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It is interesting to see the old Celtic race here, preserved with a relative purity, still grouped around the ruins of its oppidum (Cassinodunum), where, compared with the rest of the Department, it appears as an island surrounded by the combined flood of brown and fair dolichocephals.
COLOUR OF THE HAIR AND EYES.
A statistical inquiry concerning the distribution of the colours of the eyes and hair leads to the following results. The browns predominate markedly over the blonds. But for a group of cantons in Creuse all the district should be ranged under the brown or moderately brown categories.
In the following table the numbers are in relation to 100; the differences between 100 and the fairs and the darks represent the eyes and hair of intermediate tint:
On comparing this table with the map, it will be seen that although Dordogne has an absolute greater number of blonds than Corrèze it is relatively darker, owing to the fact that the darks are greatly in excess in certain cantons; in other words, Dordogne is more patchy and Corrèze more uniform in the distribution of their hair and eye colours. It is evident that in using the word blond, this term is employed in only a relative sense. It is with this reserve and for the sake of convenience that the term blond will be employed. In the most blond group, that in the neighbourhood of Aubusson in Creuse, the blonds amount to only 33.6 per cent.—that is to say, one-third.
In order to gain a clear conception of the distribution of the hair and eye colours, it will be simpler to assume the whole region as originally inhabited by a brown population, and then to follow the probable route of the blonds.
The most important spot where the blond type is best preserved is the east of the Department of Creuse, especially the plateau of Gentioux and the upper basin of the river Cher and of its left affluents.
The second relatively blond region has Limoges for its centre. In certain spots the type is preserved with a remarkable purity, particularly among the women. Dr. Cold lignon was very much struck with the resemblance of these to the women of Cotentin in Normandy. It appears that the blonds radiate from Limoges in four directions: (1) towards the north in the direction of the old Roman road of Argentomagus and Avaricum (Argentan and Bourges), later the route to Paris—that is to say, along the road which united this town with the great blond centres of the north of France; (2) towards the east where it joins with blonds of the Cher region; (3) to the west in the direction of Angoulême; and (4) southwards towards Périgueux.
The third route of blond immigration would be the route from Paris to Bordeaux through Angoulême.
Limoges formed a centre, and towards the four points of the compass lay four very ancient and important towns, Avaricum (Bourges), Gergovia (Clermont), Vesuna (Périgueux), and Ecolisma (Angoulême).
The latter town was the only one of the four that was not united to Limoges either by a Roman road of the first order, or later by a postal route; and we find that in the region between these towns the blonds are deficient. The importance of the communications between Limoges and Bordeaux through Périgueux is affirmed by the long line of blonds which occur along that route. To take a biological simile, Limoges represents a ganglion protruding its nerve fibres in all directions towards other similar ganglia.
The distribution of black hair is worthy of note. In Dordogne it is marked in la Double, in the valleys of the rivers Dordogne, Isle, and Dronne. Secondary centres extend towards the north of Charente and of Creuse. There is thus a current inverse to that of the blonds. The great pressure of blonds came from the north-east and from the north; it traversed the district obliquely in a north-east to south-west line. Inversely the black-haired race appears to be massed in the south-west, and to be distributed, with a gradually decreasing importance, towards the north-east and north.
STATURE. The measurements of the stature are not so instructive from a racial point of view as might have been expected.
All the tall statures are massed at the circumference of the four Departments of which the statistics are available, with the exception of an important centre about Limoges. In the map the distribution of the heights over 1640 mm. (5 ft. 41 in.) is shown by the vertical lines. In mapping the distribution of the statures under 1610 mm. (5 ft. 3} in.) it is seen that besides several scattered areas towards the south of the district under discussion, there is a large central area which, following the example of Broca, who found a similar area of a dwarfed population in Basse Bretagne, Dr. Collignon calls “the Limousin black spot" (" la tâche noire limousin "').
In other cantons less than 10 per cent. of the statures have under 1600 mm. (5 ft. 3 in.), those in the black spot have without exception over 30 per cent. ; eight cantons have more than 40 per cent., one has 54.7 per cent., while that of Saint Mathieu has 67.6 per cent. less than 1600 mm., four. below 1540 mm., and 8.8 per cent. below 1500 mm. (4 ft. 11 in.). True dwarfs, that is, those with a stature below 1500 mm., are exceptional everywhere.
These figures are not due to an accidental and temporary selection, as the following figures of Bondin prove, which extended over a period of thirty years (1831-1860). These tables show that Dordogne, Corrèze, and Haute-Vienne are
among the four Departments in the whole of France which have the greatest number of exemptions from conscription
The Distribution of Stature in the Dordogne District (the Department of
Creuse is Omitted); after Collignon. Stature less than 161 cm. (5 ft. 3% in.), cross-hatched; between 161 and 164 cm., blank;
from 164. (5 ft. 4/2 in.) to 166 cm. (5 ft. 5/2 in.), shaded. The line A B separates
the granites and crystalline rocks on the east from the calcareous beds on the west. owing to deficiency of stature. The neighbouring Department of Puy-de-Dôme occupies the eighty-fourth rank, with 128 exemptions.