent order. Sometimes they are
partly executed on the mortar between the bricks, a fact demonstrating
beyond doubt that they were made after the erection of the churches. Such
a case is well shown in Fig. 61, representing a portion of the portal of the
Marienkirche (Saint Mary's Church) at Greifswald, in Pomerania.* The two
uppermost cups, it will be seen, are partly excavated in the mortar. The
lowest course shows two furrows. In some instances such markings have
been observed on stone-built churches.
It appears more than probable that the practice of thus marking the
outside of these buildings indicates the continuation of a pagan custom,
though in these cases the cups may not have the significance of those seen
on boulders and megalithic monuments. I already have expressed a simi-
lar doubt while speaking of the cupped holy-water basins. The motives
which induced people in comparatively modern times to mark churches with
cups and furrows are not yet known. The theory that they are the work
of children will not explain the wide extent and uniformity of the practice,
though mischievous urchins may have amused themselves now and then by
adding to the number of markings.t They evidently are not bullet-marks,
as has been suggested: in fact, none of the views thus far advanced to
account for their presence appears to me satisfactory. The cups on churches
in Germany seem to have been thought to possess healing qualities. Fever-
sick people blew, as it were, the disease into the cavities. According to
other accounts, the patients swallowed the powder produced in grinding
out the cups. The latter practice has not yet become obsolete in France;
for Professor Desor learned from M. Falsan that in the church of Voanas,
near Bourg, Department of the Ain, a large stone, called La Pierre de Saint-
Loup, is preserved, into which the sick and impotent grind holes, and" drink
the pulverized matter, which, as they believe, cures the fever and renews
*The illustration i: taken from an article by Miss Mestorf, published in "Mat6riaux", 1878, p. 277.
I have reversed the position of the illustration, supposing that it was wrongly inserted in the French
periodical. It accompanied originally one of Mr. Frie4el's publications.
t Verhan'Dungen der Berliner Anthropologischen Gesellschaft; Sitzung von 16. February 1878, S. 25.
RAU.] CUP-)IARKS ON CHURCHES-TIEORIES AND SUPERSTITIONS. 89
the vital strength. Another stone, known as La Pierre de Saint-Clement, in
the village of Nanney, in the above-named department, is used for the same
purpose. In the Swiss Canton of Valais, Professor Desor further states,
ailing persons drill into the stones of a certain chapel, and swallow the dust
thus obtained.* Mr. Friedel learned from a citizen of Greifswald that the
cups were still resorted to in his time for charming away the fever. The
Bischofs-Stein, near Niemegk, mentioned on page 24 of this publication, Mr.
Friedel observes, is still visited by patients and quack doctors who rub it
with grease, in order to bring about cures. In a few instances, it seems,
the inside of cups on German churches was found to exhibit traces of grease.
The same gentleman has drawn attention to the anointing of stones prac-
tised for religious purposes by the ancient Jews. He refers to Genesis
XXVIII, 18: "And Jacob rose up early in the morning, and took the stone
that he had put for his pillows, and set it up for a pillar, and poured oil upon
the top of it"; and to Zechariah III, 9: "For behold the stone that I have
laid before Joshuai upon one stone shall be seven eyes; behold, I will
engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove
the iniquity of that land in one day." These "eyes" were anointed with
oil.t Such customs, however, may have sprung up independently among
There are some curious popular traditions connected with the cup-
excavations and grooves on churches in Germany. Thus, the grooves on
the cathedral at Brunswick pass for the claw-marks of the lion said to have
followed Duke Henry of Saxony and Bavaria, surnamed "the Lion," from
Palestine to Germany. This lion, the legend says, made the marks in a
fit of rage, being unable to enter the church in which his master was
praying $ In Posen a tradition refers the cups to the souls of the damned,
who, during their life-time, never had visited churches. They ground out
the cavities during the night, and left them as tokens of their despair at
not being allowed access to the closed churches. There are other similar
Correspondenz-Blatt der Deutschen Anthropologischen Gesellschaft, 1878, S. 156.
t Verhandlungen der Berliner Anthropologischen Gesollschaft; Sitzung vom 16. February 1878,
t Ibid., Sitzung vom 19. Juni 1875, S. 18.
6 Ibid., Sitzung vom 15. November 1879, S. 19.
90 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
stories told, to which I will not allude, as they have no scientific value
whatever, but simply show the current of popular fancy.
