Imágenes de páginas

As it is conceivable that the bones may have been washed out of an older gravel, and deposited with the relics of human workmanship in a reconstructed formation, the mere juxta-position of the remains of the mammoth and rhinoceros with the flint weapons would not, of course, establish that the men who fashioned them were contemporary with the mammalia; but if so washed out of an older formation, the bones would have been water-worn, which they are not: moreover, nearly all the bones of a rhinoceros were found, and the two classes of relics occur in similar association not in one spot only, but in different parts of Europe. And it is evident, too, that the timb of the bear found on the Devonshire coast belonged to an animal that was living just before its entombment.

More than sixty years ago, worked flints precisely similar to those found in France were discovered at Hoxne, in Suffolk,* at the depth of twelve feet, in a soil remarkably analogous in stratification to that at Abbeville and Amiens, resting on the boulder-clay; and in a stratum of sand mixed with marine shells immediately above the gravel containing the fints, mammalian remains were found. A similar weapon of spearhead form was found with remains of Elephas primigenius in Gray's Inn-lane. Again, in gravel-beds in the valley of the Wey, in which, as on the banks of the Thames and of some other rivers, remains of the Elephas primigenius and other extinct animals are frequently found, a flint implement was discovered many years ago. Similar weapons have been found lying on the sea-shore at the base of the cliffs between Herne Bay and the Reculvers, and Mr. Evans shows it to be highly probable that they were derived from the fresh-water drifts which there overlie the lower tertiary beds. Flint implements have been recently found also in the drift of the valley of the use, in Bedfordshire. The spot is a gravel-pit at Biddenham, where the drift-beds are about fourteen feet in thickness, and contain pebbles of older rocks derived from the boulder-clay, and rest on a platform of the colitic rock. Remains of extinct mammalia were found in the same bed, and in them also, but in other cuttings, tusks of the hippopotamus were found. At the period when these flints and animal remains were entombed, the platform on which the beds repose was the bottom of a river, and after the accumulation of the drift-beds, the wide valley in which the Ouse now flows must have been excavated by it to a depth of thirty feet, but the river seems to have flowed at its present level when the Romans were in England. So, too, at St. Acheul, Gallo-Roman graves were dug in earth which overlies the beds containing the relics of an earlier people—the primeval workers in flint, compared with the period of whose existence the Roman occupation seems but of yesterday. I

“The primitive people,” says Sir Charles Lyell, “who co-existed with the elephant and rhinoceros in the valley of the Ouse, at Bedford, and who used flint tools of the Amiens type, certainly inhabited parts of England which had already emerged from the waters of the glacial sea. . . The people who have left their memorials in the valley of the Thames were of corresponding antiquity, posterior to the boulder-clay,

* Archæologia, vol. xiii. p. 204.

† The discoverer, Mr. Whitbourn, detailed the circumstances to Mr. Evans, who communicated them to the Geological Society in his Memoir.

Letter of Mr. Flower to the Times, Nov. 18, 1859. VOL. LIV.

but anterior to the time when the rivers of that region had settled into their present channels."

The valley of the Somme is bounded by chalk hills, from two hundred to three hundred feet in height, and the valley, which has an average width of a mile between Amiens and Abbeville, seems to have been scooped out from the chalk. As Sir Charles Lyell remarks, the mere volume of the drift, found at various heights in this part of France, suffices to demonstrate the vast lapse of time which must have been required for the accumulation in successive river channels of such heaps of shingle, all derived from the older tertiary rocks, and accumulated in the channels of rivers which flowed at higher levels than the present stream, and before the valley had acquired its present depth and form. “Then followed," says our author, “ a prodigious amount of mechanical action, accompanying the repeated widening and deepening of the valley before it became the receptacle of the peat deposit which now fills its hollows, and for the accumulation of which an enormous space of time must evidently be assigned. Yet the position of many of the worked flints leaves no doubt on the mind of the geologist that their fabrication preceded all these repeated denudations." This bed of peat is from twenty to thirty feet thick, and contains shells wholly of fresh-water origin, and trunks of trees that grew at a higher level above the sea, and on land which extended beyond the present coast line into the British Channel. The peat has been evidently of slow growth, in basin-shaped depressions, which conform to the present contour and drainage levels of the country, and it is long posterior in date to the older gravel containing the bones of the mammoth and the flint implements of rude and antiquated typethat formation which, in the valley of the Somme as on the top of the Cromer cliffs, separates the oldest known works of man from all the older life of the globe. It is clear that at Amiens, land which is now a hundred and sixty feet above the sea, and ninety feet above the Somme, has been covered by fresh water, and remained submerged long enough for deposits many feet in thickness to be gradually accumulated. The peat in its upper layers contains Roman and Celtic remains, and they show how little the face of the country has changed since the Romans and the Gauls formed their sepulchres in these alluvial beds above the relies of an earlier race of men.

