Imagini ale paginilor

Flint Instruments and Cave Deposits. 35

inhabitants of Picardy, like the Eskimo of the present day, broke open the ice of the Somme and harpooned the fish with their missiles through these openings, which they kept free from ice. The stone flakes which in an unsuccessful cast fell into the bed of the river, and were then enveloped in the diluvial deposit, are those which now decorate museums and rejoice the hearts of archæologists. Among these treasures there really are some so regular in outline and so accurately pointed that there can be no question of their artificial origin. But it would be important to ascertain whether they have been selected from among hundreds or thousands of similar but ruder stones in the same neighbourhood. In countries where masses of flint are found on the surface, and where they are readily broken by a sharp blow, they frequently splinter into chips and flakes, from which a very fair collection of stone implements might be put together, for the trouble of picking them up. Among the stone implements which Boucher de la Perthes had placed in the museum of St Germain, Virchow remarked many objects quite familiar to him in his home in Pomerania as sports of nature."1

Fortunately, there is a profusion of unimpeachable evidence which confirms the testimony of these flint implements of the Somme valley. As early as 1833-1840 deposits of human remains were discovered by Dr. Schmerling, in Belgian caves, mingled with bones of diluvial mammals, but they were for a long time disregarded in deference to Cuvier, who had denied that man had appeared on the scene before the animals of the present age. These discoveries were much misinterpreted, and it was assumed that the human bones had been transported by beasts of prey, or washed down into the caves by streams, and deposited among the diluvial remains. But since archæologists have been willing to recognize new truths, discoveries of similar bone-caves in other countries rapidly succeeded one another. Occasionally the remains of the diluvial denizens of the earth were extracted

11 Comp. Virchow in the Zeitschr. für Ethnologie, p. 51 (1871), in reference to Pomerania. His statements could be supplemented by Wetzstein in regard to the southern parts of Syria where in the tract of 'Ardh e'-Samân, three days' journey in length, the ground is covered with splinters of flint stone. It i there must be some amor. Five Low could never has mestaken a St. Actant are for a treat & nouit, & out natin alle Inher flinct is is you amtor time, that. none of then Love the bold of perculse on",

from beneath a flooring of calcareous stalactite, and flint implements of certainly artificial origin from beneath a stratum containing bones of prehistoric animals. The examination of one of these caves at Brixham, by a geologist as trustworthy as Dr. Falconer, convinced the specialists of Great Britain as early as 1858, that man was a contemporary of the mammoth, the woolly rhinoceros, the cave-bear, the cave-hyæna, the cave-lion, and therefore of the mammalia of the geological period antecedent to our own.

With the animals just mentioned was associated the reindeer, which, as is well known, belongs not to the extinct, but only to the expelled species. Formerly it roamed over Western France, where its vestiges are now abundant in the valley of the Vezère. In the district of Périgord, in the department of Dordogne, through which the railway between Orleans and Agen passes, six caves have been found. They contain among their detritus remains of reindeer's antlers artistically worked, as well as stone implements. In one of these old hiding-places near Cro-Magnon, the skulls and skeletons of two men and two women were found beside the remains of the cave-tiger (Felis spelea), of a colossal bear, of the ure-ox, and also of animals belonging to the far north, such as the jisel (Spermophilus erythrogenus) and the ibex. These cavemen of France maintained themselves on the produce of the chase, the horse especially being pursued as game. As the bones of the animals exhibit no traces of fire, the meat must have been either eaten raw, or seethed in water-tight plaited baskets, as is still the custom of certain North Americans, who, having no earthen vessels, heat their water in wooden vessels by dropping in heated stones. Indeed, pebbles which suggest a custom of this sort are found among the ash heaps in the cave of Cro-Magnon.

The ancient inhabitants of the Dordogne already attempted to portray objects of the outer world, such as fish, reindeer, or men, tusks, in carvings on horn and the ivory of mammoth's teeth, with a distinctness and animation which compels recognition. Among


12 Sir John Lubbock, in his Prehistoric Times, ed. 2, 1869, has published the portrait of a mammoth scratched on bone, found in the cave of la Madeleine in Périgord. Critical observers, however, are of opinion that archæological imagination has filled in the outlines of this piece of animal portraiture. Our

[blocks in formation]

the horn implements, mostly awls and arrow-heads with or without barbs, our attention is attracted by the occurrence of needles, with which, doubtless, the inhabitants of the caves sewed together the hides of animals.

A soft red ochre which occurs amongst the remains, enables us to infer that they painted their skin. Their love of finery is also betrayed by the discovery of necklaces of animals' teeth and shells. The latter, moreover, were derived from the far-distant shores of the Atlantic, and could, therefore, have come into their possession only by means of barter; the same must have been the case with the rock crystals, which are found, but which do not occur naturally, within a large radius of the deposits in which they have been found. Even the horns of the Saiga antelope, of which the nearest range must have been in Poland, were among the possessions of these old hunters, and serve as records that even at that time valued merchandize was distributed over great distances by means of commerce. Judging from the remains of bones, the hunters of the Dordogne were not, like the Belgian cave-dwellers, a small race of men, but of large size and powerful structure. The skulls were of a long or dolichocephalic form, and the bones of the face, notwithstanding a slight tendency to prognathism, surprise us by the beauty of their oval outlines. The capacity of the brain-case of a man (1590 cubic centimetres), and a woman (1450 cubic centimetres),13 would also indicate high mental endowments, if any such inference were reliable.

