Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/52

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42
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Greenland, and in the fifteenth century Greenland is not mentioned. In this manner Old Greenland passed from sight, and it was not until the seventeenth century that the country was reoccupied by Europeans. Some have supposed that the ancient colony was cut off by the plague, but the little remnant may have been exterminated by the* Skrællings, as the modern natives averred.

The foregoing brief statement of historical facts puts the modern Esquimaux, or Innuit, in connection with a people who dwelt along the temperate regions of the Atlantic coast in the eleventh century. It also indicates that these rude people were driven by a superior race into the far north, where they succeeded the Europeans. These people were also of very great antiquity. What, then, was their origin? Who else could they have been than the descendants of a glacial man?

It is true that none of the bones exhumed on the Atlantic coast have been identified as those of the Esquimaux, though if they existed as late as the eleventh century such remains should be found. Hitherto, however, they have not been looked for, nearly everything exhumed being attributed to the red-man as a matter of course. Nevertheless, there have been those who have not felt satisfied with such a disposition of the whole subject. In many localities of Maine, for instance, the opinion has prevailed of late that many of the shell-heaps were not of Indian origin, and that they should be referred to a more ancient people. Certain indications attracted the attention of the writer long before any glacial man was spoken of. On this point Dr. Abbott makes a suggestion, and argues that the stone implements found indicate two races, one much more advanced than the other. He writes: "When we come to examine a full series of ordinary surface-found arrow-points, as we gather them by the score from our fields, and occasionally find associated with them a rude implement of the type of those found in the gravel-beds, we are naturally led to draw some comparisons between the two widely different forms. The arrowheads and others, which from their size may be considered as spear-or lance-heads, are of two quite different types, being those made of jasper, chert, quartz, and rarely of argillite, of a dozen different patterns, and those of argillite of a nearly uniform pattern, and of larger sizes as a rule; all greatly weather-worn, and varying notably from the arrow-points of other minerals in being of much coarser workmanship, and in this respect seeming to be a natural outgrowth of the skill once exercised only in producing the primitive forms of the glacial drift."

But what have the modern Greenlanders to say respecting their origin? They told Crantz that all the people of the earth originated from one man, who came from the earth, his wife springing from his thumb. This may be their version of what their ancestors learned from the Icelandic colonists who were Christians. Such stories throw no light upon their history, though the Esquimaux gave their family