The peat of the valley of the Somme had, probably, required many thousands of years for its growth, as did the peat mosses of Denmark. They, too, occupy hollows in the drift, and are from ten to thirty feet in depth. The remains they enclose indicate three distinct periods of civilisation in the pre-historic inhabitants of the country: the earliest of these is the “age of stone,” which seems to have been co-extensive with the period when the Scotch fir was a native of Denmark. We are still imperfectly acquainted with the fauna of “the stone age" in Denmark, but there seems no doubt that the elk and the reindeer flourished during the accumulation of the Danish peat, and that the geographical conditions of the Baltic coast were different in the days of the pre-historic inhabitants from what they are at present. The native pine-forests which covered the country before the “ age of stone” died out, and gave place to forests of oak, which likewise vanished and were succeeded by the beech, before “the iron age” began.

The antiquity of what is called “the stone period,” is also illustrated by recent investigations in the sites of the old lake villages of Switzerland. But the era of the Celtic occupants, who have left their ground and polished stone implements in so many parts of Europe, and to whose duration alone a less period than six thousand years cannot, probably, be assigned, was modern compared to that of the perished race which had preceded them before even the peat and the beds that contain the weapons of the stone period kad been deposited, and before the geological changes which gave to the river valley of the Somme its present form. Seeing, then, how long must have been the duration of each distinct epoch in the history of this river valley, and that human works occur in formations that belong to every one of those epochs, Sir Charles Lyell may well say that we do not need the evidence of the elephant, rhinoceros, hippopotamus, bear, cave-lion, and other extinct animals, to establish the remote antiquity of the era when man inhabited this part of France; and we think there can be little doubt that the race who fashioned the rude flint implements passed away before this portion of the earth was occupied by the tribes of the stone period.”

It is only by inference that our author's opinion as to the antiquity of the human race appears, but he seems to assign to the flint hatchets found in the drift in England and France an age at all events not less than a hundred thousand years. Nor does this startling conclusion rest only on the phenomena investigated in Europe, for human bones were found associated with the remains of the Mastodon in a fluviatile deposit at Natchez, on the Mississippi, to which Sir Charles Lyell is unable to assign a less remote antiquity.

We have not space to enter upon those ethnological speculations which have led more than one eminent anatomist to the conclusion that the agreement of the earliest known fossil skull of man, with many a European skull of the present day, indicates that the first traces of what Professor Huxley calls the primordial stock whence man has proceeded, may be looked for in an epoch more distant from the age of the Elephas primigenius than that age is from our own!

The discovery of these flint implements has lately excited such universal interest that our readers have probably met with a description of them. We may, however, state that the material of all of them is the flint derived from the chalk. In many instances it is remarkable how little the original shape of the flint has been altered in its conversion into a weapon or an implement. Mr. Evans divides these objects into three classes : 1st, flakes ; 2nd, weapons with acute point or with rounded edge; 3rd, oval or almond-shaped weapons, with a cutting edge all round. The greater number of the flakes seem better adapted for knives than arrow-heads. Many of the weapons have been shaped with sharp points apparently for spear-heads ; others seem to have been intended for use without a handle, one of the naturally-rounded ends having been left unchipped. None of them have been ground or polished as the implements of “the stone age" are; the edges are left in the rough state to which they were reduced by chipping. It is remarkable that some of those found in the cavern near Torquay are identical in form with the flints of oval type from Abbeville. It has been absurdly contended that the weapon-like form is due to natural configuration, or to

some tendency of the flint to that form of fracture. But the uniformity of the three types wheresoever these objects are found throughout Europe, and the sharpness of the cutting edges, or of the points in the case of the pear-shaped weapons, cannot be due to anything but design, or be anything but artificial.