We may here notice the fragment of a skull found in August, 1856, in a cave in the Neanderthal, not far from Düsseldorf, and which was at first regarded, on account of its huge brow ridges and its flat brain-case, as a testimony to the rise of our race from the animal kingdom. It soon appeared, however, that its proportions were tolerably near those of average Europeans of these

text refers to a work which we believe to be still unfinished, of Edward Lartet and Henry Christy, Reliquiae Aquitaniae. London, 1865-69. An extract from this work, with some of the original woodcuts, was published by Alex. Ecker, in the Archiv für Anthropologie, vol. iv. p. 109. Brunswick, 1870.

13 A. Ecker in the Archiv für Anthropologie, vol. i. p. 116. The skull of the man could actually be measured, the capacity of the woman's could only be estimated, on account of injuries received.

* But the representation of the sarja is found, to that it mow & have lived in the region then.

[ocr errors]

days. In its present condition, this brain-case encloses a space of 63 cubic inches (zollen), which, according to an estimate made by Schaafhausen, would rise to 75 cubic inches if it had remained uninjured. 14 Charles Darwin was thus able to describe the Neanderthal skull as "very well developed and capacious." 15 European skulls, however, vary from 55 to 112 cubic inches. Virchow ultimately stated before the Anthropological Society of Berlin, April 27th, 1872, that this skull belonged to an old man afflicted with the rickets, that it was to be rejected as a racial type, and that its dimensions also were very moderate, and that in regard to the masticatory muscles it does not show signs of brutelike coarseness, as in Eskimo and Australians. 16 The value of this discovery is thus reduced to very common-place dimensions.

Germany also possesses remains of cave-dwellers, such as those examined since the year 1871, in Hohlefels near Schelklingen, not far from Blaubeuren. The fauna of the valley of the Blau included not only mammoths and elephants, but also a majestic tiger (Felis spelæa) three extinct species of bears (Ursus spelæus, U. priscus, and U. tarandi), and the reindeer, the antlers of which were made into instruments. Fragments of earthenware vessels, which from their shallow form must have served for roasting and broiling, also occur among these relics of a past civilization.

All the discoveries hitherto made merely enable us to put back the antiquity of our race as far as the times of the extinct cave fauna. On the other hand, the existence of the reindeer in central France does not justify us in presupposing any important alterations of climate, for even those who hesitate to recognize the Cervus tarandus in Cæsar's description18 of the Rhine, must yet admit that the reindeer is not strictly confined to polar regions, for the caribu, its representative in America, was found in lat. 43°, that is, on the parallel of Toulon, at the time of the first colonization of the eastern coasts of the United States, but it was speedily

14 Fuhlrott, Der fossile Mensch aus dem Neanderthale, p. 69. Duisburg, 1865. 15 Descent of Man, vol. i. p. 146.

16 Verhandlungen der Gesellschaft für Anthropologie, pp. 157-161. 1872. 17 See Oscar Fraas, Uber die ausgrabungen im Hohlefels in the Würtemberg. naturw. Jahresheften, § i. p. 25. 1872.

18 De Bello Gall. vi. 21 and 26.


scared away to the far north by the presence of Europeans. Bones of the sheep and goat have, moreover, been found with those of the reindeer, in a Belgian cave, so that the cave-men who dwelt there must have been peaceable shepherds. The disappearance from Europe of the cave fauna, consisting in part of noxious beasts of prey, in part of huge pachyderms, which latter are always represented locally by a scanty number of individuals only, might have been accomplished in a comparatively short time, as soon as our part of the world became more densely colonized, and the inhabitants combined more efficacious weapons with greater skill in hunting. The rapid disappearance of many species of animals within the last few centuries, such as the wingless auk in northern Europe, the sea-cow (manatee) in Behring's Straits, the dodo in the Mauritius, the Moa species in New Zealand, greatly modifies our notions of the time necessary for the disappearance of the diluvial species.

Fortunately, however, we possess tokens that the Suabian district was inhabited at a time when mighty glaciers filled up the valley of the Rhine and the Lake of Constance. Near the old Abbey of Schussenried, in some earthworks at the source of the Schuss a small stream which falls into the Lake of Constance, in the neighbourhood of Langenargen-a lower stratum was uncovered in the summer of 1866, in which carved antlers of reindeer, bodkins with eyes, a smooth-scraped needle, fish-hooks, flints in the shape of lancets and saw-blades, lumps of red material for skin-painting, ashes, and remains of charcoal were found intermingled.20 Even if we attach less weight to the fact that these relics of civilization were enclosed between two layers of glacier mud, their antiquity is marked by the fact that with the human implements were found bones of a species of polar fox, agreeing in structure with one which now inhabits the neighbourhood of Nain in Labrador as well as of a species of glutton (Gulo borealis), and of two species of moss, of which one (Hypnum sarmentosum now exists only in Lapland, in Norway on the limits of perpetual snow, and on the highest Sudetic mountains and the Tyrol, and

19 O. Fraas im Archiv für Anthropologie, vol. v. p. 480. Brunswick, 1872. * 20 Ibid, vol. iii. pp. 38, 39, 42, 44.

+ Su Jamy Pécis de



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[merged small][ocr errors]
« ÎnapoiContinuă »