The Ancient Stone Implements, Weapons, and Ornaments of Great Britain/Chapter 22
IMPLEMENTS OF THE PALÆOLITHIC PEEIOD.
In this second division of my subject, I must pass in review a class of implements of stone, which, though belonging to an earlier period than those already described, it appeared to me to be better to take second rather than first in order. My reasons for thus reversing what might seem to be the natural arrangement of my subject, and ascending instead of descending the stream of time, I have already to some extent assigned. I need only now repeat that our sole chronology for measuring the antiquity of such objects is by a retrogressive scale from the present time, and not by a progression of years from any remote given epoch; and that though we have evidence of the vast antiquity of the class of implements which I am about to describe, and may at the present moment regard them as the earliest known works of man, yet we should gravely err, were we for a moment to presume on the impossibility of still earlier relics being discovered. Had they been taken first in order, it might have been thought that some countenance was given to a belief that we had in these implements the first efforts of human skill, and were able to trace the progressive development of the industrial arts from the very cradle of our race. Such is by no means the case. The investigators into the early history of mankind are like explorers in search of the source of one of those mighty rivers which traverse whole continents: we have departed from the homes of modern civilization in ascending the stream, and arrived at a spot where traces of human existence are but few, and animal life has assumed strange and unknown forms; but further progress is for the moment denied, and though we may plainly perceive that we are nearer the source of which we are in search, yet we know not at what distance it may still be from us; nor, indeed, can we be certain in what direction it lies, nor even whether it will ultimately be discovered. Whether or no, traces of human existence will eventually be found in deposits belonging to Miocene, or even earlier, times, I may take this occasion of remarking that the evidence hitherto adduced on this point by continental geologists is, to my mind, after full and careful examination still very far from satisfactory. At the same time, judging from all analogy, there can be but little doubt that the human race will eventually be proved to date back to an earlier period than the Pleistocene or Quaternary, though it will probably not be in Europe that the evidence on this point will be forthcoming.
The instruments of stone, found in ossiferous caves and in ancient alluvial deposits, associated with remains of a fauna now in great part extinct, belong to a period which has been termed by Sir John Lubbock, the Palæolithic, in contradistinction to the Neolithic Period, the relics of which are usually found upon, or near, the surface of the soil. By others, the more familiar, even if less accurately discriminative, terms of Cave Period and River-drift, or even Drift Period, have been adopted.
Though I propose in these pages to treat of the implements from the caves and from the river-gravels separately, it must not be supposed that there exists of necessity any demonstrable difference in the age of the two classes of relics. On the contrary, though there can be but little doubt that the deposition of the implement-bearing beds, both in the one case and the other, extended over a very considerable space of time, and that therefore neither all of the cave-deposits nor all of the river-drifts can be regarded as absolutely contemporaneous; yet there appears every probability that some, at least, of the deposits in each of the two classes synchronize; and that some caves were being partially filled with earth containing relics of human workmanship and animal remains, at the same time that, in certain ancient river-valleys, alluvial drifts were being formed with similar works of man and bones of animals belonging to the same fauna, incorporated in them.
And yet, as a rule, the character of a group of implements collected from the cave-deposits differs in its general facies from one obtained from the old River-drifts. This is no doubt mainly due to the different conditions under which the two deposits were formed; for, especially when they were undoubtedly human habitations, the caves seem to have been under more favourable conditions both for the reception and the preservation of a greater proportion of the smaller forms of instruments than the River-drifts; but their comparative scarcity in the collections formed from the latter is also no doubt partly due to the difficulty in finding such minute objects when imbedded in a mass of gravel, even had they remained uninjured in the course of its deposition. On the other hand, the rarity of the larger forms of implements in the cave deposits, appears to be due to these instruments having been mainly used for what may be termed "out of doors" purposes.
Again, though in some instances the River-drift and Cave-deposits belong apparently to the same period, yet in others it seems possible that we have, in the caves, relics derived from a period alike unrepresented in the old alluvia and in the superficial soil; and which may belong to an intermediate age, and thus possibly assist, especially in the case of some caves in the neighbourhood of Mentone, to bridge over the gap that would otherwise intervene between the River-drift and the Surface Period. It is not, indeed, in our English caves, that such good evidence of a sequence in the order of the deposition of their contents can be observed, as in those of the south of France, and of Belgium, in which a sort of chronological succession has been pointed out by M. Gabriel de Mortillet and others, as will subsequently be seen. It will of course be understood that this sequence in no way refers to the occupation of caverns by man in modern, or even Neolithic times. Many caves in this, as in other countries, have been the retreats or dwelling-places of man at various, and often very remote, periods: though subsequent to the time when their earlier contents had been sealed up beneath a layer of stalagmite, itself a work of centuries of slow deposition of carbonate of lime held in solution by water infiltrating from above. It is owing to the occasional admixture of the more recent remains with those of older date, either in the progress of the excavation of the caverns, or by the burrowing of animals, or in some cases possibly by pits having been sunk in the floor of the cave by some of its successive human occupants, that doubt has been thrown in former times on the value of the evidence afforded by cavern-deposits, as to the co-existence of man with animals now extinct, such as the Siberian mammoth and its common associate, the woolly-haired rhinoceros. The more careful researches of modern times have, however, in most cases, removed all sources of error under this head; and the fact of this co-existence being now established, we are to a great extent able to eliminate the doubtful portions of the older-recorded observations, and to give to the residue a value which it did not formerly possess.
Before proceeding, however, to discuss any of the evidence afforded by cavern-deposits on the existence of man and the nature of his tools and implements in those early days, it will be well to say a few words both as to the nature of ossiferous caves in general, and as to the probable manner in which their contents were deposited in the positions in which we now find them. In doing this, I shall be as brief as possible, and will content myself with referring the reader, who is desirous of further details, to works more strictly geological.
What must strike all observers at the outset is, that caverns vary greatly both in their character and in their dimensions; some being long and sinuous, in places contracting into narrow pas- sages, and then again expanding into halls more or less vast; while others are merely vaulted recesses in the face of a rock, or even long grooves running along the face of some almost perpendicular though inland cliff. Most of the English ossiferous caverns belong to the former class, while the majority of those of the Dordogne and some other parts of the south of France belong to the latter. These recesses and rock-shelters apparently owe their existence to a somewhat different cause from that which produced the long sinuous cavities. They usually occur in cliffs of which the stratification is approximately horizontal, but where the different beds vary much in their degree of hardness and permeability to water. The softer strata, underlying the harder masses, are in consequence more liable to be acted upon by rain, wind, and frost, so that they weather away faster, and leave deep recesses in the face of the cliffs, admirably adapted for conversion, with but little trouble, into dry and commodious shelters from the weather, which have in consequence been seized on for habitation by man from the earliest times to the present day. Caves of this character may possibly in some rare instances have been due to the eroding action of the sea, before the land was elevated to its present level; but in most cases they have originated from the atmospheric agencies that I have mentioned, attacking most destructively the softer portions of the rocks, which are usually of a calcareous nature.
The caverns of the other class also generally occur in limestone districts, and seem in like manner to be mainly due to atmospheric causes, though operating in a different manner. They usually appear to have originated with some small crack or fissure in the rock, along which, water falling on the surface was able to find its way to some vent at a lower level; and this, by its continual passage, was able to enlarge the channel along which it flowed. The mechanically erosive force of pure water in passing over or even falling upon a rock of moderate hardness is indeed but small, though its powers of friction were long since recognized by that most enlightened of ancient geologists, the poet Ovid, who classes its effects with the wearing away of a ring upon the finger. Nor was Solomon's likening of the contentions of a wife to a continual dropping, without its geological significance. But in the case of water derived from rain falling on the surface, and passing through a fissure in a limestone rock, its first effects are chemical rather than mechanical.
By contact with decaying vegetable matter the water becomes charged with a certain amount of carbonic acid, and is rendered capable of dissolving a portion of the calcareous rock through which it passes, and thus carries it off in solution, while in so doing it acquires the character known as "hard." Taking the case of water delivered by springs in the chalk, which has but a moderate degree of hardness, it is proved by analysis to contain about seventeen grains of carbonate of lime to the gallon. Now, out of a rainfall of say twenty-six inches annually, it has been found by experiment, that in a chalk district about nine inches would, in average seasons, make their way down to the springs;. and it may be readily calculated that at the rate of seventeen grains to the gallon, the amount of dry chalk or carbonate of lime dissolved by this quantity of water, and delivered by the springs, and thus carried away, is, in each square mile of such a district, upwards of one hundred and forty tons in each year, or about a ton to every four and a half acres. This serves to show how great are the solvent powers of water charged with carbonic acid, and the extent to which, in the course of centuries, it might remove the calcareous rocks with which it came in contact. But when once by this action a channel had been excavated sufficiently large to admit of the rapid passage of a stream of water through it, and the circumstances of the case allowed of such a stream, its enlargement would probably become more rapid, as the water would be liable to be charged with sand and small pebbles, the friction of which would materially conduce to the removal of the rock, the varying hardness of which, combined with the intersection of other channels and fissures, would probably lead to the formation of chambers of various sizes along the course of the channel. In some caverns, we find the streams of water, to which probably they owe their existence, still flowing through them; but in others, the external features of the surrounding country have so much changed since their formation, that the gathering grounds for such streams have been removed by denudation, and water now only finds its way into them by slow percolation through the rock which forms their roof and walls.
