Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/571

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
545
PREHISTORIC RECORDS.

indicates clearly that the moon-sun story came from India before the Romany could have obtained any Greek name. And, if the Romany call themselves Jengan, or Chenkan, or Zin-gan, in the East, it is extremely unlikely that they ever received such a name from the Gorgios in Europe.—Saturday Review.

 
Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Left - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Circle - 6px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 5px.svg Rule Segment - Flare Right - 12px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg Rule Segment - Span - 40px.svg

PREHISTORIC RECORDS.

THE caves, tombs, and gravel-drifts of the earth, which are of all objects the most uninteresting to the casual observer, have in our days become strangely eloquent. At the touch of science they have lent a voice to the dumb past. Raising the veil of antiquity, they have unrolled page after page of ancient history, written neither with pen nor pencil, but stamped on the rude implements of war or the chase, imprinted on the few threads of decaying tissue that inwrap the crumbling skeleton, engraved on the bracelet of bronze or silver that encircled the slender wrist of some prehistoric beauty, or chased on the brooch of gold that clasped the mantle of some renowned but forgotten chieftain.

So exact are the deductions to be drawn from these mute records of the past that they have been divided by Sir John Lubbock, in his "Prehistoric Times," into four well-defined ages—the drift age, the age of polished stone, the age of bronze, and the age of iron; each of these marking an advance in knowledge and civilization which amounted to a revolution in the then existing manners and customs of the world. The drift age or Paleolithic period is marked by deposits of rude stone implements; to it succeeds the Neolithic, or age of polished stone, in which the same stone implements were in use, but of a superior class, highly polished and well finished.

The wandering savage who lived by the chase and cut up his prey with the rude, unpolished flint knives of the Paleolithic age was coeval with many extinct animals which then ranged over the wide forests that in those early times covered our own country in common with many portions of the Continent. In the caves of Derbyshire and elsewhere, many of the rudely chipped knives and arrow-heads of these ancient hunters are found, the rudest occupying the lowest strata; showing that even in that remote age man had the same tendency to improve as now, and that the practice of even these rude germs of art led to a gradual perfecting of them. Some of the remains of the ancient Nimrods of that remote and, but for these stone records, unwritten age have been found in caves and sepulchral tumuli; and of all the living races of men they resemble the Esquimaux most closely. With them are found the remains of such extinct animals as the cave-