Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/582

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home. The engineers have, however, made a rapid reconnoissance of nearly the whole territory east of the Jordan.

"I have frequently called your attention to the remarkable remains that are found in the country east of the Jordan—the Moab Bashan Gilead of the Bible—of which, until the recent explorations, nothing comparatively was known. Though this part of Syria may be reached in a few days from the northern part of the Dead Sea, or from the sea of Galilee, it was not visited by travelers, in consequence of the rugged nature of the country and the hostile tribes of Bedouins that inhabit it. It has now been ascertained to abound in architectural and archaeological remains of the greatest interest. It is literally strewed with the remains of towns and of structures, many of them remarkable for their massiveness, which belong to a past civilization, of which we know nothing. You will remember that some years ago, from the indications which then existed, I expressed the opinion that this must have been, at an early period, one of the chief routes between Asia and Africa, and the ruins which have since been found in the explorations carried on by the American society, and their extent, confirm that impression.

"Dr. William Thompson, the veteran American missionary and explorer in Syria, in a recent letter says that, in making a tour through this region, nothing ever impressed him so much as the richness of this field in the remains of ancient civilization. He says that there are not only acres on acres of splendid ruins, but fortifications, temples, baths, and theatres, the best preserved in existence, and which have evidently stood undisturbed for ages. While on the west side of the Jordan, he remarks, cities have been robbed to build other cities—just as the ruins of Tyre are now contributing ship-loads of stone toward building the present city of Beyrout—the east side of the Jordan has remained unmolested for 1,500 years; and that there exists there an unequaled combination of art and Nature in an untouched condition of splendor and ruin."

The work of exploration and investigation in respect to the unknown parts of Africa has been vigorously followed up during the year. The Niger, Volta, Ogowe, and Congo Rivers have been explored more or less fully. The source of Guango River has been reached by penetrating the interior across the Talamunga Mountains, which are from 4,000 to 5,000 feet high.

"When our fellow, M. du Chaillu, several years ago laid before us the account of the pygmies he had found in Western Africa, near the equator, it was received in certain parts of Europe with incredulity; but these pygmies of the western coast have since been seen by others, and the existence of races of pygmies is now established by the facts gathered by Schweinfurth, Miani, and others in Africa, and by recent researches in India. Mr. Marcette says that these pygmies were well known to the ancient Egyptians, and that there is a bass-