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the great vicissitudes of the life and physical condition of the globe by which they were marked, geologists have always found the pleasure and felt the preference naturally due to the rich fields of their own discoveries. No treatment seemed too bold for problems which embraced the beginning and progress, the extinction and renewal of life, the fusion and solidification of mountains, the uplifting of continents, the alternations of polar and tropical climates.
Much more limited and far less persevering was the attention given to the later pages of the chronicle of natural events, in which no great latitude of speculation seemed possible; which, indeed, were at one time contemptuously treated as 'superficial deposits.' What could be expected of grand or striking among heaps of old sea gravel, or modern river sediments ; the last feeble efforts of those once powerful agencies, whose Titanic struggle had continued 'donee quiescentibus causis, atque equilibratis,'* the settled order of things emerged which is suited to the abode of mankind? By the hands of Cuvier, in the gypsum quarries of Paris, the spell of this indolent prejudice was broken. There, in these neglected deposits, was found an array of extinct vertebrata, whose nearest analogues were to be sought on the other side of the earth, in a climate quite different from that of modern Europe. The noble volumes which enshrine the anatomical descriptions of these and a multitude of other 'Osscmens Fossiles,' contain in the admirable preliminary discourse a critical examination of some arguments touching the antiquity of man, and a decided opinion that the period which has elapsed since the last great and sudden 'revolution,' whereby the old continents were overwhelmed and the present lands laid dry, cannot be placed at much above 5000 or 6000 years ago.f The revolution here referred to was afterwards described by Dr. Buckland as a great flood, which first covered and then retired from the northern zones of the earth.J He regarded this flood as the 'universal deluge,' and declares that mankind had not established themselves in those countries which were occupied by the races of extinct quadrupeds, whose remains lie in caverns and in other'antediluvian ' deposits. These dicta of the two most eminent expounders of the fossil mammalogy were not uttered without the knowledge of several examples of the occurrence in the same caverns of the bones of men and extinct mammalia; nor without some careful consideration of these examples, especially in Germany and England. The result of the consideration, how
* Leibnitz, ' Protogtoa.'
t The first edition of the ' Ossemens Fossiles' was in 1812.
% 'Reliq. Diluv.,' 1821.
2 B 2 ever, ever, was a decided opinion that though found in the same locality, they did not belong to coexistent races, the remains of men being of later date. How completely the opinion was established that the remains of men or of human art, wherever discovered, were nowhere of the same date as the remains of extinct mammalia, may be seen in Meyer's ' Palaeologica' (1832), which notices many occurrences of human reliquiae; and Lyell's 'Elements of Geology ' (edition 1855), in which the 'recent' or 'human ' period is marked off in a positive manner, and placed expressly above and distinct from ancient raised beaches, loose alluvial gravel, brickearth, &c, with shells of living species, and bones of quadrupeds both extinct and living, but no 'human remains.' *
What can have occurred to disturb a conclusion so uniform, deliberate, and long-sustained? What new discoveries of greater clearness and completeness have thrown into the shade the many examples already explained and recorded? What new teachers have arisen to give better and more authoritative interpretations of facts so often examined? And lastly, what arguments can have convinced Sir C. Lyell of the necessity of revising the judgment which he had pronounced after personal examination of the evidence, and of admitting the coexistence of man with the mammoth in periods far older than those usually assigned to our race?
The answer is very simple. One cavern carefully examined within the last five years has furnished trustworthy data by which the less exact records of earlier explorations may be in some cases better understood, in others confirmed or corrected. If Kent's Hole had been completely described, Brixham Cave would have been less celebrated.
Kent's Hole, Torquay, was explored by the Rev. J. McEnery with so much success that as early as the year 1826 he presented collections of the bones to different institutions, and compiled MS. notices, with comments by Cuvier and Buckland, to accompany his donations.
Mr. McEnery's memoirs were perhaps never completed, and when at length published after his death,! appeared to be neither fully digested, nor illustrated by sufficient maps, sections, and measures. On this account it is somewhat difficult to gather an exact general view of the facts which he observed. It appears, however, that on the hard limestone floor of Kent's Hole lies an
* Lyell, ' Elem. of Geol.,' p. 105.
t 'Cavern Researches by the late Rev. J. McEnery, F.G.S.' Edited by E. Vivian, Esq.: 1859. Some detached portions were, however, made public in 1851 and 1856. [Brit. Assoc. Reports.]
unequal unequal deposit of loam or clay, containing broken and gnawed bones and teeth of extinct and living species of mammalia, and in the upper part of this clay artificially-chipped flints, mostly of a rude description. On this rests a layer of stalagmite, occasionally containing a streak of charcoal and burnt bones of living species of quadrupeds. Above the stalagmite, a stone-axe of a more finished shape, bone-pins, metallic-plates, and other remains of Celtic, British, Roman, and still later dates occur. Confining our attention to the lower deposit with bones and flints, it seems to have been ascertained by Mr. McEnery that the flint instruments which he repeatedly found in it had been really covered by the deposit of stalagmite. He regarded them, however, as of later date than the bones below them, and as belonging to a race of men who entered the cavern and disturbed the sandy and in places gravelly mud, which had been laid upon and mixed with the bones by a rush of upland water at some earlier epoch. The bones had been displaced by this current, but they had not been introduced by it. They were derived from animals which had lived and died in the cave, or had been dragged into it for food by the hyaenas which, for some time at least, occupied it as a den. According to this view, some unknown interval of time separated the hyaena tenants of Kent's Hole from the earliest of the races of men who found refuge in it. And this conclusion was generally acquiesced in, the more readily as it had been already applied to a great number of other caves, in various parts of Europe, in which the phenomena were thought to be, in the main, similar. Doubts of different kinds, however, had been felt regarding these points, by subsequent explorers. Mr. Godwin Austen, in 1851, stated that the human remains were distributed equally with the bones through all parts of the clay, and had been washed in with them. On the contrary, Dr. Buckland is believed to have refused, or at least withheld, assent to the assertion that the flints were found under the stalagmite, and to have contended that they were only to be met with where that sparry floor had been broken into by men of a much later age.
