Antiquities saved by Protective Resemblance


A LARGE number of pillar stones marked with crosses, early Christian inscriptions and oghams, have been destroyed in Britain by farmers during the present century; a still greater number must have been destroyed before these objects began to attract special attention. A great number of the still remaining examples have been utilised as gate-posts and rubbing-stones for cattle, i.e. upright stones set up in fields by Welsh farmers for cattle to rub their itching skins against. This fortuitous resemblance of the slightly squared inscribed stones has protected them from destruction. A few of the flatter examples have been utilised as bridges over narrow streams. Nearly all the examples which have not resembled the above-mentioned objects have met with destruction. It is a sort of survival of the fittest.

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SMITH, W. Antiquities saved by Protective Resemblance. Nature 28, 462 (1883).

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