It is this same process of denudation which, by removing some portion of the rock in which the caverns were originally formed, has brought them in communication with the outer world, and has thus rendered them accessible to man.
Leaving out of the question the blocks and fragments of stone falling in from the ceiling of the caverns, the methods by which the ossiferous deposits in them may have been formed, are various. The bones may be those of animals which have died in the caverns, or they may have been brought there by beasts of prey, or by man, or by running water, or possibly by several of these agencies combined.
In the case of the caves and rock-shelters of the Dordogne, and many of those in Belgium, the deposits are almost exclusively neither more nor less than refuse heaps, containing the bones, fractured and unfractured, of animals which have served for human food, mixed with which are the lost and waste tools, utensils, and weapons, and even the cooking-hearths of the early cave-dwellers; so that in character they closely resemble the kjökken-möddings of the Danish coasts; though, from their position being usually inland, the marine shells in which these latter abound are, for the most part, absent. The object in resorting to the caves was, no doubt, shelter; while the reason for the Danish kjökken-möddings occurring along the coasts is to be found in the fact, that the principal food of those who left these heaps of refuse, was derived from the sea.
In other instances, the tenancy of a cave by man seems to have alternated with that by bears, hyænas, or other predaceous animals; so that the relics left by the two classes of occupants have become more or less mixed, sometimes without the intervention of water, and sometimes by its aid. In such caves, it is commonly the case that the bones are imbedded in a red loamy matrix, to which the name of "cave-earth" has been given, and which appears to consist, in a great measure, of those portions of the limestone-rock that are insoluble in water charged with carbonic acid. Such red loams are common not only in caves, but on the surface of many calcareous rocks, and would be liable to be brought into any place of resort of man or beast, adhering to the feet and skin, especially in wet weather; though some portion of what is found in the caves may be a kind of caput mortuum left in position after dissolution and removal of the calcareous rock; or it may be sediment deposited from turbid water.
Another important feature in caverns is the stalagmitic covering with which the bone deposit is so frequently sealed up or converted into a breccia. Like the stalactites on the ceiling, the stalagmite on the floor is a gradually-formed laminated deposit, composed of thin films of crystalline carbonate of lime, deposited from the water in which it was held in solution as a bicarbonate, by the escape of the excess of carbonic acid which rendered it soluble. I have already cited the action of rain-water falling on a surface of limestone covered with decaying vegetable matter as an agent in forming subterranean channels; but we have here, curiously enough, the reverse action produced of filling them up. For this to take place, contact with the air appears to be necessary; so that at the time when a cavern was completely filled with water, no calcareous spar would be deposited. If partially filled, though stalactites might be formed, stalagmite would not; and it is probably to some alternation of wet and dry conditions that several beds of alluvium occasionally occur interstratified between successive layers of stalagmite. When, as occasionally happens, the water percolating through the rock finds its way into the cave by the walls rather than the roof, we find stalagmite only, exhibiting its greatest thickness round the edges of the cave and cementing its contents into a breccia. This is the case with some of the caves of the Dordogne and the South of France, and does not seem of necessity to imply any great alteration in the physical conditions of the surrounding country since the caves were formed. It is also possible that the floors of the caves have, by being trodden, become more impervious to water than they originally were, and that a loose mass of porous bones upon them may, by conducing to evaporation, have caused a deposit of carbonate of lime from water which, had the caves remained unoccupied, might have run through or over the floors without forming such a deposit.
With the other class of long and tortuous caves we must, in nearly all cases, recognize, with Sir Charles Lyell, three successive phases:—1st, the period of the dissolution of the rock to form the channel; 2nd, the time when the channel was traversed and enlarged by subterranean currents of water; and, 3rd, the period when these currents were diverted, and the cave became filled with air instead of water.
The rate of deposit of stalagmitic matter varies so much with different conditions, that its thickness affords no true criterion of the length of time during which it has accumulated. Under ordinary circumstances, however, a thickness of even a few inches requires a long period of years for its formation.
Having made these few preliminary remarks as to the formation of caverns and the deposits occurring in them, I proceed to notice some of their characteristics in connection with the relics of human workmanship found in the deposits, and in doing so cannot restrict myself to British caves, but must refer also to some of those on the Continent, which are more numerous, and have likewise furnished a more extensive and varied series of remains.
It had not escaped the attention of early authors, that in remote times specus erant pro domibus; and, to use the words of Prometheus, "men lived like little ants beneath the ground in the gloomy recesses of caves." It is, however, strange to find a Roman author recording the occurrence of worked flints in the caves of the Pyrenees; for if we accept the description of the ceraunia given by Sotacus, and preserved by Pliny, of which mention has already been made, there can be but little doubt of the term referring either to stone hatchets, worked flints, or arrow-heads, of some such kind as those still known as thunderbolts; and therefore that when Claudian, early in the fifth century, wrote
"Pyrenæisque sub antris
Ignea flumineæ legere ceraunia nymphæ,"
he must have had in his mind some account of the occurrence of such objects in that district, where so many discoveries of this character have since been made.
The researches of MM. Tournal, de Christol, and Marcel de Serres, now some sixty or seventy years ago, by which the coexistence of man with many of the extinct mammals was rendered probable, if, indeed, not actually proved, were directed to caverns which, though not in the immediate neighbourhood of the Pyrenees, were still in the South of France. These researches are well known to geologists, but the most important discoveries are those made in more modern times, in caverns principally in the Dordogne and other departments of the ancient Province of Aquitaine, by the late Prof. E. Lartet and Mr. Henry Christy, as well as by M. Alphonse Milne-Edwards, the Marquis de Vibraye, MM. Garrigou, Rames, Brun, Cazalis de Fondouce, Ferry, Gervais, Cartailhac, Piette, Boule, Massénat, Chantre, and numerous other active investigators.
The discoveries made by Dr. Schmerling in the caves of Belgium, an account of which he published in 1833, showed that human bones, as well as worked flints, and bone instruments were associated with the remains of extinct animals in several instances; and, though not gaining general acceptance at the time, have since been fully borne out by the investigations so ably conducted by Dr. E. Dupont.
The late Prof. E. Lartet some years ago suggested a classification of the different divisions of Time represented in the French caves containing traces of man associated with various animal bones, under successive heads, as the Ages of the Cave-bear, the Mammoth, the Reindeer, and the Bison, in accordance with the comparative abundance of the remains of each of these animals in the different caves. Had the conditions in all cases been the same, there can be no doubt that any marked variations in the fauna of the same region would afford valuable criteria for determining such a chronological sequence. But such decided differences cannot at present be traced; and inasmuch as the animal remains in the caverns under consideration have, almost without exception, been introduced into the caves by human agency, and been merely the refuse of the spoils of the chase consumed by the old cave-dwellers, we may readily conceive reasons why, without any great natural change in the fauna, the proportionate numbers of the different animals eaten during a certain number of years might vary in different caves. Still the effect of human agency in causing an alteration in the larger mammalian fauna of a district is great, and of this, researches in caverns may probably afford evidence.
Dr. E. Dupont has adopted a somewhat similar, but more limited, and therefore safer view with regard to the caverns of Belgium, and has moreover correlated the cave-deposits with those of wider range. The rolled pebbles and stratified clay of the river-valleys he regards as synchronous with the deposits in certain caves belonging to what he terms the Mammoth Period; and the angular gravels and brick-earth, of somewhat later date, he connects with the caves of the Reindeer Period.
As will shortly be seen, there appears good reason for regarding the two sets of caverns thus characterized, as belonging to different ages; and if the use of the terms Mammoth and Rein- deer Periods be not supposed to limit the duration of the existence of those animals in France and Belgium to so short a space of time, geologically speaking, as that represented by the infilling of each set of caves, no harm can arise from the adoption of the terms.
Under any circumstances, with our present knowledge, there seems a sufficient variation in the proportion of the different animals one to the other, and also in the character of the implements in different caves, to justify the conclusion that the cave-remains of Western Europe are memorials, not of some comparatively short Troglodyte phase of the human race, but of a lengthened chapter in its history. And yet this chapter seems to have been completely closed before the implements belonging to the Neolithic or Surface Stone Period had come into use; for though these also occur in the more superficial cavern-deposits, they are not only stratigraphically more recent than the instruments often found imbedded deep below them, but are also associated with a different and more modern fauna, and even with domesticated animals, of which none are as yet known to have belonged to the Palæolithic Period.
M. Gabriel de Mortillet, judging rather from the character of the works of man found in the caves, and from what appears to be the order of superposition in certain cases, than from the mammalian fauna, has arranged them in a manner which to some extent coincides with the views of M. Lartet and Dr. Dupont. To each division he has assigned the name of some well-known deposit, such as he regards as being the most characteristic in its contents.
As M. de Mortillet's classification has now been almost universally accepted, it will be well here to adopt it, though in some respects it differs from the arrangement proposed in my first edition. I there attempted to give references to the works in which the different caves in France and other continental countries have been described, but, at the present day, the number of caves explored is so great, and the literature relating to them so extensive, that I must confine myself to British caves, and make but passing reference to some of those in other countries.
I take M. de Mortillet's arrangement in ascending, and not in descending geological order; that is to say, I here describe the older deposits first. Leaving the Age of Chelles, or, as I prefer to call it, of St. Acheul (Acheuléen), which is characterized by the high-level River-gravels, subsequently described, we come to:—
1. Age of Le Moustier, Dordogne(Moustérien).—Characteristics—Ovate-lanceolate implements much resembling some of those from the River-gravels; large broad implements and flakes worked on one face only into "choppers" or "side-scrapers," like those from High Lodge, Mildenhall; large sub triangular flakes wrought at the edge into spear-head-like and round-ended forms; rough "sling-stones" and flakes; scrapers not abundant.
