Manners and Monuments of Prehistoric Peoples by The Marquis de Nadaillac

This Etext Created by Jeroen Hellingman Manners and Monuments of Prehistoric Peoples by The Marquis de Nadaillac Translated by Nancy Bell (N. D’Anvers) Translator’s Note The present volume has been translated, with the author’s consent, from the French of the Marquis de Nadaillac. The author and translator have carefully brought down to date the original
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This Etext Created by Jeroen Hellingman

Manners and Monuments of Prehistoric Peoples

by The Marquis de Nadaillac

Translated by

Nancy Bell (N. D’Anvers)

Translator’s Note

The present volume has been translated, with the author’s consent, from the French of the Marquis de Nadaillac. The author and translator have carefully brought down to date the original edition, embodying the discoveries made during the progress of the work. The book will be found to be an epitome of all that is known on the subject of which it treats, and covers ground not at present occupied by any other work in the English language.

Nancy Bell (N. D’Anvers).




Chapter Page
I. The Stone Age, its Duration, and its Place in Time 1 II. Food, Cannibalism, Mammals, Fish, Hunting and Fishing, Navigation 47
III. Weapons, Tools, Pottery; Origin of the Use of Fire, Clothing, Ornaments; Early Artistic Efforts 79
IV. Caves, Kitchen-Middings, Lake Stations, “Terremares,” Crannoges, Burghs, “Nurhags,” “Talayoti,” and “Truddhi” 127 V. Megalithic Monuments 174
VI. Industry, Commerce, Social Organization; Fights, Wounds and Trepanation 231
VII. Camps, Fortifications, Vitrified Forts; Santorin; the Towns upon the Hill of Hissarlik 279
VIII. Tombs 343
Index 383


Figure Page
Fossil man from Mentone. FRONTISPIECE 1. Stone weapons described by Mahudel in 1734. 8 2. Copper hatchets found in Hungary and now in national museum of Budapest. 20
3. Copper beads from Connett’s Mound, Ohio (natural size). 21 4. Stone statues on Easter Island. 37
5. Fort-hill, Ohio. 39
6. Group of sepulchral mounds. 40
7. Ground plan of a pueblo of the Mac-Elmo valley. 41 8. Cliff-house on the Rio Mancos. 42
9. House in a rock of the Montezuma canon. 43 10.
1. Fragments of arrows made of reindeer horn from the Martinet cave (Lot-et-Garonne).
2. Point of spear or harpoon in stag-horn (one third natural size).
3. and 4. Bone weapons from Denmark. 5. Harpoon of stag-horn from St. Aubin. 6. Bone fish-hooks pointed at each end, from Waugen. 61 11. Bear’s teeth converted into fish-hooks. 62 12. Fish-hook made out of a boar’s tusk. 62 13.
A. Large barbed arrow from one side of the Plan Lade shelter (Tarn-et-Garonne).
B. Lower part of a barbed harpoon from the Plantade deposit. 65
14. Ancient Scandinavian boat found beneath a tumulus at Gogstadten. 73
15. Ancient boat discovered in the bed of the Cher. 75

16. A lake pirogue found in the Lake of Neuchatel. 1. As seen outside.
2. and 3. Longitudinal and transverse sections. Stones used as anchors, found in the Bay of Penhouet. 76 17. 1, 2, 3. Stones weighing about 160 lbs. each. 4. and 5. Lighter stones, probably used for canoes. 80 18. Scraper from the Delaware valley. 82 19. Implement from the Delaware valley. 82 20. Worked flints from the Lafaye and Plantade shelters (Tarn-et-Garonne). 83
21. 1. Stone javelin-head with handle. 2. Stone hatchet with handle. 89
22. 1. Fine needles. 2. Coarse needles. 3. Amulet. 4 and 6. Ornaments. 5. Cut flints. 7. Fragment of a harpoon. 8. Fragments of reindeer antlers with signs or drawings. 9. Whistle. 10. One end of a bow (?). 11. Arrow-head. (From the Vache, Massat, and Lourdes caves) 91
23. Amulet made of the penien bone of a bear and found in the Marsoulas cave. 92
24. Various stone and bone objects from California. 93 25. Dipper found in the excavations at the Chassey camp. 95 26. Pottery of a so far unclassified type found in the Argent cave (France). 98
27. 1. Lignite pendant. 2. Bone pendant. (Thayngen cave). 107 28. Round pieces of skull, pierced with holes (M. de Baye’s collection). 110
Part of a rounded piece of a human parietal. Stiletto made of the end of a human radius. 111 Disk, made of the burr of a stag’s antler. 30. Whistle from the Massenat collection. 112 31. Staff of office. 113
32. Staff of office, made of stag-horn pierced with four holes. 114
33. Staff of office found at Lafaye. 34. Staff of office in reindeer antler, with a horse engraved on it (Thayngen). 115

35. Staff of office found at Montgaudier. 117 36. Carved dagger-hilt (Laugerie-Basse). 118 37. The great cave-bear, drawn on a pebble found in the Massat cave (Garrigou collection). 118
38. Mammoth or elephant from the Una cave. 119 39. Seal engraved on a bear’s tooth, found at Sordes. 40. Fragment of a bone, with regular designs. Fragment of a rib on which is engraved a musk-ox, found in the Marsoulas cave. 120 41. Head of a horse from the Thayngen cave. 121 42. Bear engraved on a bone, from the Thayngen cave. 121 43. Reindeer grazing, from the Thayngen cave. 122 44. Head of OVIBOS MOSCHATUS, engraved on wood, found in the Thayngen cave. 123
45. Young man chasing the aurochs, from Laugerie. 124 46. Fragment of a staff of office, from the Madelaine cave. 125 47. Human face carved on a reindeer antler, found in the Rochebertier cave. 125
48. The glyptodon. 128
50. Objects discovered in the peat-bogs of Laybach, A. Earthenware vase. B. Fragment of ornamented pottery. C. Bone needle. D. Earthenware weight for fishing-net. E. Fragment of jaw bone. 152 51. Small terra-cotta figures found in the Laybach pile dwellings. 153
52. Small terra-cotta figures from the Laybach pile dwellings. 154
53. Nurhag at Santa Barbara (Sardinia). 168 54. “Talayoti” at Trepuco (Minorca). 170 55. Dolmen of Castle Wellan (Ireland). 175 56. The large dolmen of Careoro, near Plouharnel. 176 57. Dolmen of Arrayolos (Portugal). 177
58. Megalithic sepulchre at Acora (Peru). 178 59. The great broken menhir of Locmariaker with Caesar’s table. 186

60. Covered avenue of Dissignac (Loire-Inferieure), view of the chamber at the end of the north gallery. 189 61. Covered avenue near Antequera. 190
62. Ground plan of the Gavr’innis monument. 191 63. Monoliths at Stennis, in the Orkney Islands. 193 64. Cromlech near Bone (Algeria). 196
65. Dolmen at Pallicondah, near Madras (India). 201 66. Dolmen at Maintenon, with a table about 19 1/2 feet long. 204
67. Part of the Mane-Lud dolmen. 208 68. Sculptures on the menhirs of the covered avenue of Gavr’innis. 210
69. Dolmen with opening (India). 211 70. Dolmen near Trie (Oise). 212
71. Bronze objects found at Krasnojarsk (Siberia). 237 72. Prehistoric polisher near the ford of Beaumoulin, Nemours. 239
73. Section of a flint mine. 242
74. Plan of a gallery of flint mine. 243 75. Picks, hammers, and mattocks made of stag-horn. 245 76. Cranium of a woman from Cro-Magnon (full face). 249 77. Skull of a woman found at Sordes, showing a severe wound, from which she recovered. 250
78. Fragment of human tibia with exostosis enclosing the end of a flint arrow. 252
79. Fragment of human humerus pierced at the elbow joint (Trou d’Argent). 253
80. Mesaticephalic skull, with wound which has been trepanned 259
81. Trepanned Peruvian skull. 268
82. Skull from the Bougon dolmen (Deux-Sevres), seen in profile 273
83. Trepanned prehistoric skull. 274 84. Prehistoric spoon and button found in a lake station at Sutz. 287
85. General view of the station of Fuente-Alamo. 293 86. Group at Liberty (Ohio). 299
87. Trenches at Juigalpa (Nicaragua). 300 88. Vases found at Santorin. 313

89. Vase ending in the snout of an animal, found on the hill of Hissarlik. 325
90. Funeral vase containing human ashes. 326 91. Large terra-cotta vases found at Troy. 327 92. Earthenware pitcher found at a depth of 19 1/2 feet. 328 93. Vase found beneath the ruins of Troy. 94. Terra-cotta vase found with the treasure of Priam. 95. Vase found beneath the ruins of Troy. 329 96. Earthenware pig found at a depth of 13 feet. 330 97. Vase surmounted by an owl’s head, found beneath the ruins of Troy. 331
98. Copper vases found at Troy. 333 99. Vases of gold and electrum, with two ingots (Troy). 334 100. Gold and silver objects from the treasure of Priam. 335 101. Gold ear-rings, head-dress, and necklace of golden beads from the treasure of Priam. 336
102. Terra-cotta fusaioles. 339
103. Cover of a vase with the symbol of the swastika. 340 104. Stone hammer from New Jersey bearing an undeciphered inscription. 341
105. Chulpa near Palca. 357
106. Dolmen at Auvernier near the lake of Neuchatel. 359 107. A stone chest used as a sepulchre. 361 108. Example of burial in a jar. 363
109. Aymara mummy. 365
110. Peruvian mummies. 367
111. Erratic block from Scania, covered with carvings. 379 112. Engraved rock from Massibert (Lozere). 380


The Stone Age: its Duration and its Place in Time.

The nineteenth century, now nearing its close, has made an indelible impression upon the history of the world, and never were greater things accomplished with more marvellous rapidity. Every branch of science, without exception, has shared in this progress, and to it the daily accumulating information respecting different parts of the globe bas greatly contributed. Regions, previously completely closed, have been, so to speak, simultaneously opened by the energy of explorers, who, like Livingstone, Stanley, and Nordenskiold, have won immortal renown. In Africa, the Soudan, and the equatorial regions, where the sources of the Nile lie hidden; in Asia, the interior of Arabia, and the Hindoo Koosh or Pamir mountains, have been visited and explored. In America whole districts but yesterday inaccessible are now intersected by railways, whilst in the other hemisphere Australia and the islands of Polynesia have been colonized; new societies have rapidly sprung into being, and even the unmelting ice of the polar regions no longer checks the advance of the intrepid explorer. And all this is but a small portion of the work on which the present generation may justly pride itself.

Distant wars too have contributed in no small measure to the progress of science. To the victorious march of the French army we owe the discovery of new facts relative to the ancient history of Algeria; it was the advance of the English and Russian forces that revealed the secret of the mysterious lands in the heart of Asia, whence many scholars believe the European races to have first issued, and of this ever open book the French expedition to Tonquin may be considered at present one of the last pages.

