Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 52.djvu/118

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the traces of the cradle of the human race are, in my opinion, to be sought, and possibly future discoveries may place upon a more solid foundation the visionary structure that I have ventured to erect.

It may be thought that my hypothesis does not do justice to what Sir Thomas Browne has so happily termed "that great antiquity, America." I am, however, not here immediately concerned with the important neolithic remains of all kinds with which this great continent abounds. I am now confining myself to the question of palæolithic man and his origin, and in considering it I am not unmindful of the Trenton implements, though I must content myself by saying that the "turtle-back" form is essentially different from the majority of those on the wide dissemination of which I have been speculating, and, moreover, as many here present are aware, the circumstances of the finding of these American implements are still under careful discussion. Leaving them out of the question for the present, it may be thought worth while to carry our speculations rather further, and to consider the relations in time between the palæolithic and the neolithic periods. We have seen that the stage in human civilization denoted by the use of the ordinary forms of palæolithic implements must have extended over a vast period of time if we have to allow for the migration of the primeval hunters from their original home, wherever it may have been in Asia or Africa, to the west of Europe, including Britain. We have seen that during this migration the forms of the weapons and tools made from siliceous stones had become, as it were, stereotyped, and, further, that during the subsequent extended period implied by the erosion of the valleys the modifications in the form of the implements and the changes in the fauna associated with the men who used them were but slight. At the close of the period during which the valleys were being eroded comes that represented by the latest occupation of the caves by palæolithic man, when both in Britain and in the south of France the reindeer was abundant; but among the stone weapons and implements of that long troglodytic phase of man's history not a single example with the edge sharpened by grinding has as yet been found. All that can safely be said is that the larger implements, as well as the larger mammals, had become scarcer, that greater power in chipping flint had been attained, that the arts of the engraver and the sculptor had considerably developed, and that the use of the bow had probably been discovered. Directly we encounter the relics of the neolithic period, often, in the case of the caves lately mentioned, separated from the earlier remains by a thick layer of underlying stalagmite, we find flint hatchets polished at the edge and on the surface, cutting at the broad and not at the