An almost entire absence of instruments of bone; and a large proportion of those of flint, of considerable size.
Remains of mammoth and hyæna apparently more abundant than in the following ages. Reindeer less dominant numerically than at Solutré or la Madelaine. Bones comparatively scarce. No remains of birds or fish.
2. Age of Solutré (Saône et Loire) (Solutréen).—Characteristics—Lance-heads or daggers delicately chipped on both faces; lozenge and leaf-shaped arrow-heads (?) closely resembling some of those of the Neolithic Period. They are all scarce. Sharp knife-like flakes trimmed to a narrow point at one end from a shoulder about midway of the blade; scrapers; borers.
Pointed lance-heads of bone or reindeer horn. Engraved bones, extremely scarce, but a small figure of a reindeer carved in calcareous stone found at Solutré. Some carvings in bone towards the end of the Period. A few marine or fossil shells.
Fauna much as at la Madelaine. Several teeth of mammoth,. felis spelæa and cervus megaceros, found at Laugerie. Horse common; but at Solutré, reindeer the principal food.
3. Age of la Madelaine, Dordogne (Magdalénien).—Characteristics—Long and well-shaped flint flakes and neatly-formed cores abundant, as are also scrapers; but side-scrapers extremely rare, and the leaf-shaped lance- and arrow-heads unknown. Pebbles with mortar-like depressions, rounded hammer-stones, grooved sharpening-stones. Scraped haematite. Saws of flint in some caves.
Pointed dart-heads, both plain and ornamented on the faces,, arrow-heads, of bone split at the base, as well as harpoon-heads formed of reindeer horn or bone, barbed on one or both sides, and adapted to fit in a socket at the end of the shaft. Perforated bone needles, often of minute size.
Works of art, such as engravings on stone, bone, reindeer horn, and ivory; carvings in most of these materials, perforated and carved "bâtons de commandement" of reindeer horn. Ornaments formed of pierced bones and teeth, and of fossil shells. Fauna much as in other caves, but a larger proportion of rein- deer than horse. Mammoth remains scarce. Bones of birds and fish abundant.
In the cave of the Mas d'Azil was a layer of pebbles with various patterns painted upon them in red. Such pebbles have not as yet been found in any British cave deposits. Some of the designs curiously resemble early alphabetic characters. There is some doubt as to the exact age of the contents of this cave, which not improbably may be Neolithic.
Such is a general summary of what appear to be the characteristics of these three divisions. It must, however, be remembered that, in some caves at all events, there is a probability of the contents belonging to more than one of these periods, where the occupation by man has been of sufficiently extended duration.
M. Philippe Salmon has united the Palæolithic and Neolithic Ages into one which he regards as continuous, and sub-divides into six stages with transitions between them.
With regard to the fauna of the caves of Britain, I cannot do better than refer to the comprehensive list published by Professor Boyd Dawkins, F.R.S.; and will merely cite some of the principal animals now either extinct or no longer found living in this country, the remains of which have occurred in association with objects of human manufacture in caverns:—Spermophilus citillus, pouched marmot; Mus lemmus, lemming; Lepus diluvianus, extinct hare; Lagomys pusillus, tail-less hare; Ursus arctos, brown bear; Ursus spelæus, cave-bear; Ursus ferox, grizzly bear; Hyæna crocuta, var. spelæa, cave-hyæna; Felis leo, var. spelæa, cave-lion; Felis pardus, leopard; Machairodus latidens, sabre-toothed tiger; Cervus megaceros, Irish elk; Cervus tarandus, reindeer; Bos primigenius, urus; Bison priscus, bison or aurochs; Rhinoceros tichorhinus, woolly-haired rhinoceros; Elephas primigenius, mammoth; hippopotamus amphibius, var. major, Hippopotamus. Further details as to the fauna of Kent's Cavern will be found on a subsequent page.
The fauna of the caves is in fact practically identical with that of the River Gravels.
The same author has pointed out how vast is the difference between the mammalian fauna of the Pleistocene, Quaternary, or Palæolithic Period, and that of the Pre-historic or Neolithic Period. "Out of forty-eight well-ascertained species living in the former, only thirty-one were able to live on into the latter; and out of those thirty-one, all, with the exception of six, are still living in our island. The cave-bear, cave-lion, and cave-hyæna had vanished away, along with a whole group of pachyderms, and of all the extinct animals, but one, the Irish elk, still survived. The reindeer, so enormously abundant during the post-glacial epoch, lived on, greatly reduced in numbers; while the red deer, which was rare, became very numerous, and usurped those feeding grounds which formerly supported vast herds of the reindeer. With this exception, all the Arctic group of mammalia, such as the musk-sheep and the marmots, had retreated northwards; a fact which shows that the climate of Britain during pre-historic times was warmer, or rather less severe than during the former epoch." Only in the Neolithic Period do the goat, sheep, long-faced ox (Bos longifrons), and dog, make their appearance in Britain.
This difference in the fauna is of great importance, as affording some guide in judging of the antiquity of human remains when found in caverns without any characteristic weapons or implements; such, for instance, as the human skull cited by Prof. Boyd Dawkins as having been found in a cave at the head of Cheddar Pass, in Somersetshire. For it must never be forgotten that the occupation of caves by man is not confined to any definite period; and that even in the case of the discovery of objects of human workmanship in direct association with the remains of the Pleistocene extinct mammals, their contemporaneity cannot be proved without careful observation of the circumstances under which they occur, even if then. Another point may also be here mentioned, namely, that where there is evidence of the occupation of a cavern by man, and also by large carnivores, they can hardly have been tenants in common, but the one must have preceded the other, or possibly the occupation by each may have alternated more than once. Bones that have been gnawed by animals have sometimes the appearance of having been shaped by man. This is especially the case when beavers or porcupines have gnawed the bones. In determining the age of a cave-deposit the greatest circumspection is required, and special evidence is necessary in each individual case. Without, therefore, at present entering on any such questions, I proceed to notice the principal explorations of British caves, which have as yet been made, and the narratives of those who conducted them. In doing this I shall, of course, confine myself to those caverns in which some traces of man or his works have been discovered in connection with the earlier fauna, of which mention has already been made.
First on the list of systematic explorers stands the name of the late Dr. Buckland, subsequently Dean of Westminster, who, upwards of seventy years ago, conducted excavations in most of the ossiferous caves of Britain at that time known; and also made more than one expedition into Germany, with a view of studying analogous caverns in that country. His "Reliquiæ Diluvianæ," published in 1823, and containing, in part, matter already printed in the Philosophical Transactions of the previous year, presents an interesting account of his researches. Unfortunately, however, he sought in the phenomena of the caves and the old alluvia evidence of a universal deluge, and not any record of an extended chapter in the world's history; and, though at a later period of his life he renounced these views, yet the effect of his regarding all human relics as post-diluvial, was to give a bias to geological opinion so strongly against the belief in their true association with the remains of the extinct mammals, as to cause some careful inquirers almost to doubt the correctness of their own observations.
Still, so far as the instances cited in the "Reliquiæ Diluvianæ" go, his judgment appears to have been in the main correct. The only case in which there can be much doubt is that of the so-called "red woman of Paviland;" for, as Prof. Boyd Dawkins has pointed out, there appears to have been in this, as in some other caves, a mixture of remains belonging to two distinct periods. This is proved by the presence of remains of sheep, underneath the bones of elephants and other Pleistocene mammals, as well as by the disturbed state of the cave-earth, so that the skeleton, though of very early date, may not impossibly belong to the Neolithic Period. The discoveries in the caves near Mentone may, however, eventually throw more light upon the question.
In size the skeleton equalled that of the largest male in the Oxford Museum, so that the name of "red woman" appears misplaced. The most remarkable feature in the case is that with the skeleton were found a number of nearly cylindrical rods and fragments of rings of ivory, which appear to have been made from some of the elephant tusks in the cave. If this were so, the state of preservation of the tusks at the time of their being manufactured must have been better than is usual in caverns, though fossil ivory from Siberia is still employed for making knife-handles and for other purposes; and an elephant's tusk, found in a clay deposit in the Carse of Falkirk was sold to an ivory-turner and cut up into pieces for the lathe before it could be rescued. The late Dr. Falconer, suggested that the ivory articles may have been imported, and have had no connection with the older tusks. Be this as it may, the case is not one on which to insist; and I therefore pass on at once to a consideration of those caves in Britain in which the occurrence of stone instruments of human manufacture, in close association with the relics of extinct animals, and under such circumstances as prove a vast antiquity, are thoroughly well authenticated.
KENT'S CAVERN, TORQUAY.
The notices of this well-known cave by various authors, prior to 1859, have been carefully collected and published by the late Mr. Pengelly, F.R.S., but of these, it is needless to cite here more than the accounts given by the Rev. J. MacEnery, F.G.S., Mr. R. A. C. Godwin-Austen, F.R.S., and Mr. E. Vivian.