Geographical knowledge does much to promote the progress of the kindred sciences. The work of Champollion, so brilliantly supplemented by the Vicomte de Rouge and Mariette Bey, has led to the accurate classification of the monuments of Egypt. The deciphering of the cuneiform inscriptions has given us the dates of the palaces of Nineveh and Babylon; the interpretation by savants of other inscriptions has made known to us those Hittites whose formidable power at one time extended as far as the Mediterranean, but whose name had until quite recently fallen into complete oblivion. The rock-hewn temples and the yet more strange dagobas of India now belong to science. Like the sacred monuments of Burmah and Cambodia they have been brought down to comparatively recent dates; and though the palaces of Yucatan and Peru still maintain their reserve, we are able to fix their dates approximately, and to show that long before their construction North America was inhabited by races, one of which, known as the Mound Builders, left behind them gigantic earthworks of many kinds, whilst another, known as the Cliff Dwellers, built for themselves houses on the face of all but inaccessible rocks.

Comparative philology has enabled us to trace back the genealogies of races, to determine their origin, and to follow their migrations. Burnouf has brought to light the ancient Zend language, Sir Henry Rawlinson and Oppert have by their magnificent works opened up new methods of research, Max Muller and Pictet in their turn by availing themselves of the most diverse materials have done much to make known to us the Aryan race, the great educator, if I may so speak, of modern nations.

To one great fact do all the most ancient epochs of history bear witness: one and all, they prove the existence in a yet more remote past of an already advanced civilization such as could only have been gradually attained to after long and arduous groping. Who were the inaugurators of this civilization? Who ware the earliest inhabitants of the earth? To what biological conditions were they subject? What were the physical and climatic conditions of the globe when they lived? By what flora and fauna were they surrounded? But science pushes her inquiry yet further. She desires to know the origin of tire human race, when, how, and why men first appeared upon the earth; for from whatever point of view he is considered, man must of necessity have had a beginning.

We are in fact face to face with most formidable problems, involving alike our past and future; problems it is hopeless to attempt to solve by human means or by the help of human intelligence alone, yet with which science can and ought to grapple, for they elevate the soul and strengthen the reasoning faculties. Whatever may be their final result, such studies are of enthralling interest. “Man,” said a learned member of the French Institute, “will ever be for man the grandest of all mysteries, the most absorbing of all objects of contemplation.”[1]

Let us work our way back through past centuries and study our remote ancestors on their first arrival upon earth; let us watch their early struggles for existence! We will deal with facts alone; we will accept no theories, and we must, alas, often fail to come to any conclusion, for the present state of prehistoric knowledge rarely admits of certainty. We must ever be ready to modify theories by the study of facts, and never forget that, in a science so little advanced, theories must of necessity be provisional and variable.

Truly strange is the starting-point of prehistoric science. It is with the aid. of a few scarcely even rough-hewn flints, a few bones that it is difficult to classify, and a few rude stone monuments that we have to build up, it must be for our readers to say with what success, a past long prior to any written history, which has left no trace in the memory of man, and during which our globe would appeal to have been subject to conditions wholly unlike those of the present day.

The stones which will first claim our attention, some of them very skilfully cut and carefully polished, have been known for centuries. According to Suetonius, the Emperor Augustus possessed in his palace on the Palatine Hill a considerable collection of hatchets of different kinds of rock, nearly all of them found in the island of Capri, and which were to their royal owner the weapons of the heroes of mythology. Pliny tells of a thunder-bolt having fallen into a lake, in which eighty-nine of these wonderful stones were soon afterwards found.[2] Prudentius represents ancient German warriors as wearing gleaming CERAUNIA on their helmets; in other countries similar stones ornamented the statues of the gods, and formed rays about their heads.[3]

A subject so calculated to fire the imagination has of course not been neglected by the poets. Claudian’s verses are well known:

Pyrenaeisque sub antris
Ignea flumineae legere ceraunia nymphae.

Marbodius, Bishop of Rennes, in the eleventh century, sang of the thunder-stones in some Latin verses which have come down to us, and an old poet of the sixteenth century in his turn exclaimed, on seeing the strange bones around him

Le roc de Tarascon hebergea quelquefois Les geants qui couroyent les montagnes de Foix, Dont tant d’os successifs rendent le temoignage.

With these stones, in fact, were found numerous bones of great size, which had belonged to unknown creatures. Latin authors speak of similar bones found in Asia Minor, which they took to be those of giants of an extinct race. This belief was long maintained; in 1547 and again in 1667 fossil remains were found in the cave of San Ciro near Palermo; and Italian savants decided that they had belonged to men eighteen feet high. Guicciadunus speaks of the bones of huge elephants carefully preserved in the Hotel de Ville at Antwerp as the bones of a giant named Donon, who lived 1300 years before the Christian era.

In days nearer our own the roost cultivated people accepted the remains of a gigantic batrachian[4] as those of a man who had witnessed the flood, and it was the same with a tortoise found in Italy scarcely thirty years ago. Dr. Carl, in a work published at Frankfort[5] in 1709, took up another theory, and, such was the general ignorance at the time, he used long arguments to prove that the fossil bones were the result neither of a freak of nature, nor of the action of a plastic force, and it was not until near the end of his life that the illustrious Camper could bring himself to admit the extinction of certain species, so totally against Divine revelation did such a phenomenon appear to him to be.

Prejudices were not, however, always so obstinate. For more than three centuries stones worked by the hand of man have been preserved in the Museum of the Vatican, and as long ago as the time of Clement VIII. his doctor, Mercati, declared these stones to have been the weapons of antediluvians who had been still ignorant of the use of metals.

During the early portion of the eighteenth century a pointed black flint, evidently the head of a spear, was found in London with the tooth of an elephant. It was described in the newspapers of the day, and placed in the British Museum.

In 1723 Antoine de Jussieu said, at a meeting of the ACADEMIE DES SCIENCES, that these worked stones had been made where they were found, or brought from distant countries. He supported his arguments by an excellent example of the way in which savage races still polish stones, by rubbing them continuously together.

A few years later the members of the ACADEMIE DES INSCRIPTIONS in their turn, took up the question, and Mahudel, one of its members, in presenting several stones, showed that they bad evidently been cut by the hand of man. “An examination of them,” he said, “affords a proof of the efforts of our earliest ancestors to provide for their wants, and to obtain the necessaries of life.” He added that after the re-peopling of the earth after the deluge, men were ignorant of the use of metals. Mahudel’s essay is illustrated by drawings, some of which we reproduce (Fig. 1), showing wedges, hammers, hatchets, and flint arrow-beads taken, he tells us, from various private collections.[6]

Bishop Lyttelton, writing in 1736, speaks of such weapons as having been made at a remote date by savages ignorant of the use of metals,[7] and Sir W. Dugdale, an eminent antiquary of the seventeenth century, attributed to the ancient Britons some flint hatchets found in Warwickshire, and thinks they were made when these weapons alone were used.[8]


Stone weapons described by Mahudel in 1734.

A communication made by Frere to the Royal Society of London deserves mention here with a few supplementary remarks.[9]

This distinguished man of science found at Hoxne, in Suffolk, about twelve feet below the surface of the soil, worked flints, which had evidently been the natural weapons of a people who had no knowledge of metals. With these flints were found some strange bones with the gigantic jaw of an animal then unknown. Frere adds that the number of chips of flint was so great that the workmen, ignorant of their scientific value, used them in road-making. Every thing pointed to the conclusion that Hoxne was the place where this primitive people manufactured the weapons and implements they used, so that as early as the end of last century a member of the Royal Society formulated the propositions,[10] now fully accepted, that at a very remote epoch men used nothing but stone weapons and implements, and that side by side with these men lived huge animals unknown in historic times. These facts, strange as they appear to us, attracted no attention at the time. It would seem that special acumen is needed for every fresh discovery, and that until the time for that discovery comes, evidence remains unheeded and science is altogether blind to its significance.

But to resume our narrative. It is interesting to note the various phases through which the matter passed before the problem was solved. In 1819, M. Jouannet announced that he had found stone weapons near Perigord. In 1823, the Rev. Dr. Buckland published the “Reliquiae Diluvianae,” the value of which, though it is a work of undoubted merit, was greatly lessened by the preconceived ideas of its author. A few years later, Tournal announced his discoveries in the cave of Bize, near Narbonne, in which, mixed with human bones, he found the remains of various animals, some extinct, some still native to the district, together with worked flints and fragments of pottery. After this, Tournal maintained that man had been the contemporary of the animals the bones of which were mixed with the products of human industry.[11] The results of the celebrated researches of Dr. Schmerling in the caves near Liege were published in 1833. He states his conclusions frankly: “The shape of the flints,” he says, “is so regular, that it is impossible to confound them with those found in the Chalk or in Tertiary strata. Reflection compels us to admit that these flints were worked by the hand of man, and that they may have been used as arrows or as knives.”[12] Schmerling does not refer, though Lyell does, and that in terms of high admiration, to the courage required for the arduous work involved in the exploration of the caves referred to, or to the yet more serious obstacles the professor had to overcome in publishing conclusions opposed to the official science of the day.

In 1835, M. Joly, by his excavations in the Nabrigas cave, established the contemporaneity of man with the cave bear, and a little later M. Pomel announced his belief that plan had witnessed the last eruptions of the volcanoes of Auvergne.

In spite of these discoveries, and the eager discussions to which they led, the question of the antiquity of man and of his presence amongst the great Quaternary animals made but little progress, and it was reserved to a Frenchman, M. Boucher de Perthes, to compel the scientific world to accept the truth.

It was in 1826 that Boucher de Perthes first published his opinion; but it was not until 1816 and 1847 that he announced his discovery at Menchecourt, near Abbeville, and at Moulin-Quignon and Saint Acheul, in the alluvial deposits of the Somme, of flints shaped into the form of hatchets associated with the remains of extinct animals such as the mammoth, the cave lion, the RHINOCEROS INCISIVUS, the hippopotamus, and other animals whose presence in France is not alluded to either in history or tradition. The uniformity of shape, the marks of repeated chipping, and the sharp edges so noticeable in the greater number of these hatchets, cannot be sufficiently accounted for either by the action of water, or the rubbing against each other of the stones, still less ply the mechanical work of glaciers. We must therefore recognize in them the results of some deliberate action and of an intelligent will, such as is possessed by man, and by man alone. Professor Ramsay[13] tells us that, after twenty years’ experience in examining stones in their natural condition and others fashioned by the hand of man, he has no hesitation in pronouncing the flints and hatchets of Amiens and Abbeville as decidedly works of art as the knives of Sheffield. The deposits in which they were found showed no sins of having been disturbed; so that we may confidently conclude that the men who worked these flints lived where the banks of the Somme now are, when these deposits were in course of being laid down, and that he was the contemporary of the animals whose bones lay side by side with the products of his industry.

This conclusion, which now appears so simple, was not accepted without difficulty. Boucher de Perthes defended his discoveries in books, in pamphlets, and in letters addressed to learned societies. He had the courage of his convictions, and the perseverance which insures success. For twenty years he contended patiently against the indifference of some, and the contempt of others. Everywhere the proofs he brought forward were rejected, without his being allowed the honor of a discussion or even of a hearing. The earliest converts to De Perthes’ conclusions met with similar attacks and with similar indifference. There is nothing to surprise us in this; it is human nature not to take readily to anything new, or to entertain ideas opposed to old established traditions. The most distinguished men find it difficult to break with the prejudices of their education and the yet more firmly established prejudices of the systems they have themselves built up. The words of the great French fabulist will never cease to be true:

Man is ice to truth;
But fire to lies.