It is to be hoped that the efforts of European savants-more especially
of those of Germany, who show so much interest in the matter-will ulti-
mately result in clearing up the mystery that still shrouds the origin and
meaning of cup-excavations and grooves on ecclesiastic structures.
I have to allude once more to Mr. Rivett-Carnac's remarkable discov-
eries in India, and to the views thereon based by him. No one who has
examined his publications in connection with those of Simpson and Tate can
help admitting the striking resemblance between the cup and ring-cuttings
of India and Great Britain. Indeed, his theory that the primitive rock and
stone-sculptures of those countries were executed by people akin in race,
following similar customs, and observing similar forms of worship, deserves
the highest attention. Yet, after all, we deal here for the present with a
speculation and not with an established fact. The necessary evidences,
based upon the discovery of cup and ring-carvings in various countries of
the Old World, where thus far they have not been shown to exist, are at
present wanting. If they should come to light in the course of time, we
may be allowed to construct the ethnological chain which is still imperfect.
Professor Desor's Aryan theory, as given in a preceding part of this
publication, appears to me truly captivating, although the difficulties just
alluded to have, of course, also to be overcome in this case. In fact, Mr.
Rivett-Carnac and Professor Desor are'aiming at similar results. The last-
named gentleman's view, formulated with great distinctness, would tend to
establish a kind of archological harmony, by reducing, as it were, a
number of factors, hitherto not properly connected, to a single principle.
Leaving aside for a moment the question touching megalithic monuments
and primitive sculptures, how well would this theory explain the gap
existing between palmolithic and neolithic implements, and likewise the
introduction of domestic animals so characteristic of the era of polished
stone. The opinion that the Aryans were still in the stone age at the
period of their dispersion probably will gain more and more ground; but
the question concerning the original home of this people, the existence of
which was traced in a manner somewhat analogous to that by which
THEORIES OF DESOR AND RIVETT-CARNAC.
Leverrier discovered the planet Neptune, is still an open one. It should
also be considered that, though the Mahadeo-worshiping Saivas are (as I
judge) more or less modified Aryans, the Khasias of Bengal, who are prom-
inently mentioned as the modern builders of megalithic structures, belong
to a totally different race. "It is at all events worthy of remark," says
Miss Buckland, "that those who now in India build cromlechs, erect pillars
and circles of stones, and construct miniature kistvaens, are not the dom-
inant Aryan race, but the dark-skinned aborigines, descendants of the pre-
Aryan occupiers of the soil, and that in every country westward, wherein
these monuments are found, they are traditionally associated with a long-
forgotten race. It is remarkable, too, that some are assigned to giants and
some to dwarfs."* Similar. traditions, it will be remembered, are recorded
by Mr. Rivett-Carnac.
After all that has been said concerning the significance of the cup and
ring-sculptures in the Old World, I hardly venture to offer an opinion of
my own. However, it appears to me that the close connection between
cups and rings has not been sufficiently considered. It certainly appears
that both belong to one system of primitive sculpture, of which the former
seem to be the earlier expression; and if, indeed, the combined cups and
rings are what Mr. Rivett-Carnac thinks them to be, a kindred purport
should be assigned to those cup-excavations which occur without circles
and radial grooves on rocks and stones in Europe and Asia. I cannot see
how these two kinds of sculpture can be separated from each other, unless
by supposing that the primary application of the cups was simply of a
practical nature, and that afterward, owing to the force of habit, they were
made to enter into the composition of more elaborate carvings of an entirely
different character. This, however, is rather doubtful.
Turning to America, we find the difficulty of approaching anything
like a solution of the problem still greater, considering that here as yet the
number of discovered cup-stones is by far too small to permit the merest
attempt at generalization. As to the smaller North American cup-stones, I
have expressed, though in a guarded manner, my opinions concerning their
SBucklhnd (Miss A. W.): Notes on some Cornish and Irish Pre-historic Monuments in :Jonrnal of
Ilho Anthropological Institute of Great Britain and Ireland; November, 1879.
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
probable application-opinions which I am ready to abandon, as soon as
more satisfactory explanations are brought forward. Regarding the larger
North American cupped stones, more especially that belonging to the Cin-
cinnati Society of Natural History, I am unable for the present to offer the
The question naturally arises, whether the practice of excavating cups
in rocks was introduced in America by immigrants from abroad, or whether
it sprang up spontaneously in the New World. Being a believer in the
Darwinian doctrine of evolution, I consider man as a foreign element in
America. My reasons for that belief need not be given in this place: they
are known to all who follow in the wake of the great English naturalist.
