Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/289

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limits of the volume forbid any detailed account of discoveries outside of Western Europe. The author disparages certain attempts to estimate the number of years that man has lived on earth, and the duration of the stone, bronze, and iron ages, and maintains that all peoples have not passed through these three ages at the same time. Hence such divisions can have only a relative, not an absolute, chronological value. That human bones are found in strata where they could not have been buried in later time, and intermingled with bones of the cave-bear, the mammoth, the reindeer, and many other long-extinct species; that the bones of these beasts often bear wounds—sometimes partly healed—which were plainly made by the weapons found in the same localities; with other evidence still more remarkable—prove that man was present in Europe during the Quaternary age. Relics have been found that have convinced some archaeologists of the presence of man during the Tertiary period, and this opinion our author shares, though he does not deem the assumption proved.

Part II, "Primitive Civilization," recounts what has been learned from the relics of primitive man as regards his domestic life, methods of industry, his progress in domesticating animals, in drawing and carving, his religious ideas, and customs of human sacrifice and cannibalism. The author concludes, from the data so far obtained, that primitive European man dwelt for a considerable period in caves. The flesh of the mammoth, the great cave-bear, the horse, the aurochs, and other animals, generally eaten raw, together with wild fruits and roots, formed his staple diet. The use of fire was known, and-pottery had been invented. He clothed himself in skins, which he sewed by means of bone needles. Cannibalism was practiced to some extent, and the horrors of war were already known. But, in spite of his savage customs, <f he was man in all senses of the word—anatomically, intellectually, and morally."

On the Desert, with a Brief Review of Recent Events in Egypt. By Henry M. Field, D. D. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons. Pp. 330. Price, $2.00.

We must confess to having read Dr. Field's book with great pleasure, and found it refreshing, entertaining, and instructive. We say "confess" in honest acknowledgment of an interest hardly expected in a new book on the wanderings of the old Jews. No doubt, we were prejudiced, as Hebrew matters had been somewhat overdone in our early education. Between the horrible droning sermons, mostly about the Israelites, which made the day of rest a weariness and a burden, and the Sunday-school exercises, which were worse because sleep was impossible, and the pious books about the patriarchs and prophets, which had to be read all during the week, we got an early surfeit of things Hebraic, and when there came at length the happy liberty of reading what we liked, the children of Israel got a wide berth, and we naturally failed to keep up with the progress of modern investigation into the profane aspects of Jewish history. But early associations are omnipotent, and we have accordingly gone through Dr. Field's book describing the present aspects of ancient sacred places with an unusual degree of satisfaction.

Dr. Field's volume, we observe, has been criticised for its want of novelty. It is said that he has gone over ground that has been traversed many times before, until its interest is exhausted, and that he has not been able to add anything new or important to what previous travelers had furnished. Very likely those who have kept up with Palestine explorations and antiquarian researches into the old haunts and relics of the Jewish people would find no important revelations in this volume. But it was not intended to enlighten those who have spent their lives in the study of Jewish history. The author offers his book merely as an introduction to the learned works of those who have devoted themselves to the investigation of the subject.

He says: "The Peninsula of Sinai has been a favorite ground of Biblical explorers. In their zeal to visit scenes made dear by connection with sacred history, they have sought to follow the track of the children of Israel from the time of their departure out of Egypt; to trace their marches on the desert; to fix the place of their encampments, not only around the base of Sinai, but even when wandering and almost lost in the great and terrible wilderness. The