One of the masters of modern science, Cuvier, has said[14]: “Everything tends to prove that the human race did not exist in the countries where the fossil bones were found at the time of the convulsions which buried those bones; but I will not therefore conclude that man did not exist at all before that epoch; he may have inherited certain districts of small extent whence he re-peopled the earth after these terrible events.” Cuvier’s disciples went beyond the doctrines of their master. He made certain reservations; they admitted none, and one of the most illustrious, Elie de Beaumont, rejected with scorn the possibility of the co-existence of man and the mammoth.[15] Later, retracting an assertion of which perhaps he himself recognized the exaggeration, he contented himself with saying that the district where the flints and bones had been collected belonged to a recent period, and to the shifting deposits of the slopes contemporary with the peaty alluvium. He added — scientific passions are by no means the least intense, or the least deeply rooted — that the worked flints may have been of Roman origin, and that the deposits of Moulin-Quignon may have covered a Roman road! This might indeed have been the case in the DEPARTEMENT DU NORD, where a road laid down by the conquerors of Gaul has completely disappeared beneath deposits of peat, but it could not be true at Moulin-Quignon, where gravels form the culminating point of the ridge. Moreover, the laying down of the most ancient peats of the French valleys did not begin until the great watercourses had been replaced by the rivers of the present day; they never contain, relics of any species but such as are still extant; whereas it was with the remains of extinct mammals that the flints were found.

It was against powerful adversaries such as this that the modest savant of Abbeville had to maintain his opinion. “No one,” he says, “cared to verify the facts of the case, merely giving as a reason, that these facts were impossible.” Weight was added to his complaint by the refusal in England about the same blue to print a communication from the Society of Natural History of Torquay, which announced the discovery of flints worked by the hand of man, associated, as were those of the Somme, with the bones of extinct animals. The fact appeared altogether too incredible!

But the time when justice would be done was to come at last. Dr. Falconer visited first Amiens and then Abbeville, to examine the deposits and the flints and bones found in them. In January, 1859, and in 1860, other Englishmen of science followed his example; and excavations were made, under their direction, in the massive strata which rise, from the chalk forming their base, to a height of 108 feet above the level of the Somme. Their search was crowned with success, and they lost no blue in leaking known to the world the results they had obtained, and the convictions to which these results lead led.[16] In 1859 Prestwich announced to the Royal Society of London that the flints found in the bed of the Somme were undoubtedly the work of the hand of plan, that they had been found in strata that lead not been disturbed, and that the men who cut these flints bad lived at a period prior to the time when our earth assumed its present configuration. Sir Charles Lyell, in his opening address at a session of the British Association, did not hesitate to support the conclusions of Prestwich. It was now the turn of Frenchmen of science to arrive at Abbeville. MM. Gaudry and Pouchet themselves extracted hatchets from the Quaternary deposits of the Somme.[17] These facts were vouched for by the well-known authority, M. de Quatrefages, who had already constituted himself their advocate. All that was now needed was the test of a public discussion, and the meeting of the Anthropological Society of Paris supplied a suitable occasion. The question received long and searching scientific examination. All doubt was removed, and M. Isidore Geoffroy-Saint-Hilaire was the mouth-piece of an immense majority of his colleagues, when he declared that the objections to the great antiquity of the human race had all melted away. The conversion of men so illustrious was followed of course by that of the general public, and, more fortunate than many another, Boucher de Perthes bad the satisfaction before his death of seeing a new branch of knowledge founded on his discoveries, attain to a just and durable popularity in the scientific world.

It must not, however, be supposed that popular superstition yielded at once to the decisions of science, and it is curious to meet with the same ideas in the most different climates, and in districts widely separated from each other:[18] Everywhere worked flints are attributed to a supernatural origin; everywhere they are looked upon as amulets with the power of protecting their owner, his house or his flocks. Russian peasants believe them to be the arrows of thunder, and fathers transmit them to their children as precious heirlooms. The same belief is held in France, Ireland, and Scotland, in Scandinavia, and Hungary, as well as in Asia Minor, in Japan, China, and Burn lap; in Java, and amongst the people of the Bahama Islands, as amongst the negroes of the Soudan or those of the west coast of Africa,[19] who look upon these stones as bolts launched from Heaven by Sango, the god of thunder; amongst the ancient inhabitants of Nicaragua as well as the Malays, who, however, still make similar implements.

The name given to these flints recalls the origin attributed to them. The Romans call them CERAUNIA from keraun’oc, thunder, and in the catalogue of the possessions of a noble Veronese published in 1656, we find them mentioned under this name.[20] Every one knows Cymbeline’s funeral chant in Shakespeare’s play:

Fear no more the lightning flash
Nor the all dreaded thunder-stone.

In Germany we are shown DONNER-KEILE, in Alsace DORMER-AXT, in Holland DONNER-BEITELS, in Denmark TORDENSTEEN, in Norway TORDENKEILE, in Sweden THORSOGGAR, Thor having been the god of thunder amongst northern nations; while with the Celts[21] the MENGURUN, in Asia Minor the YLDERIM-TACHI, in Japan the RAI-FU-SEKI-NO-RUI, in Roussillon the PEDRUS DE LAMP, and in Andalusia the PIEDRAS DE RAYO have the same signification. The inhabitants of the Mindanao islands call these stones the teeth of the thunder animal, and the Japanese the teeth of the thunder.[22] In Cambodia, worked stones, celts, adzes, and gouges or knives, are known as thunder stones. A Chinese emperor, who lived in the eighth century of our era, received from a Buddhist priest some valuable presents which the donors said had been sent by the Lord of Heaven, amongst which were two flint hatchets called LOUI-KONG, or stones of the god of thunder. In Brazil we meet with the same idea in the name of CORSICO, or lightnings, given to worked flints; whilst in Italy, by all exception almost unique, they are called LINGUE SAN PAOLO.

May we not also attribute to the worship of stones some of the religious and funeral rites of antiquity? According to Porphyry, Pythagoras, on his arrival on the island of Crete, was purified with thunder-stones by the dactyl priests of Mount Ida. The Etruscans wore flint arrow-heads on their collars. They were sought after by the Magi, and the Indians gave them an honored place in their temples. According to Herodotus, the Arabs sealed their engagements by making an incision in their hands with a sharp stone; in Egypt the body of a corpse before being embalmed was opened with a flint knife; a similar implement was used by the Hebrews for the rite of circumcision; and it was also with cut stones that the priests of Cybele inflicted self-mutilation in memory of that of Atys. At Rome the stone hatchet was dedicated to Jupiter Latialis, and solemn treaties were ratified by the sacrifice of a pig, the throat of which was cut with a sharp flint. According to Virgil, this custom was handed down to the ancient Romans by the uncouth nation of the Equicoles. At the beginning of the Christian era., the heroes commemorated by Ossian still had in the centre of their shields a polished stone consecrated by the Druids, and a saga maintains that the CERAUNIA assured certain victory to their owners. On the other side of the Atlantic, the Aztecs used obsidian blades for the sacrifices, in which hundreds of human victims perished miserably; and similar blades are used by the Guanches of Teneriffe to open the bodies of their chiefs after death. At the present day, the Albanian Palikares use pointed flints to cut the flesh off the shoulder-blade of a sheep with a view to seeking in its fibres the secrets of the future, and when the god Gimawong visits his temple of Labode, on the western coast of Africa, his worshippers offer him a bull slain with a stone knife. Lumholtz,[23] in the second of his recent explorations in Queensland, tells us that the natives still use stone weapons, varying in form and in the handles used, and that the weapons of the Australians living near Darling River, as well as those of the Tasmanians, are without handles.

During the first centuries of the Christian era, strange rites were still performed in honor of dolmens and menhirs. The councils of the Church condemned them, and the emperors and kings supported by their authority the decrees of the ecclesiastics.[24] Childebert in 554, Carloman in 742, Charlemagne by an edict issued at Aix-la-Chapelle in 789,[25] forbid their subjects to practise these rites borrowed from heathenism. But popes and emperors are alike powerless in this direction, and one generation transmits its traditions and superstitions to another. In the seventeenth century a Protestant missionary called in the aid of the secular arm to destroy a superstition deeply rooted in the minds of his people; in England, sorcerers were proceeded against for having used flint arrow-heads in their pretended witchcraft; in Sweden, a polished hatchet yeas placed in the bed of women in the pangs of labor; in Burmah, thunder-stones reduced to powder were looked upon as an infallible cure for ophthalmia; and the Canaches have a collection of stones with a special superstition connected with each. But why seek examples so far away and in a past so remote? In our own day anti in our own land we find men who think themselves invulnerable and their cattle safe if they are fortunate enough to possess a polished flint.

Prehistoric times are generally divided into three epochs — the STONE AGE, the BRONZE AGE, and the IRON AGE. We owe this classification to the archaeologists of Northern Europe.[26] It is neither very exact nor very satisfactory, and fresh discoveries daily tend to unsettle it.[27] Alsberg maintained that iron was the first metal used, founding his contention on the scarcity of tin, the difficulty of obtaining alloys, and on the sixty-one iron foundries of Switzerland which may date from prehistoric times. The rarity of the discovery of iron objects, he urged, is accounted for by the ease with which such objects are destroyed by rust. There has never been a Bronze or an Iron age in America, so that it would seem very doubtful whether all races went through the same cycles of development. I myself prefer the division into the PALAEOLITHIC period, when men only used roughly chipped stones, and the NEOLITHIC period, when they carefully polished their stone weapons. “There may,” says Alexander Bertrand,[28] “be one immutable law for the succession of strata throughout the entire crust of the earth, but there is no corresponding law applicable to human agglomerations or to the succession of the strata of civilization. It would be a very grave error to adopt the theory according to which all human races have passed through the same phases of development and have gone through the same complete series of social conditions.”


Copper hatchets found in Hungary, and now in the National Museum of Budapest.

It may perhaps be convenient to introduce a fourth period when copper alone was used and our ancestors were still ignorant of the alloys necessary for the production of bronze. Hesiod speaks of a third generation of men as possessing copper only, and although it does not do to attach undue importance to isolated facts, recent discoveries in the Cevennes, in Spain, in Hungary, and elsewhere, appear to confirm the existence of an age of copper (Fig. 2). We may add that the mounds of North America contain none but copper implements and ornaments, witnesses of a time when that metal alone was known either on the shores of the Atlantic or of the Pacific[29] (Fig. 3).


Copper beads, from Connett’s Mound, Ohio (natural size).

It is impossible to fix the duration of the Stone age. It began with man, it lasted for countless centuries, and we find it still prevailing amongst certain races who set their faces against all progress. The scenes sculptured upon Egyptian monuments dating from the ancient Empire represent the employment of stone weapons, and their use was continued throughout the time of the Lagidae and even into that of the Roman domination. A few years ago, on the shores of the Nile, I saw some of the common people shave their heads with stone razors, and the Bedouins of Gournah using spears headed with pointed flints. The Ethiopians in the suite of Xerxes had none but stone weapons, and yet their civilization was several centuries older than that of the Persians. The excavations on the site of Alesia yielded many stone weapons, the glorious relics of the soldiers of Vercingetorix. At Mount Beuvray, on the site of Bibracte, flint hatchets and weapons have been discovered associated with Gallic coins. At Rome, M. de Rossi collected similar objects mixed with the AES RUDE. Flint hatchets are mentioned in the life of St. Eloy, written by St. Owen, and the Merovingian tombs have yielded hundreds of small cut flints, the last offerings to the dead. William of Poitiers tells us that the English used stone weapons at the battle of Hastings in 1066, and the Scots led by Wallace did the same as late as 1288. Not until many centuries after the beginning of the Christian era did the Sarmatians know the use of metals; and in the fourteenth century we find a race, probably of African origin, making their hatchets, knives, and arrows of stone, and tipping their javelins with horn. The Japanese, moreover, used stone weapons and implements until the ninth and even the tenth century A.D.

