To M. de Mortillet, the European Magdalenean race was only a modified prolongation of that of Chelles and Moustier. Mixtures by migration and the co-existence of several races having differently shaped skulls were posterior to the recent quaternary and to the extinction of the mammoth and the retreat of the reindeer to the north. Then came an age in which, the climate having undergone amelioration, the glaciers having retired to the foot of the mountains, and the sea having withdrawn from Northern Europe to within its present limits, a new era was inaugurated. This was the era of continuous development and activity, the progress of which at last leads us step by step to the invention of metals and to history proper. The last period, however, includes many sub-periods. The metals were still unknown for a long time, and stone continued to be the only material used in making working-tools. A few arts, the necessary point of departure for all society, had, however, begun to be exercised: among them were the domestication of useful animals, beginning with the dog; agriculture, and consequently the adoption of some of the food plants; the use of pottery; and, finally, the grouping of men and their habitations in view of common defense, and also of the observance of religious rites. To an age of this kind, which has left a host of points in Europe, from Scandinavia to Switzerland, and from the heart of France to Southern Italy, M. de Mortillet has given the name Robenhausian. To follow it on this new ground through its progress to the age of bronze, would require the consideration of details that would carry us too far. It was the age of the dolmens and of the lake-villages; in it man was beginning to grow out of his infancy. Although, at least in Europe, he was not acquainted with the use of metals, and possessed only a rudimentary agriculture and industry, and although his food was still scanty and his existence precarious, he had already begun to sow wheat and barley; he wove coarse linen cloths; he made vessels of pottery and hardened them in the fire; and he built real monuments to his dead, artificial representations of caves made by piling rough stones together. Religious rites and invocations, a kind of luxury in furniture, and medical and surgical processes, came in vogue. We feel that we are on the verge of great inventions and of gigantic efforts, tending to enlarge the formerly extremely narrow circle of knowledge and of processes.—Translated for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue des Deux Mondes.
Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/779
HOW THE EARTH WAS PEOPLED.