Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/330

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traces of prehistoric man, gathered along our northern Atlantic seaboard, are of one origin. In other words, have traces of a people later than American palæolithic man, and earlier than the Indian, been discovered?

When we chance upon a stone arrow-point lying in the soil, it is a very different object to the archæologist than the same specimen would be lying in a cabinet. In the latter case, it is an example of man's primitive handiwork merely; in the former, it is not only the production of a skilled worker in flint, but evidence that on the spot where found man once tarried, if he did not dwell there, and that for him a necessity for weapons existed. Further, if but a single specimen be found, we may conclude that it is the point of some arrow vainly shot, or the head of a lance that has been broken and lost. But if, on the other hand, instead of one, we find a hundred scattered over a few square rods of ground, then we have evidence not simply that arrow and spear heads may be of various shapes and sizes, but that where they occur was once a village, it may be, or a battle has been fought at this point, or possibly that here an arrow-maker once plied his calling, the more definite decision being reached whether we find pottery and domestic implements also, or weapons only, or mingled with a multitude of the flakes of such mineral as that of which the weapons are made. Thus it will be seen that the practical results of an archæologist's labors are to be derived from field-work only, not from simple closet studies. He must seek out these hidden village sites, dig in their weed-grown corn-fields, and invade their cemeteries, if he would learn where they lived, where and how they toiled, and finally where and in what manner they were laid to rest.

Of a series of nearly twenty-five thousand implements and weapons of stone gathered from one limited locality by the writer, more than four fifths have been placed together in a public museum. In looking at them collectively, perhaps the most noticeable feature is that of the marked difference in finish and material. Of the chipped objects, such as arrow-heads, one instinctively separates them into finely wrought objects of jasper and quartz, and ruder specimens made of a slate-like rock.

The question is simply, Has this feature any ethnological significance? It is the purpose of this essay to determine this.

The bare fact that one arrow-head is roughly fashioned and another beautifully wrought has no significance beyond the fact that there were skillful and clumsy workmen in every tribe—professionals and amateurs. On a closer examination a fact becomes apparent, however, that should be critically regarded, and this is that the rudely made objects are almost wholly made of the same mineral, while the finely finished objects are of one of three closely allied minerals. The exceptions are too few to have any bearing on the question. Chipped implements of Indian origin, such as occur in every nook and corner