MacEnery, who for many years was chaplain at Tor Abbey, having had his attention first directed to the cave by the discovery in it of fossil bones, during the year 1824–5, by Mr. Northmore and the late Sir W. C. Trevelyan, devoted himself in the most enthusiastic manner to an examination of the contents of the cavern, and with the most successful results. He prepared for the press an account of his "Cavern Researches," for which numerous plates were engraved, apparently by the aid of Dr. Buckland, but he did not live to publish it, and it was first printed in a somewhat abridged form by Mr. Vivian in the year 1859. The whole of what remained of his MS. has, however, since been published verbatim, by Mr. Pengelly. He relates the discovery in the upper deposits of numerous relics, such as flakes and nuclei of flint, polished celts of syenite and greenstone, bone pins, and long comb-like instruments, all belonging to the Neolithic or Surface Stone Period, and in some cases to a later date. But he also describes three special kinds of flint or chert instruments, to which he calls particular attention. 1st. Flakes pointed at one end. 2nd. Oblong double-edged splinters truncated at each end, which he thinks may "have been employed as knives or chisels for dividing and shaping wood, and which exhibit the marks of wear on their edges;" and 3rd. "Oval-shaped discs chipped round to an edge, from 2 to 31 inches across, and some of them diminished to a point, like wedges. This part in these specimens was observed to be blunted, apparently from knocking like a hammer against hard bodies, while the sides, which in such an operation would not be used, still remained sharp." The modification in the substance of the flint of which these instruments are composed is noticed, and it is stated that at their transverse fracture many are porous and absorbent, adhering to the tongue, like fossil bones, and so closely that they support their weight.
Though evidently in dread of recording facts not quite in accordance with Dr. Buckland's views, he states distinctly that the true position of these implements was below the bottom of the stalagmite; and it is not a little remarkable that among the nine specimens selected for engraving by Mr. MacEnery, and given in his Plate T, as knives, arrow-heads, and hatchets of flint and chert found in Kent's Hole, Torquay, three are of a distinctly palæolithic type, and two presumably so, the others being mere flakes, but of a character quite in accordance with their belonging to the same period as the better-defined types.
He further observes that "none of the cavern blades appeared to have been rubbed or polished, but exhibit the rough serrated edge of the original fracture. This difference alone may not be sufficient to authorize us in assigning to the cavern reliques a higher antiquity, but the absence of other Druidical remains at the depth where the flints abound, is a negative confirmation." That one who observed so well should, out of deference to the prejudices of others, have sometimes been doubtful of the evidence of his own eyes, and have been driven to postpone until too late the publication of the records of his observations, must ever be a cause of regret to all lovers of science and of truth.
The next explorer of the cavern was Mr. R. A. C. Godwin-Austen, F.R.S., who in 1840 communicated a paper on the "Bone Caves of Devonshire" to the Geological Society, and subsequently another memoir on the "Geology of the South-east of Devonshire," in which the former was incorporated. He stated that "works of art, such as arrow-heads and knives of flint, occur in all parts of the cave, and throughout the entire thickness of the clay; and no distinction founded on condition, distribution, or relative position can be observed whereby the human can be separated from the other reliquiæ," among which he mentions teeth and bones of elephant, rhinoceros, ox, deer, horse, bear, hyæna, and of a feline animal of large size.
In 1846 a committee was appointed by the Torquay Natural History Society, to explore a small portion of the cavern, and a paper detailing the results of the investigation was communicated by Mr. E. Vivian to the British Association and to the Geological Society, in which he stated that the important point established was that relics of human art are found beneath the floor of stalagmite, even where its thickness is about three feet. The abstract of this paper, as published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, seems to show how little such a statement was in accordance with the geological opinion of the day. It runs as follows:—"On Kent's Cavern, near Torquay, by Edward Vivian, Esq. In this paper an account was given of some recent researches in that cavern by a committee of the Torquay Natural History Society, during which the bones of various extinct species of animals were found in several situations."
In 1856, Mr. Vivian again called the attention of the British Association to this cavern, and, in 1859, he published the greater part of Mr. MacEnery's MS., of which mention has already been made. The ossiferous cave at Brixham had been discovered in the previous year, in which also the collection of implements discovered in the river-drift of the Valley of the Somme, formed by M. Boucher de Perthes, had been visited by the late Dr. Falconer—a visit which resulted in that of the late Sir Joseph Prestwich and myself in 1859, and in public interest being excited in these remarkable discoveries, the area of which was soon extended to numerous other valleys, both in France and Britain. Encouraged by the success which had attended the exploration of the old alluvia, the British Association, in 1864, appointed a committee consisting of Sir Charles Lyell, Sir John Lubbock, Professor Phillips, Mr. Vivian, Mr. Pengelly, and myself, to make a systematic exploration of Kent's Cavern, which was placed at our disposal by Sir Lawrence Palk, the proprietor. From that time, until 1880, the exploration was steadily carried on under the immediate and constant superintendence of Mr. Pengelly and Mr. Vivian; and the names of Professor Busk, Professor Boyd Dawkins, and Mr. W. A. Sanford, F.G.S., were added to the list of the committee. Mr. Pengelly, who acted as reporter to the committee, has in successive years rendered sixteen accounts to the Association of the progress of the researches, which have been printed in their yearly Reports from 1865 to 1880. Mr. Pengelly has also communicated a long series of papers upon the exploration of the Cave to the Devonshire Association. I have been allowed, for the purposes of this volume, to figure a certain number of the instruments discovered in Kent's Cavern, and for the details I give concerning them, I am indebted partly to the annual reports already mentioned, and partly to the kindness of the late Mr. Pengelly.
The cave is about a mile east of Torquay harbour, and is of a sinuous character, running deeply into a hill of Devonian Limestone, about half a mile distant from the sea. In places, it expands into large chambers, to which various distinctive names have been given.
It is needless for me to enter into any particulars as to the method employed in conducting the explorations, by which the position of each object discovered was accurately determined. I may, however, shortly describe the series of deposits met with in the spacious chamber near the entrance to the cave, which has been the principal scene of the discoveries, and which corresponds in its main features with the other parts of the cave. The deposits are as follows, in descending order:—
1. Large blocks of limestone which have fallen from the roof, sometimes cemented together by stalagmite.
2. A layer of black, muddy mould, 3 inches to 12 inches in thickness.
3. Stalagmite 1 foot to 3 feet thick, almost continuous, and in places containing large fragments of limestone.
4. Red cave-earth, varying in thickness, and containing about 50 per cent, of angular fragments of limestone, with numerous bones of extinct animals, and implements fashioned by the hand of man. Above this and below the stalagmite, in one part of the cave there is a black band from 2 inches to 6 inches thick, formed of soil like No. 2, containing charcoal, numerous flint instruments, and bones and teeth of animals.
5. At the base of the cave-earth is another floor of stalagmite in places 10 or 12 feet in thickness.
6. Below this again a breccia of sub-angular and rounded pieces of dark-red grit, a few quartz pebbles, and angular fragments of limestone, embedded in a sandy paste. This also contained implements, and in places had been broken up and become lodged in the cave-earth.
Above the upper stalagmite, principally in the black mould, have been found a number of relics belonging to different periods, such as socketed celts, and a socketed knife of bronze, some small fragments of roughly-smelted copper, about four hundred flint flakes, cores, and chips, a polishing stone, a ring of stone already described, numerous spindle-whorls, bone instruments terminating in comb-like ends, probably used for weaving, pottery, marine shells, numerous mammalian bones of existing species, and some human bones, on which it has been thought there are traces indicative of cannibalism. Some of the pottery is distinctly Roman in character, but many of the objects belong, no doubt, to pre-Roman times.
It is, however, with the implements found in the beds below, which had already, at least two thousand years ago, been sealed up beneath the thick coating of stalagmite, formed by a deposition of film upon film of calcareous matter once held in solution, that I have here to do.
In some places, it is true that owing to previous excavations, and to the presence of burrowing animals, the remains from above and below the stalagmite have become intermingled; but I shall not cite any objects, about the original position of which there is any doubt.
The principal forms are these: flat ovoid implements with an edge all round; pointed kite-shaped or triangular implements; flakes of flint of various sizes and wrought into different shapes, including the so-called scrapers; the cores from which flakes have been struck, and stones which have been used as hammers or pounders. Besides these, a few pins, harpoons, and needles of bone have been discovered.
Fig. 386.—Kent's Cavern. (1,163) 1
Fig. 387.—Kent's Cavern. (286) 1
Prominent among the instruments of stone, both as exhibiting a great amount of skill and design in fashioning them, and as being distinct in character from the forms usually found on the surface, are the ovoid discs such as had already attracted the attention of Mr. MacEnery. Of these, specimens are engraved on the scale of one-half linear measure in Figs. 386 and 387. The first (No. 1,163 in Mr. Pengelly's list) is of grey cherty flint, carefully chipped on both faces, one of which is rather more convex than the other. It is wrought to a slightly undulating edge all round, except at one spot on the side, where blows seem to have been given in vain in attempting to remove a flake. The traces upon the edge, of wear or use, are but slight. It was found in January, 1866, in the red cave-earth, four feet below the stalagmite, which was about a foot thick, and continuous for a considerable distance in every direction. The smaller implement (No. 286) Fig. 387, is of much the same general form, but more sub-triangular in outline. It is brought to an edge all round, but this is not in one plane, and on one of the sides shows a sort of ogival curve. The flint has become nearly white, and has a lustrous surface. A portion of the edge along one of the sides has been sharpened by removing minute chips from one face. It was found in June, 1865, between 3 and 4 feet deep in the cave-earth in the great chamber.
