Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 43.djvu/335

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ARE THERE EVIDENCES OF MAN IN THE DRIFTS?

in very great numbers and collected in various museums in the United States, and many collections were sent abroad to the great museums of the world. Several different collectors engaged in this enterprise for some years, and acquired great reputation for their proof of the antiquity of man on this continent, and for their zeal in discovering the evidence; and to recompense them for this work they were made members of many scientific societies throughout the world, and decorated with ribbons, and some were knighted. Geologists, however, held the question more or less in abeyance, not feeling sure of the geological evidence for the age of the formations in which the supposed stone implements were found. Then other discoveries were made in Minnesota and elsewhere; and finally geologists, with some misgivings and many ifs and perchances, accepted the conclusion that Glacial man in America was a reality.

But now the problem of these formations had to be studied geologically in making the map of the United States, for they had to be represented thereon. They were soon found to be of different ages, but had been confused by reason of the overplacement which is so abundant everywhere. At the same time a new class of archæologic investigations began. The first new work of the character was undertaken in the neighborhood of Washington, on Piny Branch. It had been discovered that the gravels of this locality were of Cretaceous age, and if the flaked stones supposed to be found therein were really deposited in situ, then man in America was not only of Glacial age but of Cretaceous age, for the very same class of implements which the Indians made two centuries ago in the valley of the Potomac were also supposed to be found in the Cretaceous gravels as well as in the gravels of the Glacial epoch. Thereupon Mr. Holmes, of the Bureau of Ethnology in the Smithsonian Institution—not a member of the Geological Survey—undertook the investigation, and he commenced by trenching the hills, and worked patiently for months at the problem. He proved that all the supposed stone implements belonged, not in the foundation rocks of Cretaceous age, but in the overplacement. Man, then, was not of Cretaceous age. While these investigations were in progress the American Association and the International Geologic Congress met in Washington, and many of the scientific men visited the ground. Most of the assistants of the Geological Survey visited it, and other geologists, attracted by the problem, came to Washington for the purpose; so that the whole field was surveyed and the evidence weighed by very many of the geologists of the country and of the world, and they all agreed that the stone implements belonged to the overplacement, and might possibly have been deposited within the last three hundred years.