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antediluvian antiquities, that in the Somme valley, near Abbeville and Amiens, he had found human implements in deposits which must belong to the diluvial or quaternary period, because they contained the bones of mammoth and other extinct mammals ; and that he had therefore obtained a proof that man had existed contemporaneously with those extinct animals, which, as we have seen, was then still denied by most geologists. Boucher de Perthes' book contains a variety of curious statements; Vogt calls him a meritorious, but excitable and very fantastic writer, and as a proof of his lively fancy he quotes Perthes' assertion that he had found antediluvian stone instruments for cutting the hair and nails. We can understand, therefore, why geologists and antiquarians at first took no notice of his discovery, or treated it as doubtful or as a joke.? Perthes was obliged, as Vogt says, simply to go begging from door to door with his discovery, attracting no attention, till at last a few of his neighbours, then a few Englishmen (first H. Falconer and J. Prestwich, then Lyell), noticed it, and confirmed the discovery. They then drew attention to it in periodicals and at meetings of scientific men ; the subject attracted more and more attention in the following years, and at last Amiens, Abbeville, St. Acheul, Menchecourt, and other smaller places in the valley of the Somme, became regular places of pilgrimage, to which geologists and antiquarians resorted every year.” The discussion on Boucher's discoveries turned principally on the question whether they really proved that man had existed at the same time as the mammoth. Just as it was supposed formerly, in the case of bone caves in which human remains and animal bones had been found together, that the former had come into the cave later than the latter, so it was thought by many people that in the case of the deposits in the Somme valley the animal bones belonged to an earlier age than did the human remains; it was supposed that the beds of earth on which and in which the two classes of objects had been deposited at different times had been so tossed about by floods, and the strata so mixed, that the earlier and later deposits could not be distinguished in this terrain remanié, as the French call it.' It is now unimportant whether this theory is correct or the other, viz. that these deposits still remain in the original state, and that the bones of animals and stone implements are of the same age, because the belief now prevalent amongst geologists, that man existed in the diluvial or quaternary age, has been sufficiently attested by other facts.
1 Etudes relig. 4 s. t. 1 (1868), p. 40. Baltzer, Die Anfänge, p. 88. ? Vogt, l'orlesungen, ii 51
Very few human bones were found in the deposits of the Somme valley. At first none were found, and in his Antiquity of Man, Lyell wrote a long dissertation in which he tried to explain this strange fact.' Then a jawbone was found, which gave rise to many discussions, some of which were of a comic nature, and the suspicion that the savants had allowed themselves to be duped was never quite removed. Later on
I Cf. Vogt, Vorlesungen, ii. 300. Jahrb. für Deutsche Theologie, viii. (1863) p. 56. 2 See above, p. 280.
3 P. 190. 4 Cf. Chilianeum, iv. 325. Nadaillac, L'ancienneté, p. 76. Etudes, etc.
Boucher found a skull, and this discovery was attested by a sworn declaration for greater security.
Vogt describes the flint implements, silex taillés, found in the Somme valley, in these words.” “ They are remarkably rough in workmanship, and have evidently been flaked from the flint boulders which are found in the chalk of the district itself. Two boulders were knocked together till one split, and then from the fragments those were chosen which seemed most suitable for making the implements. Light blows were then given to the flint on both sides of the edge till it became more or less sharp. The so-called knives, or more accurately flakes, 'éclats,' are the least worked; these are thin sometimes rather long pieces, sharpened on both sides, running up to a more or less sharp point, and they therefore distantly resemble a knife blade. They were used for cutting meat and bark, for skinning animals, and other similar operations, as we learn from the worked bones, where the cuts made with these flakes can often be distinctly traced. Two other forms appear to be more worked, one of which rather resembles a lance-head and the other the point of a halberd. The lance-like form is the longer, they are found up to 8 inches in length, they are pointed at the end, at the broad part often much more massive and thick, so that the implement might have been held in the hand. The instruments in the form of an egg have generally been the most worked with little blows, and are sharpened all round; the blunt end was probably wedged into a piece of wood or horn, and there tied fast with bark or some other fibrous material.”
1 Vorlesungen, ii. 50.
Now are these peculiarly formed stones, which have been found in almost all countries since Boucher de Perthes drew attention to them, really human implements, knives, axes, and picks, or have they by chance been thus formed by nature to look like the work of human hands; are they, in fact, Lusus naturae ? Like many older writers, several modern savants have thought this probable. Andreas Wagner probably believed it to the day of his death; he still asserted it in one of his last lectures in the Academy at Munich, and in this lecture, among other things, he called attention to the fact that the workmen in the Somme valley, who might be considered to be as experienced on this point as the savants, and also less prejudiced, would not acknowledge the stones to be implements; and that the cuts in the bones and horns, said to have been made with these implements, might very well have been only rents and splits which had happened later. But Wagner certainly went too far. No doubt some of the objects which are supposed by many people to be of human fabrication, “implements" as they are now called, are naturally formed splinters of stone. Lipsius and Ebers, for instance, proved in 1870 and 1871, in the Zeitschrift für Ægyptische Sprache und Alterthumskunde, that the stone implements which French travellers said they had found in Egypt in 1869 were not manufactures ; : and probably the same holds
1 Probably Michele Mercati, writing in the second half of the sixteenth century (see his Metallotheca, printed in 1709), was the first to suggest that the so-called pietre di fulmine were in reality works of art, pietre lavorate. Cf. Pigorini, Op. cit. p. 100. Nadaillac, L'ancienneté, p. 2. Archio Für Anthr. i. 45.
2 Report of the Bavarian Academy of Science, 1861, ii. p. 29. 3 Cf. Corr.-blatt der D. Gesellsch. f für anthr. 1875, p. 20.
good of thousands of others which are preserved in collections of prehistoric antiquities.' Others are real works of art, but do not belong to the diluvial or quaternary period, but to the nineteenth century. The workmen at Amiens, when the search for flint hatchets became eager, set going a regular manufactory of them. It is not more wonderful that since prehistoric antiquities have come into fashion they should be fabricated, than that Roman antiquities should be fabricated in Italy and other places, as has been the case for a long time.
But even if many stone implements are not works of art at all, and others not ancient works of art, there is no doubt that in recent years many thousands of implements have been collected which were similarly fashioned and used by men in primæval times, just as they are now made and used by savage peoples. If people choose to call the age in which a race had no metal implements, and made use of implements of stone, and also of wood, bone, horn, and such like, the stone age,—the name of “premetallic age” which has been most recently suggested is more correct, 3—there is nothing to be said. But we must be careful to guard
i N. Whitley. (The flint implements from drift not authentic ; being a reply to the geological evidences of the Antiquity of Man, London 1865. Cf. Ausland, 1865, p. 683; 1869, p. 214.) He asserts that most of the stones in question are not works of art. His principal reasons for this are--1st, The “implements” are all fint; the real implements which were used in the stone age were made of serpentine, greenstone, etc. 2nd, They vary from a perfectly roughly-shaped flint to a completely almond-shaped implement; two thirds of the implements preserved in the Abbeville museum are evidently not manufactured. 3rd, They are found in thousands, that is, in quantities quite out of proportion to the very scanty population of those early ages.
? Cf. Vogt, Vorlesungen, ii. 45, 51.