I am further of opinion that the present American continent received its
population at a very remote period, when, perhaps, the distribution of land
and sea was different from what it is now. The earliest immigrants may
have been so low in the scale of human development that they yet lacked
the faculty of expressing themselves in articulate language.* However, it
can hardly be supposed that the peopling of America took place at a cer-
tain time and was discontinued afterward: on the contrary, there are reasons
which render a continued connection with distant parts, more especially
with Asia, highly probable. The innate tendency which leads man inde-
pendently in different parts of the world to the same or similar inventions
and conceptions, provided that there is a sufficient similarity in the external
conditions of existence, will account for many customs and practices of the
aboriginal American; but it fails to explain, for instance, the highly arti-
ficial and complicated system of reckoning time, which was in vogue among
the Toltecs, Mexicans and Yucatecs, and was almost identical with the
system still applied in Thibet and Tartary. It hardly can be imagined that
a method so intricate and peculiar in its principle could have originated in
different parts of the world, and hence one is almost driven to believe in
later connections between the inhabitants of Asia and America.t
SIn what other way can we account for the totally diverse characteristics of the numerous lin
guistic families of America?
t Those desirous of more precise information on the subject will find it in Humboldt's "Vues des
Cordilleres" (Paris, 1810, p. 125-194), or in the translation of that work, known as Humboldt's Re-
searches" (London, 1814, Vol. I, p. 276-409), and in Tylor's" Anahuac" (London, 1831, p. 241, etc.).
The cups on the Cincinnati boulder are perfectly similar to those on
many stones in the Old World, and it is probable that they owe their origin
to the same motives. If these motives arose from some religious concep-
tion, we might feel inclined to trace the origin of American cup-cutting
to Asia. But if, on the other hand, the cups were designed for a practical
purpose, the custom of excavating them may have sprung up in America as
well as elsewhere.
My task is now finished. It was my chief object to draw attention to
a very curious class of North American antiquities as yet but little known,
and thus to bring them within the range of a closer observation, which
possibly may lead to a better understanding of their meaning. As stated
on the title-page, I have tried, moreover, to present the subject under dis-
cussion in i'ts entirety--a mode of treatment which, I hope, will not be
deemed an objectionable feature of this publication.
While treating in these pages of primitive American sculptures bear-
ing some analogy to those observed in the Old World, I omitted to mention
the incised rock in Forsyth County, Georgia, briefly described and figured
by Colonel Charles C. Jones on pages 64 and 65 of the "Journal of the An-
thropological Institute of New York" (Vol. I, New York, 1,71-'72). The
subjoined illustrations are those published by Colonel Jones, who kindly
loaned me the wood-cuts.
North side of sculptured rock in Forsyth County. Georgia.
South side of the above.
Here follows his description:-
"In Forsyth County, Georgia,'is a carved or incised boulder of fine-
grained granite, about nine feet long, four feet six inches high, and three
feet broad at its widest point. The figures are cut in the boulder from
one-half to three-quarters of an inch deep.
90 CUP-SHAPED AND OTIER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
"As yet no interpretation of these figures has been offered, nor is it
known by whom or for what purpose they were made; but it is generally
believed they were the work of the Cherokees. On the eastern end of the
boulder, running vertically, is a line of dots, like drill-holes, eighteen in
number, connected by an incised line.".
The character of the sculptures being shown by the illustrations, I need
not add any further remarks.
Introduction.-Pierres a ecuelles, Schalensteine, cup-stones, definition;
reference to Prof. Desor's pamphlet entitled "Les Pierres h Ecuelles", p. 7.-
Occurrence of cup-stones in America, p. 8.
Part I.-Primitive Lapidarian Sculptures in Europe and Asia.