Fig. 388.—Kent's Cavern. (4,155) 1
But in addition to these ovoid instruments which have been chipped to a more or less acute edge all round, a thick pointed instrument (No. 4,155) of sub-triangular outline, represented as Fig. 388, has been met with, lying on the surface of the cave-earth in the "Sally-port." It is much altered in structure, but seems to have been formed from a cherty nodule "apparently selected from the supra-cretaceous gravel so abundant between Torquay and Newton." The butt-end still exhibits the original surface of the nodule, the rounded form of which renders it well adapted for being held in the hand. The point has unfortunately been damaged, so that it is impossible to say whether it exhibited any signs of use. One face of the implement is more convex than the other, and has been chipped in such a manner as to leave a sort of central ridge. This implement may have been derived from the breccia.
During the progress of the explorations subsequent to the appearance of the former edition of this book, numerous other implements of flint and chert were discovered, closely resembling in form the implements from the river-gravels, and apparently of the age of St. Acheul or Chelles. Mr. Pengelly has pointed out that these belong to the breccia at the base of the cave-deposits, rather than to the cave-earth above, in which thinner and more delicately-worked forms have been found. He considers that there was a considerable interval of time between the two deposits, and that there was a difference between the fauna of the one and of the other. I have an implement almost the exact counterpart of Fig. 388 from the Thetford gravels.
Another implement (No. 6022) found on Nov. 27th, 1872, at a depth of 16 inches in the undisturbed breccia, is by the kindness of the Plymouth Institution, shown in Fig. 388a. Its resemblance to Fig. 414 from Biddenham, near Bedford, is striking. The illustration is on the scale of three-fourths linear measure, instead of on the usual scale of one-half. From fifteen to twenty implements were found in the breccia and about seventy worked flints of various forms in the cave-earth.
Several implements, varying in size and slightly in form, but of the same general character as the first two described, have also been discovered in the cave. Some of these present an appearance of having been used for scraping a hard substance, a part of the edge towards the narrower end being worn away, leaving a sort of shoulder near the extremity. The wear on the two sides is from the opposite faces, as if the instrument had been turned over in the hand and used in the same direction, whichever edge was employed. MacEnery, in his Plate T, has engraved three instruments of this class, as Nos. 11, 12, and 13, and has remarked on the pointed ends being blunted, "apparently from knocking like a hammer against hard bodies." The blunting in those which I have seen, does not, however, appear to me to be the result of hammering, but rather of minute splinters breaking off during some scraping process.
Implements much resembling in form these from Kent's Cavern have been found in the Cave of Le Moustier, Dordogne; but these latter are for the most part thicker in proportion to their size, especially towards the base, which is usually rather truncated, instead of being brought to an edge. It is possible that they may have been mounted in some sort of handle for use, but on the whole it appears more probable that they were used unmounted in the hand, as a sort of knives or scraping tools.
|Fig. 389.—Kent's Cavern. (1,515) 1||Fig. 390.—Kent's Cavern. (3,922) 1|
A smaller form (No. 1,515) of pointed instrument from the cave-earth, is shown in Fig. 389. Both its faces are equally convex, and are chipped over their whole surface in the same manner as those of larger sizes. In shape, it seems adapted to have formed the point of a lance, but the edges and base are in many parts worn away, as if it had been a sort of scraping tool. It much resembles some of the instruments found in the Wookey Hyæna Den, by Prof. Boyd Dawkins.
Among the wrought flakes which next demand our attention, the most striking are some finely-pointed lanceolate blades of which one (No. 3,922) is represented in Fig. 390. It has a somewhat rounded point at each end, and has been made from a long flake, the outer face of which has been fashioned by secondary chipping. A part of the inner face at one end has also been re-worked. The edges seem to be slightly worn away, and show, along the greater part of their extent, the minute chipping probably produced by scraping some hard material. The flint is white and porcellanous on the surface, and has become so light and soft in structure, that it can readily be cut with a knife. It was found in the south-west chamber of the cavern, beneath stalagmite not quite a foot thick, but touching the ceiling of the chamber, or nearly so, in company with teeth of hyæna, bear, and fox, and a small quartz crystal.
With regard to this alteration in the colour and structure of the flint, it may be well here to make a few remarks. At first sight, it seems difficult to believe that in a material so hard, and under ordinary circumstances so extremely durable, as flint, so complete a change in colour and texture should have taken place, during any lapse of time, however great. We find, however, that under certain circumstances, even Neolithic implements, which still retain their original black or dark colour in the interior, have on their exterior become completely whitened, and in some cases softened so much that they can be scratched with a knife. The cause, as was first pointed out to me by the late M. Meillet, of Poitiers, appears to be inherent in the nature of most flints, the silica in which is of two kinds; the one crystallized silica or quartz, with a specific gravity of 2⋅6, and insoluble in water, the other colloid or glassy silica, known as opal, with a specific gravity of 2⋅2, which is much more transparent, horny, and soluble; though in their other properties both are chemically the same. It appears, then, that in these whitened flints, the soluble portion has been removed by the passage of infiltrating water through the body of the flint, while the insoluble portion has been left in a finely- divided state, consisting of particles susceptible of disaggregation by moderate force, and is consequently white. This alteration in structure is not confined to artificially-wrought flints, but may take place even in flint pebbles, under certain circumstances, in pervious soils; for I have found Lower Tertiary pebbles in the Woolwich and Reading beds, and also in the resulting conglomerates, which have become sufficiently disintegrated to be cut with a steel knife. When it is considered that these pebbles were originally the hardest part of chalk flints, or at all events those parts which were best able to withstand the rolling and wearing action of the Tertiary sea, the amount of alteration they have since undergone, by the slow dissolution of a portion of their substance, is very striking. The decomposed flint pebbles in the cliff at Southbourne-on-Sea are well known, and belong to a still more recent geological period. There is some difficulty in ascertaining the exact loss of weight incurred during the process of alteration; but I find that a flake of this porous white flint, which, when dry, weighed one hundred and twenty-nine grains, gained, by immersion for half an hour in water, thirteen grains, so that, taking the specific gravity of flint at about 2⋅6, and assuming that the flake was originally perfectly non-absorbent, the loss would appear to have been about one-fifth of the original weight.
But to return from this digression to the subject of the instruments, of which several belonging to the same class as Fig. 390 have been found in Kent's Cavern. Some of them are pointed at only one extremity, and that usually the point of the original flake, the bulb-end being left more or less obtuse.
A remarkably elegant instrument of this class (No. 3,869) is shown in Fig. 391. It has been made from a ridged or carinated flake, though having three facets at the butt-end, and a little secondary working on one side; and at the butt this external face has been left in its original condition. The inner face of the flake, however, which is shown in the figure, has been almost entirely removed by secondary working, extending from the edges to the middle of the blade, while the edges have again been re-touched, so as to make them even and sharp. At the butt-end it is chisel-like in form. It was found, on July 4th, 1868, at a depth of 2 feet in the cave-earth, beneath stalagmite 2 feet 8 inches thick. Several other instruments of the same kind have been found in the cavern. Some of them are even longer than those figured.
These instruments so closely resemble in character the long flakes of obsidian and other silicious stones in use, as javelin heads, among the Admiralty Islanders and other savage tribes until the present day, that one is tempted to assign to them a similar purpose. It is possible that they may have been merely knives, or they may have served for both purposes, like the arrow-heads of the inhabitants of Tierra del Fuego. These English specimens may be compared with some of the lance-heads from the cave of Laugerie Haute, belonging to the Age of Solutré, but they are not quite so dexterously chipped.
Another form of implement which is shown in Fig. 392 (No. 117) was found in 1865, in the second foot in depth, in the cave-earth of the great chamber. It appears best adapted for being held in the hand and used as a scraping tool, possibly in the preparation of skins for clothing; and has been formed from a triangular flake, the ridge of which is slightly curved, and runs obliquely along the instrument. It has been trimmed by blows administered on the flat face, into a pointed oval form with a bevelled edge all round, and this edge towards the middle of one side of the blade is rounded and worn away by use. It is well adapted for being held in the hand as a side-scraper, and it is precisely that part of the edge which would be most exposed to wear, if thus held, that is actually worn. This instrument is not unlike some of the boat-shaped implements of the Surface Period, but is broader and thinner in its proportions. Almost identical forms have occurred in the Brixham Cave, and in that of Aurignac, explored by M. Lartet. Some of the trimmed flakes from the cave of Le Moustier are of much the same character, but the edges are perhaps sharper, and the butt-end of the flake is left of a more rounded form. I have an instrument of much the same general character, from the gravel of the valley of the Lark, at Icklingham Suffolk, but it is not so neatly or symmetrically finished, and the inner face of the flake is somewhat convex, instead of being concave.
|Fig. 392.—Kent's Cavern. (117) 1||Fig. 393.—Kent's Cavern. (3,918) 1|
Another instrument, of nearly the same nature, is shown in Fig. 393 (No. 3,918); one of its sides is, however, much straighter than the other. The edge of this also is somewhat abraded by use. It is formed of flint, which has become white, porcellanous, and light. It was found in the south-west chamber, as was also that shown in Fig, 394 (No. 1). This is a broad flat flake, the side edges of which appear to have been trimmed by secondary chipping, and subsequently to have been somewhat worn away by use, whether as a saw or a scraping tool it is difficult to say. The material is black flint, now weathered grey, and is much heavier than the white flint, and apparently more cherty. Other examples of semilunar implements were also found.
|Fig. 394.—Kent's Cavern. (1) 1||Fig. 395.—Kent's Cavern. (56) 1|
Some of the large flakes found in the cavern appear to have been utilized with very little secondary trimming. That shown in Fig. 395 (No. 56) is of cherty flint, with a sharp edge along one side, while the other side is blunt for half its length from the butt-end, where it is half an inch thick and nearly square with the face, something like the back of the blade of a knife. The edge on the left side of the figure has been trimmed by secondary chipping, mainly on the outer face of the flake, except for about an inch near the butt, where the trimming has been on the inner face, the evident object having been to bring the edge into one plane. The tool is well adapted for being held in the hand, with the thick side resting against the forefinger, leaving the straight edge free for cutting or sawing along its entire length. Part of the right edge near the point seems to have been used for scraping some hard substance, such as bone. It was found in 1865, between one and two feet deep in the cave-earth in the entrance chamber. There is considerable analogy between these large boldly chipped flakes trimmed at the edge, and some of those found in the River-drifts and in the cave of Le Moustier.
