The Making of Modern Holland: A Short History

The Making of Modern Holland: A Short History

The Making of Modern Holland: A Short History

The Making of Modern Holland: A Short History

Excerpt

Early man, all over the world, has recorded the story of his life in symbols of his mortality. Only by studying how he was buried do we conceive a picture, however vague and superficial, of how he lived. Modern archaeology has opened a book of revelation which has for its main theme the resurrection of the dead.

There are no written records of early life in the Low Countries, but the soil has disclosed that this swampy, wind-swept, and sea-menaced region has never been uninhabited since the late diluvial period. Race after race swept over the land from its arctic past down to the present day. We do not know their names; we know only the shape of their skulls, the tools that they used, the manner of their burial. There were the cup people who built mass graves of wood in the shape of beehives. There were the builders of the Hunebeds, huge megalithic tombs that are still conspicuous features of the landscape of Drenthe. There were tribes who buried their dead in hollowed-out tree trunks, others who cremated them and interred the urns containing their ashes. Age after age sent waves of migration from east to west, as if the tide of humanity were as irresistibly drawn toward the sea as the sea toward the land. Hitler's invasion of Northwest Europe is the latest upsurge of that eternally undulating human ocean.

It is not true, then, that dead men tell no tales. These prehistoric dead are better witnesses than the living. It is less . . .

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