Scotland, etc.-"Archaic Sculptures of Cups, Circles, etc., upon Stones
and Rocks in Scotland, England, and other Countries," by Prof. J. Y. Simp-
son; occurrence of cup-shaped cavities and other primitive sculptures in
the British Islands, more especially in Scotland, on megalithic monuments,
in weems or underground houses, in fortified buildings, in and near ancient
towns and camps, on the surface of isolated rocks, on isolated stones, p. 9-
10.-Simpson's classification of primitive sculptures: single cups, cups sur-
rounded by a single ring, cups surrounded by a series of concentric com-
plete rings, cups surrounded by a series of concentric but incomplete rings,
having a straight radial groove, cups surrounded by concentric rings and
flexed lines, concentric rings without a central cup, concentric circular lines
of the form of a spiral or volute, p. 10-11.-Chief deviations from the
principal types; cups connected by grooves; examples of Scottish cup and
ring-cuttings; megalithic structures, etc., mentioned by Prof. Simpson,
which exhibit cup-cavities unaccompanied by other sculptures, p. 11-14.
England.-Reference to Mr. George Tate's work "The Ancient British
Sculptured Rocks of Northumberland and the Eastern Borders"; Northum-
brian sculptures analogous to those hitherto considered; absence of the spiral
line; cups always accompanied by other designs; the sculptures occur on
megalithic monuments or within or near ancient camps, p. 15-16.-Small
cup-stones discovered by Rev. William Greenwell in British barrows; they
7L S 97
CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
generally were found in barrows containing burned human remains, p. 16-
Ireland.-Cup and ring-cuttings found in Ireland; they are often asso-
ciated with other devices, such as stars, rosettes, crosses, triangles, zigzags,
etc.; "the Hag's Chair" at Lough Crew, near Oldcastle; incised stones in
the cairn at Lough Crew, and in the cairns of New Grange and Dowth,
near Drogheda; progressive development shown in Irish sculpture, p. 17-18.
France.-Sculptures on dolmen-stones in Brittany, exhibiting an ad-
vanced stage of primitive art; incised chamber-stones in the tumulus of
Gavr' Inis; cup-cuttings in Brittany, p. 18-19.-Cupped stones in Southern
France; "Le Cailhaou des Pourics," near Luchon (Pyrenees); in the valley
of the Rh6ne; "La Boule de Gargantua" in the Department of the Ain;
cupped rock in situ in the Lozere Department, p. 1 '-20.
Switzerland.-Frequency of cupped boulders in Switzerland; cupped
rock near Mont-la-Ville, Canton of Vaud; Dr. Ferdinand Keller's memoir
on Swiss cup-stones; cupped boulders in the neighborhood of Bienne and
Ziirich; only one case of ring-cuttings thus far known in Switzerland; small
cup-stones found near lacustrine stations in the Lake of Neuchatel; Dr. Kel-
ler's views regarding these stones, p. 21-22.
Germany and Austria.-Cup-stones not yet discovered in Southern Ger-
many, but doubtless will be found; cup-stone near Eckernfirde (Schles-
wig); Miss J. Mestorf's enumeration of cup-stones thus far noticed in the
duchies of Schleswig and Holstein; combination of cups with wheel-shaped
figures and rings (note); cup-stone with runic characters on one side, p. 22-
24.-Cup-cuttings on megalithic monuments in the Island of Riigen; on
rocks in different parts of Silesia; the "Bischofs-Stein" in Brandenburg,
Prussia; Mr. Friedel on cup-marks on churches in Germany and Sweden;
cup-stone near Ober-Farrenstlidt in Prussian Saxony; the "Riesenstein"
near Meissen, Saxony; Dr. M. Much on cup-stones in Austria, p. 24-25.
Denmark.-Dr. H. Petersen's article on primitive lapidarian sculptures
in Denmark, called Helleristninger in that country; cup-cuttings found in
most of the Danish islands and in Jiitland, on erratic blocks as well as on
stones of megalithic structures; these sculptures referable in many cases to
the stone age, in others to the bronze period; cup-stones with later runic
inscriptions; artificial foot-tracks on stones belonging to burial-structures,
p. 25-27.-Wheel-shaped sculptures on isolated blocks and megalithic mon-
uments; they are thought to pertain to the ages of stone and bronze; some-
times associated with rude designs of ships; group seen on the cap-stone of
a funeral chamber near Herrestrup in Seeland;. ship-sculptures probably
referable to the bronze age; similar designs on bronze knives or razors;
absence of sculptures on rocks in situ in Denmark, p. 27-28.