But there is no need to go back to the past for examples. The Mexicans of the present day use obsidian hatchets, as their fathers did before them; the Esquimaux use nephritis and jade weapons with Remington rifles. Nordenskiold tells us that the Tchoutchis know of no weapons but those made of stone; that they show their artistic feeling in engravings on bone, very similar to those found in the caves of the south of France. In 1854, the Mqhavi, an Indian tribe of the Rio Colorado (California), possessed no metal objects; and it is the same with the dwellers on the banks of the Shingle River (Brazil), the Oyacoulets of French Guiana, and many other wandering and savage races. Pere Pelitot tells us that the natives living on the banks of the Mackenzie River are still in the stone age; and Schumacker has given an interesting example of the manufacture of stone weapons by the Klamath Indians dwelling on the shores of the Pacific. It has been justly said: “The Stone age is not a fixed period in time, but one phase of the development of the human race, the duration of which varies according to the environment and the race.”[30]

In thus limiting our idea of the stone age, we may conclude that alike in Europe and in America,[31] there has been a period when metal was entirely unknown, when stones were the sole weapons, the sole tools of man, when the cave, for which he had to dispute possession with bears and other beasts of prey, was his sole and precarious refuge, and when clumsy heaps of stones served alike as temples for the worship of his gods and sepulchral monuments in honor of his chiefs.

Excavations in every department of France have yielded thousands of worked flints, and there are few more interesting studies than an examination of the mural map in the Saint Germain Museum on which are marked with scrupulous exactitude the dwelling-places of our most remote ancestors, and the megalithic monuments which are the indestructible memorials of our forefathers.

In the Crimea were picked up a number of small flints cut into the shape of a crescent exactly like those found in the Indies and in Tunis, and the Anthropological Society of Moscow has introduced us to a Stone age the memory of which is preserved in the tumuli of Russia. On the shores of Lake Lagoda have been found some implements of argillaceous schist, in Carelia and in Finland tools made of slate and schist, often adorned with clumsy figures of men or of animals. The rigor of the climate did not check the development of the human race; in the most remote times Lapland, Nordland, the most northerly districts of Scandinavia, and even the bitterly cold Iceland, were peopled. The Exhibition of Paris, 1878, contained some stone weapons found on the shores of the White Sea.

On several parts of the coast of Denmark we meet with mounds of an elliptical shape and about nine feet high, with a hollow in the centre, marking the site of a prehistoric dwelling. It was not until about 1850 that the true nature of these mounds was determined. Excavations in them have brought to light knives, hatchets, all manner of stone, horn, and bone implements, fragments of pottery, charred wood, with the bones of mammals and birds, the skeletons of fishes, the shells of oysters and cockles buried beneath the ashes of ancient hearths. To these accumulations the characteristic name of KITCHENMIDDINGS, or kitchen refuse, has been given.

Several caves have recently been examined in Poland, one of which, situated near Cracow, appears to belong to Palaeolithic times. Count Zawiska has already given an account of his interesting discoveries to the Prehistoric Congress at Stockholm. In the Wirzchow cave he identified seven different hearths, and took out of the accumulations of cinders various amulets, clumsy representations of fish cut in ivory, split bones, bears’, wolves’, and elks’ teeth pierced with a hole for threading, and more than four thousand stone objects of a similar type to those found in Russia, Scandinavia, and Germany. We meet with similar traces of successive habitation in a cave near Ojcow; the valuable contents of which included some beautiful flint tools, some awls, bone spatulae, and some gold ornaments, mixed, in the lower of the hearths, with the bones of extinct animals, and in the upper, with those of species still living.

The discoveries made in the Atter See and in the Salzburg lakes with those in the Moravian caves prove what had previously been very stoutly denied, the existence in those districts of ancient races at a very remote date.

The most ancient inhabitants of Hungary, however, cannot be traced further back than to Neolithic times. In that country have been found, with polished stone implements, thousands of objects made of stag-horn, or bone, almost all without exception finely finished off. The discovery of copper tools and ornaments of a peculiar form in the Danubian provinces, bears witness to a distinct civilization in those districts, and confirms what we have just said about a Copper age.

From the Lake Stations of Austria and Hungary, we pass naturally to those of Switzerland. We shall have to introduce to our readers whole villages built in the midst of the waters, and a people long completely forgotten. In many of these stations, none but stone implements have been found, and on the half-burnt piles on which the huts had been set up, it is still easy to make out the notches cut with flint hatchets.

We meet with similar pile dwellings, as these structures are called, in France, Italy, Germany, Ireland, and England, for from the earliest times man was constantly engaged in sanguinary contests with his fellowmen, and sought in the midst of the waters a refuge from the ever present dangers surrounding him.

The discoveries made in Belgium must be ranked amongst the most important in Europe, and we shall often have occasion to refer to them. Holland, on the other hand, having much of it been under the sea for so long, yields nothing to our researches but a few arrow-heads, hatchets, and knives made of quartz or diorite, and all of them of the coarsest workmanship.

No less fruitful in results to prehistoric science are the researches made in the south of Europe. The congress that met at Bologna, in 1871, showed us that in the Transalpine provinces man was witness of those physical phenomena which gave to Italy its present configuration; and the exhibition in connection with the congress enabled us to get a good idea of the primitive industry which has left relics behind it in every district of the peninsula.

Some hatchets of a similar type to the most ancient found in France were dug out of a gravel pit at San Isidro on the borders of the Mancanares, associated with the bones of a huge elephant that has long been extinct; and a cave has recently been discovered near Madrid from which were dug out nearly five hundred skeletons, the greater number thickly coated with stalagmite. Near the bodies lay several flint weapons, and some fragments of pottery.[32] Cartailhac tells us of similar discoveries in various parts of Portugal.[33] The caves of Santander have yielded worked bones and barbed harpoons; and those of Castile, various objects resembling those of the Reindeer period of France. It is, however, an interesting and important fact that the reindeer never crossed the Pyrenees. Although so far excavations have been anything but complete, we are already able to assert that during Palaeolithic times the ancient Iberia was occupied by races whose industrial development was similar to that of modern Europe.

It will be well to mention also the excavations made on the slopes of Mount Hymettus, and in the ever-famous plains of Marathon. Finlay has brought together in Greece a very interesting collection of stone weapons and implements which he picked up in great numbers at the base of the Acropolis of Athens. All these discoveries prove the existence of man at a time about which but yesterday nothing was known, and to which it is difficult as yet to give a name, this existence being proved by the most irrefragable of evidence, the work of his own hands.

Although the proofs of there having been a Stone age in Western Europe are absolutely convincing, it is difficult to feel equally sure with regard to the portions of the globe where so many districts are closed to the explorer. Everywhere, however, where excavations have been made, they have yielded the most remarkable results. M. de Ujfalvy has brought diorite and serpentine hatchets and wedges from the south of Siberia, and Count Ouvaroff tells us of a Quaternary deposit, the only one known at present at Irkutsk, in Eastern Siberia, containing cut flints. Near Tobolsk, Poliaskoff found some beautifully worked stones. Other archaeologists tell us of having found, in the east of the Ural Mountains and on the shores of the Joswa, hammers, hatchets, pestles, nuclei the shape of polygonal prisms, and round or long pieces of flint, all pierced with a central hole, which are supposed to have been spindle whorls. Lastly, Klementz tells us that the lofty valleys of the Yenesei and its tributaries were inhabited in the most remote times by races who developed a special civilization.

At the other extremity of the great Asiatic continent, a deposit of cinders found at the entrance of a cave near the Nahr el Kelb yielded some flint knives or scrapers, and more recently a prehistoric station has been made out at Hanoweh, a little village of Lebanon, east of Tyre. The flints are of primitive shapes, not unlike the most ancient forms found in France. They were discovered in a mass of DEBRIS of all kinds, forming a very hard conglomerate. Some teeth, which had belonged to animals of the bovidae, cervidae, and equidae groups, were got out with considerable difficulty, but the bones in the conglomerate were too touch broken up to be identified. Worked flints and arrow- or spear-heads were also found in considerable quantities in various parts of the table-land of Sinai, and at the openings of the caves in which the ancient inhabitants took refuge. It was with stone tools that these people worked the mines riddling the sides of the mountains, and it is still easy to make out traces of their operations.

We have already alluded to Japan; for a long time the barbarian Ainos, the earliest inhabitants of the country, were acquainted with nothing but stone. Flint arrows were presented to the Emperor Wu-Wang eleven hundred years before our era; the annals of one of the ancient dynasties speak of flint weapons, and an encyclopaedia published in the reign of the Emperor Kang-Hi speaks of rock hatchets, some black and some green, and all alike dating from the most remote antiquity.

Agates worked by the hand of man are found in great quantities in the bone beds of the Godavery. Some javelin heads in sandstone, basalt, and quartz, with scrapers and knives, most of them flat on one side and rounded on the other, appear to be even more ancient than the agate implements. Some of the celts resemble those of European type, others the flint weapons found in Egypt, and the clumsiest forms may be compared to those still in use amongst the natives of Australia. We may also mention a somewhat rare type lately discovered in the island of Melas, which have been characterized as saw-bladed knives. A letter from Rivett-Carnac announces the discovery of weapons and stone implements in Banda, a wild mountain district on the northwest of India. The scrapers, he says, strangely resemble those of the Esquimaux, and the arrow-heads those of the most ancient inhabitants of America.[34]

Many megalithic monuments are met with in places widely removed from each other in the vast Indian Empire. Captain Congreve, after describing the cairns with their rows of stones ranged in circles, the kistvaens or dolmens, the huge rocks placed erect as at Stonehenge, the barrows hollowed out of the cliffs, declares with undisguised astonishment that there is not a Druidical monument of which he had not seen the counterpart in the Neilgherry Mountains.[35]

General Faidherbe divides Africa into two distinct regions — one north of the Great Desert, where the inhabitants and the fauna and flora have all alike certain characteristics in common with those of Europe; and the other south of the Sahara, which was at one time separated from that in the north by a vast inland sea. In this southern region we are in Nigritia, or the Africa of the negroes, where the inhabitants in their physical characteristics and in their language, the mammals, and the plants, differ altogether from those of the north. In one point, however, these two regions resemble each other: in both we recognize a Stone age, which existed in Algeria and in Egypt, as well as on the banks of the Senegal and at the Cape of Good Hope. The valley of the Nile from Cairo to Assouan has yielded a series of objects in flint, porphyry, and hornblendic rock, retaining traces of human workmanship, and reminding us of similar implements of European type. These objects,[36] says M. Arcelin, are always found either beneath modern deposits or at the surface of the upper plateaux at the highest point to which the river rises; nothing has, however, been found in the alluvial deposits of the Nile, in spite of the most persevering search. At the Prehistoric Congress held at Stockholm, some worked flints were produced that had been found in the Libyan Desert. This once inhabited district, now without water or vegetation, can only be reached at the present day with the greatest difficulty. Is not this yet another proof of the great changes which have taken place since the advent of man? Lastly, the Boulak Museum contains a whole series of stone weapons and implements, showing in their workmanship a progressive development similar to that we find in Europe. Many archaeologists are of opinion that the worked flints found in the plains of Lower Egypt date from Neolithic times. Those alone are Paleolithic which have been found in a deposit hard enough for the hollowing out of tombs, which are certainly earlier than the eighteenth dynasty. We must add, however, that neither with the Palaeolithic nor with the Neolithic relics have been found any bones of extinct animals. Some savants go yet further: they think that these worked stones are but chips split off by the heat of the sun.[37] A phenomenon of this kind is mentioned by Desor and Escher de la Linth in the Sahara Desert; Fraas quotes a similar observation made by Livingstone in the heart of Africa, and one by Wetzstein, who, not far from Damascus; saw hard basalt rocks split under the influence of the early morning freshness. I have myself noticed similar phenomena in the Nile valley, but it must be added that the fragments of rock broken off by the combined influence of heat and humidity present very notable differences to those worked by the hand of man, and cannot really be mistaken for them.