A few of the round-ended instruments, to which the name of scraper has been given, were also found in the cave-earth. One of these (No. 2,183) is shown, full size, in Fig. 396. It has been formed from an external flake, struck off a flint from the chalk, the end and one of the sides of which have been re-chipped to a bevelled edge. This, however, at the side becomes nearly at right angles to the face. The butt-end has been also chipped almost to a point. The edge shows symptoms of wear in several places. It was found in the fourth foot in depth, in the cave-earth; but the ground at the spot had been previously broken, so that its position cannot be regarded as certain.
|Fig. 396.—Kent's Cavern. (2,183) 1||Fig. 397.—Kent's Cavern. (1,822) 1|
Another instrument of the same class (No. 1,822) is shown, full size, in Fig. 397. It has been formed from a ridged flake, and exhibits marks of having been in use as a scraping tool, not only at one end but at the sides. The inner face is beautifully smooth and flat. Some of these scraper-like tools are more square at the end, and chipped and worn along both sides, having evidently seen much service. So far as form is concerned, there is little or nothing to distinguish them from the analogous instruments of the Neolithic Period. Such scrapers also occur in most of the caves which have furnished implements in France and Belgium, and usually in much greater proportional abundance than has been the case in Kent's Cavern. In some caves, however, as for instance in that of Le Moustier, instruments of this character are extremely scarce. They appear to me to have served for other purposes besides that of dressing skins—one of the uses to which such instruments are applied by the Eskimos of the present day. There is great probability of some of them having been used for striking fire by means of pyrites, as the French and Belgian caves have yielded specimens of that mineral. In the Trou de Chaleux a block of pyrites was found deeply scored at one end, as if by constant scraping blows with flint; and another block from Les Eyzies, with the end worn, is in the Christy Collection.
Several examples of another form of tool, manufactured from simple triangular or polygonal flakes, have occurred in Kent's Cavern. In these, one end of the flake has been worked to an oblique straight scraping edge, forming an obtuse angle with one side of the flake, and an acute angle with the other; the point being sometimes on the right, and sometimes on the left side of the flake. Specimens of each variety, Nos. 1 and 2, which were found together, are engraved as Figs. 398 and 399. The long side of the flake is usually but little worn, but the short side and the oblique end are always minutely chipped, and sometimes have the edge quite rounded by wear. This is particularly the case in Fig. 398, of which the long side also has been used for scraping. This flake is considerably curved longitudinally, and its point has much the appearance of having been used as a sort of drill. It seems probable that the obliquity of the edge at the end of the tool is connected with the manner in which it was held in the hand.
|Fig. 398.—Kent's Cavern. (1) 1||Fig. 399.—Kent's Cavern. (2) 1||Fig. 400.—Kent's Cavern. (2,253) 1|
The perfectly sharp condition of one edge of the flake, while the other is chipped away and worn, is probably due to its having been protected by some sort of wooden handle. We have already seen how in the Swiss Lake-dwellings flakes of flint were mounted; and though probably for these small flakes, such highly-finished handles were not prepared, yet the insertion of one edge of a flake of flint into a piece of split stick involves no great trouble, while it would shield the fingers from being cut, and would tend to strengthen the flint. In several of the French caves, extremely slender flakes have been found, with one edge quite worn away and the other untouched, a condition for which it is difficult to account on any other hypothesis than that of their having been inserted longitudinally into some sort of back or handle, probably of wood.
At least two specimens of another form have occurred in which both ends, instead of only one, have been slanted off. One of these (No. 2,253) is shown in Fig. 400. The other is of precisely the same size and shape. In both, the two sloping ends and the short side are worn by use, while the long side is unscathed except by accidental breakage. In the instrument not figured, the scraping edge, both at the side and ends, has been on the flat face of the flake. In the other, this has been the case at the ends only, while at the side the scraping edge has been on one of the facets. I am not aware of this form of instrument having as yet been elsewhere noticed, nor indeed, to my knowledge, has observation been called to those like Fig. 399, found in the French caves. One or two specimens, of much the same character as Fig. 399, were, however, found at La Madelaine, and are in the Christy Collection. These bevel-ended flakes also occur in Neolithic times.
As might be expected, the bulk of the worked flints found in Kent's Cavern are flakes and spalls, more or less perfect, and a very large proportion of them show, on some part of their edges, traces of use. It seems needless to engrave any of these simple forms, as they present no characteristics different from those of the flakes and splinters of any other age. Many of them have been made from rolled pebbles, no doubt derived from the adjacent beach. Some of the cores from which they have been struck have occurred in the cave, of which one (No. 1,970) is represented, on the scale of one-half, in Fig. 401.
Curiously enough, among the animal remains is a portion of a large canine tooth of a bear, with the edges chipped away, so as much to resemble a worked flake.
Of the stone implements not consisting of flint or chert, perhaps the most remarkable is the hammer-stone (No. 597), shown on the scale of one-half, in Fig. 402. It is formed from a pebble of coarse, hard, red sandstone, the outer surface of which is still retained on the two flatter faces of the stone; but all round, with the exception of a small patch, the edge of the original pebble has been battered away by hammering, until the whole has been brought into an almost cheese-like form. It was found in 1865, between one and two feet deep in the red cave-earth, over which lay an enormous block of limestone, but no stalagmite. MacEnery mentions, among the objects which he discovered, a ball of granite, which was probably of the same class as this. Many such hammer-stones have been found in the French caves. I have one, formed from a micaceous quartzose pebble, which I found in the cave of La Madelaine, explored by Messrs. Lartet and Christy, which almost matches this from Kent's Cavern in size and shape. It seems possible that their use was for pounding some substances, either animal or vegetable, for food. It is, however, hardly probable that any cereals were cultivated by those who handled them. They may have been used in breaking open the bones for the marrow, which seems, from the fractured condition of all bones that contained it, to have been a favourite food among the French cave-dwellers. Wexovius, quoted by Scheffer, says: "The marrow of raindeer is of a delicious taste, which they value in Lapland, just as we do oisters or some other outlandish dainties."
Another object which has to be mentioned is a sort of whetstone of purplish-grey grit. It is a nearly square prism, 43 inches long, and with the sides rather less than 1 inch wide. It was found in a recess beneath a projecting bed of limestone, in situ, but sealed in beneath a thick mass of stalagmitic breccia. A fragment of another, of finer grained greenish grit, has also been found beneath stalagmite, 26 inches thick. This latter, according to Sir Wollaston Franks, closely resembles some stones found in the Bruniquel caves, both in form and material.
It will naturally be inquired, for what purpose were these whetstones required, and what is the meaning of all these marks of wear on the edges of the flint tools, as if they had been used for scraping some hard substance? Fortunately the answer is not far to seek. The latter were used not only as weapons of the chase, and in cutting and preparing food, but also in the manufacture of various implements of bone, and possibly of ivory, such as harpoon-heads, pins, and even needles, as well as other instruments of unknown use. The wearing away of the edges of many of the flint-flakes is precisely of that character which I find by experiment to result from scraping bone; while it seems probable that the use of the whetstones was for putting the final polish on the bone instruments, and sharpening their points, for either of which purposes, mere scraping-tools like those of flint would be but inefficient.
It is not, of course, to be expected, that these instruments and weapons of bone should occur in anything approaching to the same numbers as the simple instruments of flint. The latter were readily made, and therefore of little value. They were also soon worn out and thrown aside; but the former required considerable time and skill in their preparation, and would not be discarded unless broken; and if accidentally lost, would be worth the trouble of being sought for. In some of the French caves, however, in which the deposits, unlike those in Kent's Cavern, are strictly of a refuse character, like the shell-mounds of Denmark, a larger proportion of them has occurred than here.
The principal objects of the kind, discovered below the stalagmite in Kent's Cavern, are portions of harpoon-heads, a pin, awl, and a needle, which it will be well to describe, as they afford links of connection between the relics of this and other caves.