Under these circumstances it happened that Dr. Falconer, while on a visit to Torquay (1858J, and while engaged in reexamining Kent's Hole, heard of a newly-discovered ossiferous cavern at Brixham, on the opposite side of the bay. Singularly skilful in discriminating fossil mammalia, and well accustomed both in India and Europe to inquiries into their geological distribution, he seized the favourable occasion which seemed to present itself of proposing a strict examination of this untouched cave, in the hope of discovering the exact conditions under which remains of animals and the traces of human art really occurred. The proposal was accepted by the Geological Society; the Royal Society, aided by private contributions, supplied the necessary funds; the cave was thoroughly explored; the facts observed were duly recorded; the result was to reopen the whole question as to the contemporary existence of uncivilised men with the extinct hyaena, rhinoceros, and mammoth, and as to the interval of years which had elapsed since that distant epoch in the historv of the earth.
By universal consent Sir C. Lyell was the person best qualified to conduct the inquiry and arrange the evidence, and this has been done in the volume before us. Not this alone; for, in order to show clearly 'Man's place in Nature,' the author has given a large space to the historv of post-tertiary deposits of all ages, and has fully discussed collateral subjects, like those of the origin of species, and the different races and peculiarities of mankind. The work has thus acquired a permanent value as a review of the later geological phenomena by one whose attention has l>cen incessantly devoted to them for more than thirty years. The investigations begin with what the author calls the 4 Recent Period '—that in which the remains of organic life of all kinds, but specially of Mollusca and Mammalia, belong to species now living or historically known. The works of art found in Danish peat-lx>gs are first called in evidence to establish three successive periods when stone, bronze, and iron were used by men, and when different kinds of trees occupied Denmark.*
'The. deposits of peat in Denmark, varying in depth from ten to thirty feet, lmvo boon formed in hollows or depressions in tho northern drift or boulder formation hereafter to bo doseribed. Tho lowest stratum, two to threo feet thick, consists of swamp-peat composed chiefly of moss or sphagnum, above which lies another growth of peat, not niado up exclusively of aquatic or swamp plants. Around tho borders of the bogs, and at various depths in them, lio trunks of trees, especially of tho Scotch fir (Pinns nyhcfttn's), often three feet in diameter, which must have grown on tho margin of the peat-mosses, and have frequently fallen into them. This tree is not now, nor has ever been in historical times, a nativo of the Danish Islands, and when introduced there has not thriven; yet it was evidently indigenous in tho human poriod, for Steenstrup has taken out with his
* This opinion of the relative antiquity of stone, brass, and iron, is of course liuioh older than the age of the Danes:
'Anna antiqua manus, ungues dentosque fuerunt;
Postering ferri vis est. orisque reperta:
Kt prior .Tiis erat, quam ferri, cognitus nsus:
Quo facilis m.igis est uatura, et copia major.'
Lvtr., v. 1282.
own own hands a flint instrument from bolow a buried trunk of one of these pines. It appears clear that the same Scotch fir was afterwards supplanted by the sessile variety of the common oak, of which many prostrate trunks occur in the peat at higher levels than the pines; and still higher the pedunculated variety of the same oak (Quercws Bobur, L.) occurs with the alder, birch (Betula verrucosa, Ehrh.), and hazel. The oak has now in its turn been almost superseded in Denmark by the common beech. Other trees, such as the whito birch (Betula alba), characterise the lower part of the bogs, and disappear from the higher; while others again, like the aspen (Populus tremula), occur at all levels, and still flourish in Denmark. All tho land and fresh-water shells, and all the mammalia as well as the plants, whoso remains occur buried in the Danish peat, are of recent species.
'It has been stated, that a stone implement was found under a buried Scotch fir at a great depth in the peat. By collecting and studying a vast variety of such implements, and other articles of human workmanship preserved in peat and in sand dunes on the coast, as also in certain shell-mounds of the aborigines presently to bo described, the Danish and Swedish antiquaries and naturalists, MM. Nilsson, Steenstrup, Forchhammer, Thomsen, Worsiiae, and others, have succeeded in establishing a chronological succession of periods, which they have called the ages of stone, of bronze, and of iron, named from the materials which have each in their turn served for the fabrication of implements.
'The age of stone in Denmark coincided with the period of the first vegetation, or that of the Scotch fir, and in part at least with tho second vegetation, or that of the oak. But a considerable portion of the oak epoch coincided with " the age of bronze," for swords and shields of that metal, now in the Museum of Copenhagen, have boon taken out of peat in which oaks abound. The age of iron corresponded more nearly with that of the beech-tree.'—pp. 8, 9, 10.
'The pottery found associated with weapons of bronze is of a more ornamental and tasteful style than any which belongs to the age of stone.'
Facts in several respects analogous to what is here stated of the trees occur in Yorkshire, near Beverley, and in several places in Lincolnshire and the Fens.
We have next a very interesting account of another class of memorials of men also discovered in Denmark :—
'In addition to the peat-mosses, another class of memorials found in Denmark has thrown light on the pre-historical age. At certain points along the shores of nearly all the Danish islands, mounds may be seen, consisting chiefly of thousands of cast-away shells of the oyster, cockle, and other mollusks of the same species as those which arc now eaten by man. These shells are plentifully mixed up with the bones of various quadrupeds, birds, and fish, which served as tho food of tho rudo hunters and fishers by whom the mounds were accumulated. I have seen similar largo heaps of oysters, and other