In Algeria have been preserved some most interesting relics of prehistoric times. If I am not mistaken, Worsaae was the first to note the worked stones in the French possessions in Africa. They have been picked up in great numbers, especially near the watercourses at which the ancient inhabitants of the country slaked their thirst, as do their descendants at the present day. The exploration of the Sahara daily yields unexpected discoveries; and already fifteen different stations formerly inhabited by man have been made out. In those remote days a large river flowed near Wargla, which was then an important centre, and a number of tools picked up bear witness to the former presence of an active and industrious population. At one place the flint implements, arrow-heads, knives, and scrapers are all of a very primitive type, and were found sorted into piles. This was evidently a DEPOT, probably forming the reserve stock of the tribe. Wargla or perhaps Golea at one time appears to have been the extreme limit of the Stone age in Algeria, but quite recently traces of primitive man have been discovered amongst the Tuaregs. These relics are hatchets made of black rock, and arrow-heads not unlike those which the Arabs attribute to the Djinn; but as we approach the south we find the flints picked up more clumsily and unskilfully cut — a proof that they were the work of a more barbarous people with less practical skill. It is the megalithic monuments of Algeria, of which we shall speak more in detail presently, that are the most worthy of attention. As in India, we meet with them in thousands, and in certain parts of the continent they extend for considerable distances. They consist of long, square, circular, or oval enclosures — dolmens similar to those of Western Europe, — and almost always surrounded by circles of upright stones. The silence of historians respecting them need not make us doubt their extreme antiquity, for did it not take a very long time to induce the scientific men of our day to turn their attention to Algeria at all?

The exploration of Tunisia has enabled us to study the Stone age in that district, and a few years ago it was announced that nearly three thousand objects of different types had been found in thirteen different localities.[38] My son found near Gabes an immense number of small worked flints not unlike a human nail, the origin and use of which no one has been able to determine. The association of weapons and implements roughly finished off, with chips and stones still in the natural state, bears witness to the existence at one time of workshops of some importance. The recent discoveries of Collignon correspond with those in Algeria, and complete our knowledge of the basin of the Mediterranean.

In the Cave of Hercules, in Morocco, which Pomponius Mela spoke of as of great antiquity in his day, have been found a great many worked flints, such as knives and arrow-heads. We shall refer later to the important monument of Mzora and the menhirs surrounding it, the builders of which certainly belonged to a race that lived much nearer our own day than did the inhabitants of the Cave of Hercules.

The south of Africa is not so well known as the north, and the difficulty of making explorations is a great obstacle to progress. For some centuries, however, polished stone hatchets from the extreme south of the continent have been preserved in the museums of Leyden and Copenhagen, under the name of THUNDERSTONES, or STONES OF GOD. A great many are found in British South Africa, especially at Graham’s Town and Table Bay.[39] Gooch, after describing the physical configuration of the Cape, says that stone implements are found in all the terraces at whatever level of the Quaternary deposits. With these stone objects were found a good many fragments of coarse hand-made pottery, that had been merely baked in the sun, and was strengthened with good-sized pieces of quartz. Similar peculiarities are noticed in ancient European pottery. We shall have to refer again to these singular analogies, one of the chief aims of this book being to bring them into notice.

In the torrid regions between the Vaal and the Zambezi rivers, we find traces of a race of a civilization different from that of the savages conquered by the English. At Natal the gradual progress of these unknown people can be traced step by step. To the earliest period of all belong nothing but roughly hewn flints, and no traces of pottery have been found; then follow flint arrow-heads of more distinct form, and here and there fragments of sun-dried pottery. Of more recent date still are polished stone weapons and more finely moulded pottery; whilst to the latest date of all belong weapons of considerable variety of form, better adapted to the needs of man, and with these weapons were found huge stone mortars which had been used for crushing grain, and bear witness to the use of vegetable diet.

We also meet with important ruins in the Transvaal. Some walls are still standing which are thirty feet high and ten thick, forming imperishable memorials of the past. They are built of huge blocks of granite piled up without cement. We know nothing of those who erected them; their name and history are alike effaced from the memory of man, and we know nothing either of their ancestors or of their descendants.

In the Antipodes certain curious discoveries point to the existence of man in those remote and mysterious times, to which, for want of a better, we give in Europe the name of the Age of the Mammoth and the Reindeer; and everything points to the conclusion that man appeared in the different divisions of the earth about the same time. Probably the first appearance of our race in Australia was prior to the last convulsions of nature which gave to that continent its present configuration. “Scientific studies,” says M. Blanchard,[40] “lead us to believe that at one period a vast continent rose from the Pacific Ocean, which continent was broken up, and to a great extent submerged, in convulsions of nature. New Zealand and the neighboring islands are relics of this great land.”

In the Corrio Mountains in New Zealand, at a height of nearly 4,921 feet above the sea-level, have been found flints shaped by the hand of man, associated with a number of bones of the Dinornis, the largest known bird. Other facts bear witness to an extinct civilization, which we believe to have been extremely ancient, but to which, in the present state of our knowledge, it is impossible to assign a date. In the island of Tonga-Taboo, one of the Friendly group, is a remarkable megalith, the base of which rests on uprights thirty feet high, and supports a colossal stone bowl which is no less than thirteen feet in diameter by one in height. In the same island is a trilithon consisting of a transverse bar resting on two pillars provided with mortises for its reception. The pillars weigh sixty-five tons, and a local tradition affirms that the coralline conglomerate out of which they were hewn was brought from Wallis Island, more than a thousand miles off. It is difficult to explain[41] how the makers of this trilithon managed to transport, to work, and to place such masses in position. In a neighboring island a circle of uplifted stones, covering an area of several hundred yards, reminds us of the cromlechs of Brittany. The so-called Burial-Mound of Oberea at Otaheite, if it really was constructed with stone tools, is yet more curious. Imagine a pyramid of which the base is a long square, two hundred and sixty feet long by eighty-seven wide. It is forty-three feet high. The top is reached by a flight of steps cut in the coralline rock, all these steps being of the same size and perfectly squared and polished.[42]


Stone statues on Easter Island.

On a rock at the entrance to the port of Sydney a kangaroo is sculptured. In Easter Island (Rapa-Nui) La Perouse discovered a number of coarsely executed bust statues (Fig. 4). There are altogether some four hundred of them, forming groups in different parts of the island. The excavations conducted by Pinart in 1887 have proved these figures to be sepulchral monuments. He managed to make a considerable collection of crania and human bones. Round about the crater of the Rana-Raraku volcano, forty of these figures have been counted, all of a similar type, all cut in one piece of solid trachyte rock. In another place are eighty busts with longer noses and thicker lips, forming a group by themselves. The largest of them is some thirty-nine feet high. On the sides of the volcano, scattered about amongst the statues, have been picked up a considerable number of knives, scrapers, and pointed pieces of obsidian, which were probably tools thrown away by the sculptors of the figures.

These monuments and sculptures are certainly the work of a race very different from the present natives, who are altogether incapable of producing anything of the kind, and who retain absolutely no traditions respecting their predecessors. This complete oblivion, which may appear rather strange, is by no means rare amongst savage races, and Sir John Lubbock cites a great many very curious examples. “Oral traditions,” says Broca, “are changed and distorted by each succeeding generation; and are at last effaced to give place to others as transitory, and thus the most important events are, sooner or later, relegated to oblivion.”[43]

We have dwelt at considerable length in another volume[44] on the earliest inhabitants of America. Much still remains unknown in spite of the considerable and important work done of late years. The very name of the New World seems to be altogether out of place, America being as old, if not older, than any continent of the Eastern Hemisphere. Lund has brought forward weighty reasons for his theory that the central plateau of Brazil was already a country when the rest of the continent was still submerged or at least repre. sented merely by a few small islets. This theory, however, even if it could be absolutely proved, would not help us to fix the date of the earliest presence of man in America, still less to say by what route he arrived there.


Fort Hill, Ohio.

Certain facts, amongst which I would, in the first place, quote the discoveries of Dr. Abbott in the alluvial deposits of the Delaware and those recently announced in Nevada,[45] prove the contemporaneity of men like ourselves with the great edentate and pachydermatous mammals, which were the most characteristic creatures of the American fauna. The prehistoric inhabitants of North America were familiar with the mastodon, those of South America with the glyptodon, the shell of which on occasion served as a roof to the dwelling of primeval reran, which dwelling was often but a den hollowed out of the ground. As in Europe, the early inhabitants of America had to contend with powerful mammals and fierce carnivora; and in the West as in the East man made up in intelligence for his lack of brute force, and however formidable an animal might be, it was condemned to submit to, or disappear before, its master. In course of time Sedentary replaced Nomad races; shell heaps, some of marine, some of riverine and lacustrine species, but all alike mixed with a great variety of rubbish, were gradually piled up extending for many miles and covering many acres of ground, bearing witness to the existence of a population already considerable.


Group of sepulchral mounds.

In other parts of America prehistoric races have left behind them huge earthworks, lofty masses which were probably fortifications (Fig. 5), temples, and sepulchral monuments (Fig. 6). These earthworks extend throughout North America from the Alleghany Mountains to the Atlantic, from the great lakes of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. The name of the people who erected them is lost, and we must be content with that of Mound Builders, which commemorate their vast undertakings.


Ground plan of a pueblo of the Mac-Elmo Valley.

At a period probably nearer our own, Arizona and New Mexico were occupied by other maces, who built the so-called PUEBLOS, which were regular phalansteries, or communal dwellings, each member of the tribe having to be content with one wretched little cell (Fig. 7). At some distance from the men of the PUEBLOS lived the Cliff Dwellers, about whom we know next to nothing; a few stone weapons and countless fragments of pottery being all they have left behind them. These men established themselves in situations which are now inaccessible, hewing out a dwelling in the rocks on the mountains (Figs. 8 and 9) with wonderful perseverance, and closing up the approaches with adobes or sun-dried bricks, making incredible efforts to obtain for their families what must have been at the best but a precarious shelter.[46] These prehistoric races were succeeded in America by the Toltecs, Aztecs, Chibcas, and Peruvians, all known in history, though their origin is as much involved in obscurity as that of their predecessors. Temples, palaces, and magnificent monuments tell of the wealth which gold gives, a wealth, alas, which also enervated the vital forces, so that the Spanish and Portuguese met with but little serious resistance in their rapid conquests.