The harpoon-heads are of two kinds, some being barbed on both sides, others on one only. Of the former kind, but one example (No. 2,282) has been found, which is shown in Fig. 403. It lay in the second foot in depth, in the red cave-earth in the vestibule. Above this was the black band 3 inches thick, containing flint-flakes and remains of extinct mammals; and above this again, the stalagmite floor 18 inches in thickness. It is as usual imperfect, but the 21 inches which remain, show the tapering point and four barbs on either side, which are opposite to each other and not alternate. It is precisely of the same character as some of the harpoon-heads from the cave of La Madelaine, which are usually formed of reindeer horn. The material in this instance is I believe the same. The striated
Fig. 403—Kent's Cavern. (2,282) 1
marks of the tool by which it was scraped into form are still distinctly visible in places. Such harpoon-heads have been regarded as characteristic of the latest division in the sequence of this class of caverns, and have been found in numerous localities on the Continent. A doubly-barbed harpoon-head of bone, belonging to a much more recent period, was found in the Victoria Cave, at Settle.
Of the other kind, which have the barbs along one side only of the blade, two examples have been found. One of these (No. 2,206),
Fig. 404—Kent's Cavern. (2,206) 1
though in two pieces, is otherwise nearly perfect, and is shown in Fig. 404. It also has its analogues among the harpoon-heads found in the cave of La Madelaine and elsewhere, especially at Bruniquel. Its stem shows the projection for retaining the loop of cord by which it was connected with the shaft, though it was probably still susceptible of being detached from immediate contact with it. In this respect, as indeed in general character, these early weapons seem closely to resemble those of the Eskimos of the present day. A good series of
Fig. 405.—Kent's Cavern. (1,970) 1
modern and ancient instruments of this class is engraved in the "Reliquiæ Aquitanicæ." An article on the distribution of harpoons in the caverns of the Pyrenees, from the pen of M. Ed. Piette, may be consulted with advantage. The other instrument of this kind (No. 1,970), shown in Fig. 405, is the terminal portion of a similar point, but with the barbs all broken off at the base. It is about 33 inches long, and was found in the black band.
The pin (No. 1,929), already mentioned, is shown in Fig. 406, and was found in the fourth foot in depth, in the cave-earth below the stalagmite in the vestibule, which there attained a thickness of 20 inches. It lay with an unworn molar of Rhinoceros In the black band above the cave-earth, but below the stalagmite, were remains of the hyæna and other cave-mammals. The pin is 31 inches long, nearly circular in section, expanding into a head much like that of a common screw, and tapering off to a sharp point. It bears a high polish as if from constant use, and was probably employed as a fastener of the dress, itself most likely made of skin.
Fig. 406.—Kent's Cavern. (1,929) 1
A kind of awl made of bone (No. 1,835), about 33 inches long, and sharply pointed at one end, was also found beneath stalagmite 16 inches thick. It is shown full size in Fig. 407. The marks of the tool by which it was scraped into form may be distinctly seen upon it.
Fig. 407.—Kent's Cavern. (1,835) 1
A lance-shaped bone tool (No. 3,428) 2·7 inches long, flat on one face and convex on the other, was also found in the cave-earth.
But perhaps the most interesting of all the objects discovered in the cavern, is the small bone needle found in 1866 in the black band below the stalagmite, but not recognized until 1868, in consequence of its having been enveloped in a stalagmitic covering, which then fell off, and displayed the true character of the object it contained. The needle has unfortunately lost its point, but what remains is nearly 7 of an inch long, as will be seen from Fig. 408. It tapers slightly, and is somewhat elliptical in section, the greatest diameter at the larger end being barely 8 of an inch, and at the smaller end 3. It has a neatly-drilled circular eye capable of receiving a thread about 3 of an inch in diameter, or about the thickness of fine twine. The surface of the shaft shows numerous fine longitudinal striæ, as if it had been scraped into shape.
Such needles have been found in considerable numbers in the caves of the age of La Madelaine, such as Les Eyzies, Laugerie Basse, Bruniquel, and the lower cave of Massat, always associated with harpoons of the barbed type. They vary in length from 31 inches to 1 inch, and some have been found which show that, after they had been accidentally broken through the eye, a fresh eye was drilled. That this could readily be effected by means of a pointed flint was proved, as before observed, by the late Mons. E. Lartet, who both made bone needles and bored eyes in them by means of flint tools alone. An excellent and exhaustive essay on the employment of sewing-needles in ancient times, more especially in connection with those from the French caves, has been communicated by M. E. Lartet to the "Reliquiæ Aquitanicæ," to which the reader is referred for further particulars. As with the Lapps, it seems probable that the thread in use with these needles was made from reindeer sinews; that animal, at all events in the Dordogne, having formed a principal article of food at the period of the occupation of the caves.
Such are the principal works of human art which have been discovered in this most interesting cavern, in the researches conducted under the superintendence of the late Mr. Pengelly, and mainly through grants made by the British Association for the Advancement of Science. A series of them is exhibited in the British Museum.Before attempting to account for their presence in the cave-deposits, or to ascertain what that betokens, it will be well to take a cursory glance at the animal remains with which they were found associated. For this purpose I take the list prepared by Prof. Boyd Dawkins and Mr. W. A. Sanford, and published in the Report of the British Association for 1869. It embodies, however, the result of an examination of less than one-tenth part of the whole number of specimens obtained, though that tenth exceeded 4,000 in number. The following list comprises nearly all the mammals, bones of which undoubtedly belong to the cave-earth, and omits all species the determination of which is at all uncertain, as well as birds and fishes:—
- Lepus timidus (var. diluvianus?), HareRare.
- Lagomys pusillus, Tail-less hareVery rare.
- Felis leo, var. spelæa, Cave-LionAbundant.
- Hyæna crocuta, var. spelæa, Cave-HyænaVery abundant.
- Gulo luscus, GluttonVery rare.
- Ursus spelæus, Cave-BearAbundant.
- Ursus priscus = ferox, Grizzly BearDo.
- Ursus arctos, Brown BearScarce.
- Canis lupus, WolfRare.
- Canis vulpes, var. spelæus, large FoxDo.
- Elephas primigenius, MammothNot very common.
- Rhinoceros tichorhinus, Woolly RhinocerosAbundant.
- Equus caballus, HorseVery abundant
- Bos primigenius, UrusScarce.
- Bison pricus, BisonAbundant.
- Cervus megaceros, Irish ElkNot uncommon.
- Cervus elaphus (Strongyloceros spelæus, Owen), StagAbundant.
- Cervus tarandus, ReindeerDo.
- Arvicola amphibius, Water-voleRare.
- A. agrestis, Field-voleDo.
- A. pratensis, Bank-voleVery rare.
- Castor fiber, BeaverScarce.
In the breccia the hyæna appears to be absent, while remains of bear occur in great abundance.
The list published by Prof. Boyd Dawkins in his "Cave-hunting" adds a few mammals of minor importance, but also the Machairodus latidens, of which an incisor was found in the cave-earth in 1872. Of this "sabre-toothed tiger" five canine teeth and one if not two incisors were found in the cavern by MacEnery, but doubts had been thrown upon his accuracy. The discovery of 1872 justified the Committee in reporting that Machairodus latidens and Man had been contemporaries in Britain.
In the black mould above the stalagmite, where polished stone and bronze instruments have occurred, a different fauna is present. We there meet with the dog, short-horn ox (Bos longifrons), roe-deer, sheep, goat, pig, and rabbit, of which no remains are found in the cave-earth. In that deposit, on the contrary, by far the greater number of the remains are of mammals now either entirely extinct, or no longer to be found in Britain.
The mineral condition of the bones in the cave-earth, it is but right to say, varies considerably; so much so, as to lead to the conclusion that some of the bones, especially of bear, are derived from an earlier deposit of the same character. These more ancient remains are, according to Prof. Boyd Dawkins, much more crystalline, much heavier, and of a darker colour than the ordinary teeth and bones. Still, nearly the whole of the bones in the cave-earth beneath the stalagmite appear beyond doubt to belong to one and the same period, though that period may have been of long duration, and the breccia which contained implements of River-drift types is of still earlier date. These bones have for the most part been broken into fragments, sometimes split longitudinally, and vast numbers of them have been gnawed, apparently by hyænas. In what manner are we to account for the presence of the works of man among them, and are they of the same age as the animal remains with which they are associated?
In considering this question, I do not take into account those portions of the cave in which there are variations from what may be regarded as the typical section, these being mainly due to accidental and local causes, such as the breaking up of beds of stalagmite of earlier date than those above the cave-earth, but restrict myself to the main features of the case.
There can be little doubt that, as has been pointed out by Mr. Pengelly, the accumulation of the cave-earth containing these remains took place slowly and gradually; large blocks of limestone and films of stalagmite encrusting stones and bones, or cementing them into a firm concrete, running at all levels and in all parts of the principal chamber. So that, without entering into any discussion as to the manner in which the red earth and pebbles of the deposit were introduced into the cavern, which would be here somewhat out of place, we may safely assume that the bones and teeth, whatever may have been their antiquity at the time of their introduction into the cave-earth, were deposited in the positions in which they are now found, at the same time as the implements with which they are associated. We can, however, readily conceive circumstances under which old deposits, containing relics of extinct animals, might be disturbed from their position in a cave, and re-deposited with objects of human workmanship belonging to a far more recent period. In fact, among the bones themselves there are some which, as has already been pointed out, have belonged to an earlier deposit than that in which they are now found. Let us, therefore, examine into the possibility of these instruments of flint and bone belonging to a different period from that of the animals with the remains of which they now occur. One thing, of course, is evident, that whether there has been a mixture in the cave-earth of objects belonging to various ages or no, such a mixture could only have taken place before the thick coating of stalagmite which now overlies them had even begun to accumulate. The amount of time represented by such a coating, it is, of course, impossible to calculate; but, even under the most favourable circumstances, it must have been the work of hundreds, or more probably thousands of years; and yet its deposit had been completed before the introduction of the overlying black mould, which has proved to contain objects to which an antiquity of at least two thousand years may safely be assigned.