Finally, if these discoveries establish that man existed for uncounted ages before the era assigned by our chronology to the beginning of the world, and afford a startling view of the duration of past time; and if previous researches in geology proved that the forms of life represented in the Palæozoic rocks were separated by an inconceivably vast interval from those which characterise the secondary life-period of the globe, and by a still longer time from the assemblage of living creatures to which man belongs, how wondrous is the view of THE CREATOR which they reveal! For we find as clearly in the organic structures that inhabited the sea soon after the time when a sea no longer lifeless rolled upon the shore, or in the creatures by which the earth was inhabited when the flint implements were fashioned by primeval man, as in the whole range of animated nature now around us, the same proofs of the power, the providence, and the wisdom of the ETERNAL.

W. S. G.



She has such a sweet sweet face,

And her voice is so full of mirth,
And her step is so full of grace,

And her heart so full of worth;
There is in the sweetness a spell,

And the mirth is the bloom of jest,
And language the grace cannot tell,

But the worth is worth the rest.

They say that the years will pale

The sweetness that shines in her face,
And that shadows the mirth will veil,

And the footstep lose its grace:
But the spirit, through day and year,

Will change not, whate'er be the test,
And live, when it passes from here,

The worth that is worth the rest.




Ir magazine article ventures on Greek quotation at all, and on only one, it may be pretty confidently assumed, on the strength of a thousand experiences, that the one selected will be tolupolo Bolo Dalaoons. Even the least cultivated of compositors must be tolerably familiar, one would imagine, with Greek to that extent ;—which is perhaps as much as can be said for many of the purveyors of “copy” for the press, the (by convention and courtesy) learned authors themselves. It were out of all reason, then, and against all rule, by magazine law for all such cases made and provided, that in an article expressly devoted to the study of sea sounds, no mention of the resounding Homeric polysyllable should be found. But as the quotation has got to be rather a bore, we quote it at once ; at once to make sure of, and have done with it—thereby honouring magazine tradition (or common law), satisfying conscience, and establishing an average credit of familiarity, in the original, with

- that blind bard, who on the Chian strand By those deep sounds possessed with inward light, Beheld the Iliad and the Odyssee

Rise to the swelling of the voiceful sea.* Apy further communication with Homer will be most conveniently carried on through a medium, such as Mr. Pope-declining as may be the credit of that great little man, as a loyal and efficient translator from the Greek. The dispersion of the malcontent and muttering troops, after Ulysses has partially appeased and effectively dismissed them, is described in imagery borrowed from the shore, whether Chian or whatever other strand, that Homer must have loved to haunt :

Murmuring they move, as when old Ocean roars,
And heaves huge surges to the trembling shores;
The groaning banks are burst with bellowing sound,

The rocks remurmur, and the deeps resound.
So, too, at the conclusion of one of Agamemnon's “ first-chop” orations :

The Monarch spoke: and strait a murmur rose,
Loud as the surges when the tempest blows,
That dash'd on broken rocks tumultuous roar,

And foam and thunder on the stony shore. I In the fourth Book, the thronging of battalions to the fight is compared, both in sight and sound, to billows that float in order to the shore, wave rolling behind wave, till, with growing storm of winds, “ the deeps arise, foam o'er the rocks, and thunder to the skies."'S And in the ninth it is

* S. T. Coleridge, " Fancy in Nubibus."
† Pope's Homer's Iliad, II. 249 sq.

Ibid., IV. 479 89.

| Ibid., 470-3.

« AnteriorContinuar »