Cliff-house on the Rio Mancos.


House in a rock of the Montezuma Canon.

Such are the facts with which we have to deal. In the following chapters we shall consider more at length the problems they present, but already we are led to one important conclusion: in every part of the globe, in every latitude, in every climate, worked flints, whether but roughly chipped or elaborately polished, present analogies which must strike the most superficial observer. “We find them,” remarks an American author, “in the tumuli of Siberia, in the tombs of Egypt, in the soil of Greece, beneath the rude monuments of Scandinavia; but whether they come front Europe or Asia, from Africa or America, they are so much alike in form, in material, and in workmanship, that they might easily be taken for the work of the same men.”

At a meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1871, Sir John Lubbock showed worked flints from Chili and New Zealand with others found in England, Germany, Spain, Australia, the Guianas, and on the banks of the Amazon; which one and all belonged to the same type. More recently the Anthropological Society of Vienna compared the stone hatchets found near the Canadian lakes and in the deserts of Uruguay, with others from Catania in Italy, Angermunde in Brandenburg, and a tomb in Scandinavia, deciding that they were all exactly alike. Lastly, those who studied at the French Exhibition of 1878 the hatchets, hammers, and scrapers, the bone implements, pottery, and weapons brought from different places, the inhabitants of which had no communication with each other, could not fail to notice in their turn how impossible it was to distinguish between them. “So evident is this resemblance,” says Vogt,[47] “that we may easily confound together implements brought from such very different sources.”

The same observation applies to megalithic monuments. Everywhere we find these primitive structures assuming similar forms. It is difficult enough to believe that the wants of man alone, such as the craving for food, the need of clothing, and the necessity of defend. ing himself, have led in every case to the same ideas and the same amount of progress. Even if this be proved by the worked flints, we cannot accept a similar conclusion with regard to the megalithic monuments, which imply reflection and a thought of the future far beyond the material needs of daily life. Is it not more reasonable to regard a similitude so striking as a proof of the unity of our race?

The human bones discovered are yet more convincing testimony. Excavations have yielded some which may date from the very earliest period of the existence of man upon the earth. They have been found in caves and in the river drift, beneath the mounds of America and the megalithic monuments of Europe, in the ice-clad districts of Scandinavia and of Iceland, and in the burning deserts of Africa, but not one of them owes its existence to men of a type different from those of historic times or of our own day.[48] MM. Quatrefages and Hamy in their magnificent work “Crania Ethnica,” have been able to distinguish prehistoric races and indicate the area they occupied. These races are still represented, and their descendants of to-day retain the characteristics of their ancestors.

One final conclusion is no less interesting. These absolutely countless flints, these monuments of imposing size, these stones of immense weight often brought from afar, these marvellous mounds and tumuli, bear witness to the presence of a population which was already considerable at the time of which we are endeavoring to make out the traces. A long series of centuries must have been needed for a people to increase to such an extent as to have spread over entire continents. And time was not wanting. Whatever antiquity may be attributed to the human race, whatever the initial date to which its first appearance may be relegated, this antiquity is but slight, this date is but modern, if we compare it with the truly incalculable ages of which geology reveals the existence. At every turn we are arrested by the immensity of time, the immensity of space, and yet our knowledge is still confined to the mere outer rind of the earth, and science cannot as yet even guess at the secrets hidden beneath that rind.

In concluding these introductory remarks, we must add that very great difficulties await those who devote themselves to prehistoric studies — difficulties such as noise but those who have attempted to conquer them can realize. The rare traces of prehistoric man must be sought amongst the effects of the cataclysms that have devastated the earth, and the ruins piled up in the course of ages. We must show mall wrestling with the ever-recurrent difficulties of his hard life, and gradually developing in accordance with a law which appears to be immutable. Such is the aim of this work, and it is with gratitude that we assert at the beginning that the PIANTA UOMO, the human plant, as Alfieri calls our race, was endowed by the Creator from the first with a very vigorous vitality, to enable it to contend with the dangers besetting its steps in the early days of its existence, and with a truly marvellous spirit, to be able to make so humble a beginning the starting-point for a destiny so glorious.


Food, Cannibalism, Mammals Fish, Hunting, and Fishing.

The first care of man on his arrival upon the earth was necessarily to make sure of food. Wild berries, acorns, and ephemeral grasses only last for a time, whilst land mollusca and insects, forming but a miserable diet at the best, disappear during the winter. Meat must certainly have been the chief food of prehistoric man; the accumulations of bones of all sorts in the caves and other places inhabited by him leave no doubt on that point. The horse, which in Europe was hunted, killed, and eaten for many centuries before it was domesticated, was an important article of diet, and was supplemented by the aurochs, the stag, the chamois, the wild goat, the boar, the bare, and failing them, the wolf, the fox, and above all the reindeer, which multiplied rapidly in districts suitable to it. The elephant bones picked up on Mount Dol and elsewhere are nearly all those of young animals; and it is probable that they had been killed for food by man. In the Sureau Cave in Belgium,[49] in that of Aurignac in France, and Brixham in England, have been found complete skeletons of the URSUS SPELAEUS, which bad evidently been dragged in with the flesh still on them, for all the bones are in their natural position. In other caves, the thorax and the vertebrae of the skeletons were missing; the cave-man, having despatched his victim, bad evidently taken only the more succulent parts into his retreat. Beasts of prey merely gnaw the comparatively tender and spongy tops of the bones, leaving the hard, compact parts untouched. In the caves that were inhabited by man, however, we find the apophyses neglected, whilst the diaphyses are split open. We cannot, therefore, make any mistake on this point, or attribute to the beast of prey what is certainly the work of man.

Whilst he evidently preferred to hunt and eat the larger mammals, man when pressed by hunger did not despise the small rodents, which were, of course, more easily captured. Amongst piles of the bones of horses and stags have been found the remains of martens, hedgehogs, and mice; and from the Thayngen Cave have been taken the bones of more than five hundred bares. In Belgium the water-rat seems to have been considered a dainty, and in the Chaleux Cave alone were found more than twenty pounds’ weight of the bones of this creature, nearly all bearing traces of having been subjected to the action of fire.

The remains of birds are rarer, and Broca has remarked that the most ancient hunting implements which have come down to us; those from the Moustier Cave, for instance, were adapted rather to attack animals that would show fight than those that would simply fly or run away. The Gourdan Cave, however, has yielded the bones of the moor-fowl, the partridge, the wild duck, and even the domesticated cock And hen; the Frontal Cave, the thrush, the duck, the partridge, and the pigeon; and in other caves were found the bones of the goose, the swan, and the grouse. Milne-Edwards enumerates fifty-one species belonging to different orders found in the caves of France, and M. Riviere picked up the remains of thousands of birds in those of Baousse-Rousse on the frontier of Italy.[50]

The skulls of the mammals bad been opened, and the bones split. Brains and marrow probably figured at feasts as the greatest delicacies. Travellers, whose tales are a help to us in building up a picture of the remote past of our race, relate that the Laplanders, as soon as an animal is killed, break open its skull and devour the brain whilst it is still warm and bleeding. This was probably also the custom amongst prehistoric cave-men.

The flesh of animals was not, alas, the only meat eaten, and excavations in different parts of the globe have led to the discovery of traces of the practice of cannibalism which it is difficult not to accept.[51]

Dr. Spring noticed at Chauvaux a great many bones which were nearly all those of women and children, side by side with which lay others of ruminants belonging to species still extant. All these bones bad alike been subjected to great heat, and none but those which bad contained no marrow were left unbroken. This appears an incontrovertible proof of cannibalism, and Dr. Spring concludes that it was certainly practised by the earliest inhabitants of Belgium. We must add, however, that other excavations in the same cave at Chauvaux prove that it was used as a burial-place, some skeletons being ranged in regular order with weapons and stone implements placed beside them.[52] M. Dupont mentions having found in the caves of the Lesse, which date from the Reindeer period, human bones mixed with other remains of a meal. He notes a similar fact in another cave that he considers belongs to Neolithic times. “But,” he adds, “none of these bones bear any trace of having been struck with a flint or other tool with a view to their fracture. If any of them are broken it is transversely, and the cause of the fracture has been merely the weight of the earth above them; moreover, they show no trace of the action of fire.”[53] M. Dupont, therefore, still retains some doubt of the cannibalism of the cave-men of the valley of the Lesse, and attributes the presence of the bones of the dead amongst the rubbish of all kinds accumulated by the living, to their idleness and indifference. One example at the present day tends to confirm this opinion, for travellers tell us of the same revolting carelessness amongst the Esquimaux, who cannot certainly be classed amongst cannibals.

The Abbe Chierici, speaking at the Brussels Congress[54] of the excavations in one of the Reggio caves, remarked that human bones were mixed with those of animals, and that both showed traces of having been burnt. These bones date from the Neolithic period, and with them were picked up various objects of remarkable workmanship, including fragments of pottery, half a grindstone for crushing grain, and some admirably polished serpentine hatchets.

Other facts leave no doubt of the cannibalism of the earliest inhabitants of Italy. Moreover, hesitation on this point is impossible for other reasons, as Roman historians allude to the practice. Pliny,[55] in saying how little removed was a human sacrifice from a meal, adds, that it ought not to surprise us to meet with this monstrous custom amongst barbarian races, as it prevailed in ancient times in Italy and Sicily.

It is generally admitted that we can tell whether the fracture of long bones was intentional by the way in which they were broken. This fact, which is true alike with the bones of men and of animals, is the most important proof we have of the cannibalism of the men of the Stone age. To the examples already given, we can easily add others culled from France. In the Pyrenees and in the caves of Lourdes and Gourdan, for instance, human bones have been found mixed with the cinders and ashes of the hearth, and still bearing the marks of the implements with which they were broken.

At Bruniquel a human skull was found which had been opened in the same way as the heads of ruminants amongst which it was picked up, and on its external surface were deep notches, which appear to have been made with a flint hatchet. Similar traces of revolting feasts on human flesh are not at all rare; near Paris, at Villeneuve-Saint-Georges, and at Varenne-Saint-Maur, for instance.[56]

The excavations in the Montesquieu-Avantes Cave, about six miles from Saint-Girons, have brought to light a hearth covered over with a layer of stalagmite; numerous fragments of human bones, crania, femora, tibiae, humeri, and radii were found in this layer, and in that of the subjacent clay. In many cases the medullary orifice had been enlarged to make it easier to get out the marrow. It is impossible to attribute this to a rodent, for the bones gnawed by animals of that kind present a regular series of marks. The conclusion is inevitable: these bones, alike of men and of animals, were the remains of a meal.[57]

In Kent’s Hole, the celebrated cave in Devonshire, amongst many objects dating from the Stone age, were found some human bones bearing traces of having been gnawed by man. The eminent anthropologist, Owen, came to a similar conclusion — that cannibalism had been practised — after examining the jaw-bone of a child found in Scotland; and so did the Rev. F. Porter, after the excavations near Scarborough, where several skeletons were found under a tumulus, which had apparently been thrown where they were discovered by accident.