Sweden.-Diversity of primitive sculptures in Sweden; the cupped
granite boulder called the Baal or Balder Stone, in the neighborhood of
Falkiping; a sacrificial altar used in Baal-worship, according to Prof. Sven
Nilsson; other Swedish cup-stones; they are called clfstenar, or elfstones, p.
28-29.-Boulders in Scania with cup-excavations and wheel-shaped sculp-
tures; slab from a Scanian tumulus, called Willfarah1g, shows designs of a
chariot and of ships, and, in addition, cups of earlier date; description
of the tumulus, which is ascribed to the bronze age by Prof. Nilsson;
analogy between the designs on the slab from the Willfara tumulus and
those on the chamber-stones of the Kivik monument in Scania; these struc-
tures ascribed by Nilsson to Baal-worshiping Phoenicians; description of the
Kivik sculptures; absence of cup-cuttings; the Kivik monument and simi-
lar Scanian structures claimed for Denmark by Dr. Petersen; Scandinavian
sculptures on natural rock-surfaces; particularly frequent in the Lin of
Bohus; represent scenes of war and hunting, manned and empty ships, etc.;
ascribed by some to the bronze-age people, but by Prof. Nilsson to the
Vikings of the eighth and ninth centuries, p. 29-31.
India.-Cup-stones found in India; importance of their occurrence;
analogy between the megalithic monuments of India and those of Great
Britain pointed out by Col. M. Taylor and Dr. Wilson; later discoveries in
India by Mr. J. I. Rivett-Carnac; his writings; he explores tumuli near
Junapani, in the district of Nagpoor; traditions relating to them, p. 31-32.-
Description of these tumuli; cup-cuttings on blocks surrounding them, but
no ring-sculptures; articles found in the tumuli, p. 32-33.-Cup-sculptures
discovered by Rivett-Carnac on stones and rocks in situ in the mountains
of Kumaon; temple of Mahadeo at Chandeshwar; cup and ring-cuttings on
a rock in the vicinity; legends relating to these sculptures; "Mahadeo," a
100 CUP-SHAPED AND OTHER LAPIDARIAN SCULPTURES.
name given to Siva; his character in Hindoo mythology, p. 33-34.-Wor-
ship of Mahadeo and Yoni in India; their conventional representations in
general; in the Chandeshwar temple, p. 34-35.-They resemble the rock-
sculptures in the neighborhood; description of the Chandeshwar temple;
Mahadeo symbols of different kinds; those of the poorer class roughly cut
out on stone slabs, p. 35-36.-Temples near Chandeshwar built in imitation
of Mahadeo symbols; customs in the Punjab relating to Mahadeo-worship;
Mr. Rivett-Carnac's conclusion: he connects the megalithic monuments and
primitive sculptures of Europe with those of India, p. 36-38.-Previous
discovery of cupped boulders on the banks of the Indus (Cashmere) by
Dr. Verchere; the cups considered by him as the results of glacial
action; Prof. Desor refutes this erroneous view; Prof. Desor's inferences:
he ascribes European cup and ring-cuttings, megalithic monuments, etc.,
to Aryan immigrants, their arrival marking the beginning of the neolithic
period, p. 38-39.
Part II.-Primitive Lapidarian Sculptures in America.
North America.-Hammer-stones (so-called) in the United States; in
Europe; their application; cannot have been used in finishing flint imple-
ments of superior workmanship; methods of chipping flint among modern
North American Indians, p. 41-42.--Pitted stones; many of them not
bruised at their circumference, and consequently not applied as supposed;
speculations as to their use; perhaps employed in breaking hard-shelled
fruits, p. 42-43.-Nuts as an article of food among the North American In-
dians; "nut-stones" first described by Col. Charles C. Jones, p. 43-45.-
Small cup-stones with a cavity on one side or on both; used as paint-mor-
tars, p. 45-46.-Cup-stones of larger size with a number of cavities, per-
haps paint-mortars; Zufi paint-cups of earthenware; pestle with cup-shaped
cavity obtained fiom the Tesuque Indians, p. 46-48.-A cup-stone fi-om
Ohio described by Messrs. Squier and Davis; its transfer to the Blackmore
Museum (England); Mr. E. T. Stevens's view concerning this stone, p. 48-
49.-Cup-stones frequent in Ohio; called spindle-socket-stones by Col.
Charles Whittlesey; Adair on the method of spinning among the Southern
Indians; spindles used by the Navajos, Pueblo Indians, etc.; no an-