The Cesareda caves in Portugal have yielded some bones split lengthwise; and beneath the dolmen near the village of Hammer, in Denmark, human bones and those of stags have been found half gnawed, and showing only too clearly the origin of the marks upon them. Worsaae quotes similar facts at Borreby, Chantres refers to the same thing in the caves of the Caucasus, Captain Burton at Beitsahur, near Jerusalem, Wiener in the SAMBAQUIS of Brazil, even in deposits which he considers of recent origin.[58]

Brazil is not the only part of the American continent in which we find traces of the use of this revolting food. In the kitchen-middings of Florida Wyman found human bones, which had been intentionally broken, mixed with those of deer and beavers. The marrow had been taken from all of them and eaten by man. Yet more recent discoveries of a similar kind have been made in New England.[59]

We must, however, add that many of these facts are contested. Every people considers it a point of honor to repudiate the idea that its ancestors fed on human flesh, and yet everywhere history tells us of the practice of cannibalism. Herodotus speaks of it amongst the Androphagae and the Issedones, people of Scythian origin; Aristotle amongst the races living on the borders of the Pontus Euxinus; Diodorus Siculus amongst the Galatians; and Strabo, in his turn, says: “The Irish, more savage than the Bretons, are cannibals and polyphagous; they consider it an honor to eat their parents soon after life is extinct.”[60]

From the ancient tombs of Georgia have been taken human bones that have been boiled or charred, which were doubtless those of the victims eaten by the assistants in the FETES which have ever accompanied funeral rites.

In the fourth century of our era Jerome speaks of having met in Gaul with the Attacotes, descended from a savage Scotch tribe, who fed on human flesh, and that though they possessed great herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, with numbers of pigs, for whom their vast forests afforded excellent grazing grounds[61]; and though the Scandinavian kitchen-middings have not so far yielded any traces of the practice of cannibalism, Adam of Bremen, who preached Christianity at the court of King Sweyn Ulfson, represents the Danes of his day as barbarians clad in the skins of beasts, chasing the aurochs and the eland, unable to do more than imitate the cries of animals and devouring the flesh of their fellow-men.[62]

Nothing could exceed the barbarity of the Mexican sacrifices, the numbers of the victims, and the refinements of torture to which they were subjected. Prisoners, who had often been fattened for months previously, perished by thousands on the altars. The palpitating flesh was distributed amongst the assistants, and a horrible custom compelled the priests to clothe themselves in the still bleeding skins of the unfortunate wretches, and to wear them until they rotted to pieces.

Without going back to an antiquity so remote, in how many different regions of Africa and America, and in how many islands of Polynesia have not our sailors and missionaries reported the practice of cannibalism in our own day? It is difficult, therefore, not to believe, although the fact cannot perhaps be very distinctly proved, that the first inhabitants of Europe degraded as were the conditions of their existence, did eat human flesh and acquire a depraved taste for it; impelled thereto not only by the pangs of hunger, but also by a revolting superstition.

Animals, however, were very plentiful all around. Stags, elks, aurochs, horses, and the large pachyderms multiplied very rapidly in the wide solitudes, the pasture lands of which afforded them a constantly renewed supply of food, and the beasts of prey in their turn found an easy prey in the ruminants.[63] The ways of animals do not change, and the travellers who are exploring the interior of Africa tell us that now, as in the day we are trying to recall, hundreds of elephants and rhinoceroses congregate in a limited area, whilst innumerable herds of giraffes, zebras, and gazelles graze peacefully in the presence of man, whose destructive powers they have not yet learnt to dread.

Delegorgue speaks of one lake peopled by more than one hundred hippopotami, and of a region less than three miles in diameter containing six hundred elephants. Livingstone tells us that he saw troops of more than four thousand antelopes pass at a time, and that these animals showed absolutely no fear. We may give a yet more curious instance. Captain Gordon Cumming, crossing the plains stretching away on the north of the Cape, saw troops of gazelles and antelopes, compelled by a long drought to migrate in search of the water indispensable to them, and be describes with enthusiasm one of these migrations, telling us that the plain was literally covered with animals, the hurrying herds defiling before him in an endless stream. On the evening of the same day, a yet more numerous herd passed by in the same direction, the numbers of which were absolutely incalculable, but which, according to Cumming, must have exceeded several hundred thousand.

Such must have been animal life in Europe in Quaternary times. “Grand indeed,” cries Hugh Miller, “was the fauna of the British Isles in those days. Tigers, as large again as the biggest Asiatic species, lurked in the ancient thickets; elephants, of nearly twice the bulk of the largest individuals that now exist in Africa or Ceylon, roamed in herds; at least two species of rhinoceros forced their way through the primeval forest, and the lakes and rivers were tenanted by hippopotami as bulky and with as great tusks as those of Africa.”[64]

Material proofs of the presence of animals are not wanting. The accumulation of coprolites in the cave of Sentenheim (Alsace) bears witness to the number of bears which once haunted it. Nordmann took from a cave near Odessa 4,500 bones of ursidae, associated with no less numerous relics of the large cave-lion and cave-hyena.[65] The Kulock Cave, now some six hundred and fifty feet above the river, contained the remains of no less than 2,500 bears, and similar relics occur by thousands in the osseous breccia of Santenay and in the cave of Lherm, where they form a regular ossuary. It would be easy to quote similar facts from Belgian, German, and Hungarian caves. In almost every case the position of the skeletons seems to show that the bears sought a last refuge in the caves, and that death had surprised them during their winter sleep. Pachyderms were no less numerous than bears. The remains of mammoths are found from the north of Europe to Greece and Spain, and we meet with them in Algeria, ,gyp Asia from the Altai Mountains to the Arctic Ocean, and in America in Mexico and Kentucky. They seem to have entrenched themselves especially in Siberia, whence tusks are still exported as an article of commerce. In the extreme North, those parts of Wrangel’s Land which have been explored are strewn with the bones of mastodons, and in some parts of Sonora and Columbia these remains form almost inexhaustible deposits.

Animals of the cervine and equine groups were, if possible, yet more numerous. M. Piette estimates the number of reindeer whose bones he has picked up in the Gourdan Cave as over. 3,000, and the number of cervidae found at Hohlefels is positively incalculable.

In 1826, Marcel de Serres called attention to the great number of the bones of animals of the equine family found in the neighborhood of Lunel-Viel; at Solutre, the remains of horses cover a great portion of the slope which stretches from. the eastern side of the mountain to the bottom of the valley. Here are found those vast accumulations to which the inhabitants of the valley give the characteristic name of HORSE-WALLS. The number of horses, the bones of which have gone to form these walls, may be estimated without exaggeration at 40,000. The bones are mixed together in the greatest confusion, many of them show traces of having been burnt, and the flesh of the horse was evidently the favorite diet of the people of Solutre.[66]

At first man obtained by force, often aided by strategy, the animals he coveted. He bad not yet learnt to tame them and reduce them to servitude. Neither the reindeer nor the horse was as yet domesticated, and neither in the caves nor in the various deposits elsewhere has a complete skeleton been found, but only — a very significant fact — the bones on which had been the greater amount of flesh. The absence of any remains of the dog, so indispensable an animal in the keeping of flocks, is yet another proof that domestication was still unpractised.

It was with most miserable weapons, such as a few stones, scarcely even rough-hewn, and a few flint arrows, that the cave-man did not hesitate to attack the most formidable animals, and with such apparently inadequate means he succeeded in wounding and even killing them. The French Museum possesses mammoth and rhinoceros bones bearing fine scratches produced by the weapons which had been used to despatch the animals. The metacarpus of a large beast of prey, found at Eyzies, retains marks no less clear, and the skull of a bear front Nabrigas has in it a large wound which must have been made by a missile of some kind.

In Ireland a stone hammer was found wedged into the head of a CERVUS MEGACEROS; in Cambridgeshire, the skull of an URSUS SPELAEUS still containing the fragment of a celt which had given the animal his deathblow; at Richmond (Yorkshire) the bones of a large deer which had been sawn with a flint implement. The fine collection in the University of Lund, contains a vertebra of a urns pierced by an arrow, and the Copenhagen Museum, the jaw of a stag pierced by a fragment of flint. Steenstrup mentions two bones of a large stag into which stone chips had penetrated deeply, and in which the fracture had been gradually covered over by the bony tissue. A bone of some bovine animal with an arrow deeply imbedded in it has been taken from a bed of peat in the island of Moen, celebrated for its tumuli and the number of objects found in them. At Eyzies, a flint flake has been found firmly fixed in one of the lumbar vertebrae of a young reindeer, and M. de Baye mentions an arrow with a tranverse edge stuck in the bone of a badger.[67] The Abbe Ducrost found a flint arrow-head sticking in a vertebra of a horse.

Nor were those already mentioned the only animals on which man made war. We shall speak presently of the contests with each other, which began amongst men in the very earliest days of humanity. Human bones, perforated by arrows and broken by stone hatchets, bear ineffaceable traces to this day of homicidal struggles.

In many places fresh-water and marine fish were utilized as food by man. In the numerous caves of the Vezere, in those of Madeleine, Eyzies, and Bruniquel, excavations have brought to light the vertebrae and other bones of fishes, amongst which predominate chiefly those of the jack, the carp, the bream, the drub, the trout, and the tench — in a word, all the fish which still people our rivers and lakes. In the Lake Stations of Switzerland, fish of all kinds are no less abundant. At Gardeole, amongst the bones of mammals have been found the shells of mollusca, and remains of the turtle. and of goldfish. Fish was not, however, caught by all these primitive people, not even by all those who lived by the sea. In researches carefully carried on for years in the Maritime-Alps, M. Riviere found neither fishing-tackle nor fish-lines.

Whilst the cave-men of the south of France seem not to have utilized any but fresh-water fish, the Scandinavians, at a date probably less remote however, did not hesitate to brave the ocean. The kitchen-middings contain numerous remains of fish, amongst which those of the mackerel, the dab, and the herring are the most numerous. There, too, we meet with relics of the cod, which never approaches the coast, and must always be sought by the fisherman in the open sea.

Although we are in a position to assert that men were able to catch fish during every prehistoric period, if not in every locality, we can speak less positively of their mode of doing so. The earliest fishing-tackle was doubtless of the most primitive description: the bone of some animal, a fragment of hard wood, or even a fish-bone pointed at each end and pierced with a hole, served their purpose (Fig. 10). The Exhibition of Fishing-Tackle held at Berlin in 1880 contained several such implements, some of wood, others of bone. Others have also been found in the Madeleine Cave, and in different stations of the ancient inhabitants of Switzerland. It is interesting to note their resemblance to those still in use amongst the Esquimaux.


Fragments of arrows made of reindeer horn from the Martinet Cave (Lot-et-Garonne). — 2. Point of spear or harpoon in stag-horn (one third natural size). — 3. and 4. Bone weapons from Denmark. — 5. Harpoon of stag-horn from St. Aubin. — 6. Bone fish-hook; pointed at each end, from Wangen.

Prehistoric mail also turned to account the teeth of animals. We may quote in this connection the molars of a bear from which the enamel and the crown have been removed, and the thickness of which has been lessened by rubbing (Fig. 11). The small flints picked up in great numbers in the department of the Gironde also date from a remote antiquity; they are sixteen millimetres long by four wide, and though we cannot assert it as a fact, they are supposed to have been used for catching fish.


Bears’ teeth converted into fish-hooks.


Fish-hook made out of a boar’s tusk.

The Museum of Lund possesses two flint fish-books of a curved shape, one of them, which is four centimetres long by nearly three wide, was found by the seashore; the other and smaller one came front the shores of Lake Kranke.[68] Fish-hooks made of bone, which is more easily worked than flint, very soon replaced those in that material. They are numerous in the Lake Stations of Wangen, Mooseedorf, and St. Aubin. Some are cut out of the horns of oxen, others of stags’ antlers; while others again are made of boars’ tusks (Fig. 12), but all alike greatly resemble modern forms. The peat-bogs of Scania have yielded a bone fish-hook seven centimetres long, which is considered very ancient, and the Museum of Stettin possesses one, also very old, found in a gnarly deposit of Pomerania. We must not forget to mention, although it probably belongs to a much more recent period, a fish-hook in reindeer horn, now in the Christiania Museum. It was found in a tomb in the island of Kjelnoe, not far from the Russian frontier. Numerous skeletons, wrapped up in swathings of birch-bark, repose in this tomb. All around lay fragments of pottery, lance- and arrow-heads,[69] and combs of reindeer horn, the date of which it is impossible to fix exactly.

In America, stone fish-hooks are rare. The most ancient are of bone, and resemble those now in use. They have been picked up in Dakota, and in the cinderheaps of Madisonville (Ohio), in Indiana, in Arkansas, on the shores of Lake Erie, and in a kitchen-midding of Long Island. The greater number of them are polished, and some of them have near the top a hole by which they could be fastened to a line or cord. The fish-hooks of California are remarkable for their rounded forms and sharply curved points; the top was covered with a thick layer of asphalt to which the line was probably fastened. They are numerous in all the islands of the Pacific coast. In that of Santa Cruz Schumacker excavated a tomb which must have been that of a fish-hook manufacturer, for care had been taken to place near the deceased, not only the implements of his craft, but also a number of fish-hooks in various stages of advancement. The Californians used the shells of the MYTILUS CALIFORNICUS and HALIOTIS to make fish-hooks, and these were even more curved than those made of bone. The shape seems but little suited for fishing, but even in our own day the natives of the Samoa Islands use similar tackle with great success. The Indians of the northwest coast make fish-hooks of epicea wood, and those of Arizona utilize for the same purpose the long spikes of the cactus. It is very probable that European as well as American races knew how to use wood in the same manner. During the lapse of centuries, however, these fragile objects have been reduced to dust, and we are unable to make any further conjectures on the subject.

The use of bronze, the first metal to be generally employed, does not seem to have introduced any great modifications in fishing-tackle. Bronze fish-hooks are, however, thinner and lighter than those in other materials, and resemble those in use amongst fishermen at the present day. A certain number have been found in the Lake Stations of Switzerland, in lakes Peschiera and Bourget, as well as in Scotland, Ireland, and the island of Funen off the coast of Denmark. We must not omit to mention the important foundry of Larnaud, or the CACHE of Saint-Pierre-en-Chatre, both so rich in bronze objects. In America, where the copper mines of Lake Superior were worked at a remote antiquity, a few rare copper fish-hooks have been found, the greater number in the Ancon necropolis.[70] Gold fish. hooks are comparatively more numerous, and have been discovered in New Granada and the Cauca State.[71] One of these was found some forty-nine feet below the surface of the ground, and as there is no trace of disturbance, we cannot assign to it a recent origin. The gold fish-hooks are about four inches long, and look like big pins with the lower end bent back upon the upper.

Other fishing implements were also used by out- prehistoric ancestors. At Laugerie-Basse a rough drawing shows us a man striking with a harpoon a fish that is trying to escape. These harpoons were generally made of reindeer horn (Figs. 10 and 13). Some had but one barb, others several. One of the largest was found in the Madeleine Cave; it is eight inches long, and has three barbs on one side and five on the other. Most of these weapons have a notch in the handle, with the help of which they could be firmly fastened to a spear or lance. Different fashions prevailed in different localities, and sinews, leather thongs, roughly plaited cords, creepers, and resinous substances were often pressed into the service.


A, a large barbed arrow from one side of the Plantade shelter (Tarn-et-Garonne). B, lower part of a barbed harpoon from the Plantade deposit.

Many harpoons have been found in the caves of the south of France; others come from Belgium, from Keyserloch in Germany, Kent’s Hole in England, from Conches, Wauwyl, and Concise in Switzerland. Excavations in Victoria Cave, near Settle (Yorkshire), yielded amongst other interesting objects a bone harpoon cut to a point and with two barbs on either side. On the banks of the Uswiata, a little Polish river flowing into the Dnieper, two harpoons made out of the horns of some bovine animal were found, both in perfect preservation, and with several barbs.[72] Count Ouvaroff, in an excellent work published a little before his death, mentions a bone spear from the shores of the Oka, and Madsen and Montelius speak of Scandinavian harpoons. These weapons must have been especially useful in the North during the severe frosts of winter. The fisherman made a hole in the ice and struck the fish with his harpoon when the poor creatures came up to the surface to breathe.

From the most remote times the Americans knew how to make and use harpoons. As many as twenty. eight different kinds are known.[73] In some the barbs are bilateral, but most of them have them on one side only. Some, however, are made of stag or elk horn, and one harpoon from Maine is made of whalebone. A harpoon-point found near Detroit (Michigan) is nearly a foot long by one inch thick. Excavations in a rock shelter in Alaska yielded a harpoon which lay side by side with some of the most ancient Quaternary mammals of America. A good many copper harpoon-heads are also mentioned; one of the largest from Wisconsin is ten inches long. Others have been found in the island of Santa Barbara (California) and in Tierra del Fuego, where the natives of the present day still use similar ones. These harpoons with barbs are by no means simple weapons, the idea of which would naturally occur to the human mind, so that it is really extremely strange to find weapons so entirely similar in regions so different and so widely separated from one another. This constant similitude in the working of the genius of man is, as We shall never tire of repeating, one of the most striking facts revealed by prehistoric researches.

Herodotus tells that the Poeni (Carthaginians) plunged baskets into the water and drew them up full of fish. It is probable that the Lake Dwellers of Helvetia employed a similar process, but these ancient Swiss were already more advanced than that. They knew how to cultivate hemp, to spin it, and to make nets of it; the remains of some of these nets have often of late years been taken from the beds of the lakes.

It is almost impossible to class with any certainty the numerous Lake Stations of Switzerland. Some few certainly date from the Stone age, others from the transition period, between it and that of the early use of metals, or even from the Bronze age. As therefore they have been occupied at different times by different people, some of them having even been still in use in the time of the Romans, it is most difficult to fix with any precision the date to which belong the various objects mixed together beneath the deep waters of the lakes. We can only say that the nets differ very much in the size of the meshes, and the thickness of the rope used. Those found at Robenhausen are very like those in use in France at the present day. There has, in fact, been no advance in the art of making fishing-tackle since the remote days of the Lake Dwellers.

We are ignorant of the mode of manufacture of prehistoric nets. Did the Lake Dwellers, as some archaeologists are disposed to think, use a loom? Did they use shuttles and rollers such as are employed by the Esquimaux and Californians of the present day? It is impossible to say, but it is supposed that the bears’ teeth sharpened to a point, found in some stations, were used to tighten the meshes. These meshes were generally square, and each one was finished of with a knot of the same size at each intersection.

The lead weights so indispensable to fishermen of the present day for sinking the nets, were represented in prehistoric times by stones. These stones, which are drilled or notched, are found in all the Lake Stations. The fragments of pottery pierced with a hole found at Schussenried, a Lake Station of the Stone age on the Feder-See (Wurtemburg), were probably used for the same purpose. In some of the Swiss Lake Stations have also been found pieces of wood and cork, pierced with one or more holes, which had certainly served as floats.

Numerous stone implements of the most primitive forms, often of rock not native to the country, have been found in some of the islands of Greece, as well as in Corsica, Sardinia, Elba, and Sicily. These discoveries bear witness to the presence of man in these islands at a very remote antiquity, though no other traces of the existence of prehistoric human beings have as yet been found there. These men can only have reached the islands by way of the sea. Boats were the only means of communication between the Lake Dwellers of Switzerland and the mainland, and, as we have seen, the ancient Scandinavians hunted fish on the deep ocean. We must therefore admit that attempts at navigation were made in the very earliest days of humanity. Alan, impelled by necessity, or perhaps only by curiosity, was not afraid to launch his bark, first upon the rivers, and later upon the more formidable waves of the sea

Illi robur et aes triplex
Circa pectus erat, qui fragilem truci Commisit pelago ratem

The Latin poet is right, and we cannot but admire those who were the first to brave the terrors of the deep and the horrors of the tempest; for they were gifted alike with the intelligence which conceives, the courage that dares, and the strength that achieves.

Trees torn up by the roots by the force of the waters, and floating on the surface of those waters, naturally attracted the attention of primeval man, and the first boats were doubtless the trunks of such trees roughly squared and then hollowed out with the help of fire. Later experience led to the addition of a prow which would more easily cleave the water, and a stern which would serve as a pivot. These canoes, if such a name may be already given to them, were at first guided by branches stripped of their leaves, or with long poles. Then oars or paddles were introduced, which are better for beating the water, and in later barks traces have been made out of what is supposed to have been a mast, indicating the use of a sail. The art of navigation may now be said to have been inaugurated. In different parts of Europe have been found boats which certainly belong to very remote times, though their exact date cannot be fixed. Their construction greatly resembles that of the pirogues of the Polynesians, or the kayaks of the Greenlanders. One of the most ancient, now in the Berlin Provincial Museum, was taken from a peat-bog of Brandenburg.[75] It is 27 feet long and scarcely 16 inches wide.

Sir W. Wilde describes several boats from the marshes and peat-bogs of Ireland,[76] many of which have handles cut in the wood at the ends, by the help of which they could easily be dragged along overland. Sir W. Wilde adds that the Irish also used CURRAGHS, or CORACLES, which were mere wicker frames covered with the skins of oxen. These frail barks introduce us to a new mode of navigation; they are met with not only in tire different countries of Europe, but also in America, and were in use there in pre-Columbian times. Even more interesting examples have been found in Scotland.[77] Towards the close of last century a pirogue was taken from the ancient bed of the Clyde at Glasgow. Since then have been discovered, at depths varying from six to twelve feet, more than twenty similar boats. The deposits in which they lay had formerly been beneath the sea, but are now some twenty feet above the level of the ocean. Great changes have therefore taken place since these barks were launched upon the waves.[78] Their mode of construction is an excellent indication of the date to which they belong. Some which are hollowed out of the trunks of oaks by the help of fire, or with a blunt tool, are supposed by Lyell to date from the Stone age. Others have clean-cut notches, evidently made with metal implements. Some are made of planks joined together with wooden pegs, and one canoe found in County Galway even contained copper nails. Most of the boats from the bed of the Clyde seem to have foundered in still waters. Some, however, were discovered in a vertical position, others had the keel uppermost, and these latter had evidently sunk in a storm. In one of these boats was a diorite hatchet of the kind characteristic of Neolithic times; another, the wood of which was perfectly black, had become as hard as marble,