But what do the presence and condition of these instruments denote? The flint flakes occur in great numbers, and have mostly been used; the blocks from which they were struck are present; there are traces of fire on some of the bones; there are hammer-stones, whetstones, weapons of the chase, and the needle of the housewife; all prove that during the accumulation of the cave-earth, the cavern was, at all events from time to time, the habitation of man. How far this human occupancy may have alternated with that of predaceous animals may be a matter of question; but of man's sojourn in Kent's Cavern for a lengthened period in all, before the deposition of the upper stalagmite, there can be no doubt. But in all cases of human occupancy of caves we find, and it could not well be otherwise, the refuse of man's food, in the shape of the bones of the animals whose flesh he consumed, or the shells of the edible molluscs with which his meals were varied. We have seen that in the black mould above the stalagmite, the implements of bronze and stone are associated with a fauna essentially the same as that of the present day. But the bulk of the mammals which are found above the stalagmite do not occur below it; and assuming, as we must do, that the earlier occupants of the cave subsisted on animal food, and were unable to eat the whole of the bones as well as the flesh, some portion of the bones below the stalagmite must be the refuse from their meals. Without insisting on the perfect contemporaneity of all the animal remains found together in the cave-earth, we may therefore safely affirm that we have here relics of man associated with a fauna from which the ordinary forms of ox, sheep, goat, pig, and dog are entirely absent, and of which the majority of forms are now either totally or locally extinct.
That the fauna represented in the cave-earth is, however, to be regarded as all belonging to one and the same period—unless possibly the Machairodus is to be excepted—is shown, as will subsequently be seen, by the occurrence of the remains of, at all events, all the larger mammals, associated together in the old River-drifts.
Comparing this result with that obtained from an examination of the French caves, the rock-shelters in which almost the whole accumulation is a kind of refuse heap, we find it fully confirmed, so far as the animals best adapted for human food are concerned. The rarity of the remains of the other animals in these rock- shelters is probably to be accounted for by the fact that the sole occupants were human; and that either their tenancy was continuous, or that during their absence these rock-shelters were not the haunts of predaceous animals, for which indeed they are far less well adapted than the sinuous caves.
In attempting to correlate the works of man from Kent's Cavern with those from the French caves, we find in the first place that implements of the types usually characteristic of the River-gravels have been found in about a dozen French caves, of which a list has been given by M. E. D'Acy, and, secondly, that the harpoons and needle belong to the age of La Madelaine, though bones engraved with pictorial designs—which are also characteristic of that period—are wanting. Some of the flint implements, however, approximate more closely in character with those of the age of Le Moustier; while the age of Solutré is not so decidedly represented by any of its peculiar forms. If any value attaches to these analogies, there would seem to be reason, on these grounds also, for supposing that the infilling of the cave with the red earth, to say nothing of the breccia at a lower level, was the work of an immensely long lapse of time. The black band, which in part of the cave lay beneath the stalagmite, and contained numerous pieces of charcoal, seems to indicate some more continuous occupancy of the cave by man, than at the time when the red earth was accumulating. Then comes the stalagmite, in which but few remains whether human or otherwise have been found, and these for the most part may have fallen in from higher levels. It seems to indicate a vast period of time, during which the cavern was entirely unfrequented by man or beast, and during which the fauna of the country was undergoing those changes—by the extinction or migration of some forms of mammalian life, and the incoming of others—which is so strongly marked by the difference in the contents of the beds above and below the stalagmite. As concerns this long chapter in the history of human existence the records of the cavern are a blank.
It is, moreover, to be observed that though in Kent's Cavern we have evidence of its occupation by Man more or less continuously from the Acheuléen down to the Magdalénien Age, a space of time embracing nearly all the phases of the Palæolithic Period, there is no sign of any transition to the Neolithic Period, the remains of which first make their appearance after the deposit of the stalagmite.
BRIXHAM CAVE, TORQUAY.
The ossiferous cave of Brixham, near Torquay, was discovered in the year 1858, and was almost immediately brought under the notice of the Geological and Royal Societies by the late Dr. Hugh Falconer. The latter society, acting on the recommendation of the council of the former, made a grant towards the exploration of the cave in the manner suggested by the late Mr. Pengelly, who was also assisted with money by the Baroness Burdett Coutts, Sir J. K. Shuttleworth, and the late Mr. R. Arthington of Leeds. With Dr. Falconer was associated a committee of distinguished geologists, including Mr. Pengelly, under whose immediate superintendence the works were carried on. Owing to various delays, the final report of this committee, drawn up by the late Sir Joseph Prestwich, was not presented to the Royal Society until 1872, though some accounts of the progress of the explorations had from time to time been made public.
The Report will be found in the Philosophical Transactions for 1873 and comprises a memorandum of my own on the objects of human industry discovered in the cave.
The cave itself is in Devonian Limestone, and consists of three principal galleries, in plan not unlike the letter Z, with various diverging tunnel-shaped passages, and a chamber at the right-hand lower corner of the Z, the two entrances being at the extreme points on the opposite side. The gallery represented by the middle limb of the letter, known as the Flint Knife Gallery, bears the most distinct marks of having been hollowed out by the long-protracted action of running water, and the deposit in it was nearly free from stalagmite. In the others, which are known as the Reindeer and Pen Galleries, and which have more the character of fissures, stalagmite abounded.
Where all the deposits of the cave were present, the following was the section in descending order.
1. Irregular layer of stalagmite, 1 to 15 inches thick.
2. Ochreous red cave-earth, with angular stones and some pebbles, 2 to 13 feet.
3. Gravel, with many rounded pebbles in it.
In and on the stalagmite, were found antlers of reindeer, and a humerus of bear, and in the cave-earth, numerous mammalian remains. Among them, in one place, were nearly all the bones of the left hind-leg of a bear, still preserving their true anatomical position, though with one of the bones of the fore-leg lying with them. In close proximity lay one of the worked flints, of which several were found in this bed. A few occurred in the gravel. The fauna appears to be nearly identical with that of Kent's Cavern, though the Machairodus is absent. We have, therefore, here another instance of the association of these works of man with the remains of the extinct mammals, in a cave-deposit beneath a thick layer of stalagmite, which, in this case, had been for the most part deposited before the reindeer had quitted the south of England, and while a large bear, probably Ursus spelæus, was still living in Britain. An interesting feature in the case has been pointed out by Mr. Pengelly, who, from the nature and origin of some of the pebbles in the cave-earth, argues that to allow of their having been brought into the cave by means of water—which in this instance, for various reasons, seems to have been the transporting agent—the configuration of the surface of the land in the neighbourhood must have been very different from what it is at present; and that a valley, 75 feet in depth, which now runs in front of the cave, could not then have existed, but must have been subsequently excavated.
The fragments of flint of various sizes discovered in the cave, and showing in a greater or less degree traces of human workmanship upon them, were upwards of thirty in number. Like those from Kent's Cavern, they have, for the most part, undergone much alteration in structure, having become white, absorbent, and brittle to a greater or less depth from their surface, which in some instances still retains a bright porcellanous glaze. The flint appears to have been derived originally from the chalk, though in some cases it had, before being utilized, been rolled into pebbles on the beach.
The following are some of the most remarkable specimens —
A round-pointed lanceolate implement, shown on the scale of 1 in Fig. 409. The point is symmetrically chipped, but the original surface of the flint has been left untouched over the greater part of the butt-end, which is roughly cylindrical, and more truncated than is usual with chalk flints, but is well adapted for being held in the hand. This implement has had the pointed end broken off by an irregularly diagonal fracture rather more than half way along it, and the butt-end has subsequently split up lengthways with what may be termed a "faulted" line of fracture; and about a quarter of it has been lost.
Fig. 409.—Brixham Cave. 1
The fractures are evidently of very ancient date; but what is most remarkable is that the butt-end was found in August, 1858, 3 feet deep in the cave-earth in the Flint Knife Gallery, and the point was not found until nearly a month afterwards, a long distance away in the Pen Gallery, at a depth of 3 feet 6 inches in the same bed. It was not until some time afterwards that it was discovered that the two fragments fitted each other, or that the true character of the implement was seen. In general form it closely resembles one type of the pointed instruments from the Valley-gravels. In fact, it is in all essential points identical with them, and agrees in character with many of the implements from the breccia of Kent's Cavern—especially with one (No. 7,328) which might have been made by the same hand—while it differs materially in form from the flat ovoid implements from the cave-earth, such as Fig. 386, which, however, also find their analogues in the River-Drift.
Another instrument, of an elongated-oval form, has been made from a large flake, or splinter, of flint with an approximately flat inner face, showing strongly the curved and waved lines of conchoidal fracture. It has been shaped by a succession of blows given in such a manner as not to injure the flat face, but to produce a more or less bevelled scraping or cutting edge all round, some parts of which present appearances of wear by use. It is shown in Fig. 410, and, as will be seen, is of much the same character as the implement from Kent's Cavern, Fig. 392, in the description of which the analogy of this type with that of some of the French cave-implements is pointed out.
|Fig. 410.—Brixham Cave. 1||Fig. 411.—Brixham Cave. 1|
In Fig. 411 is represented an instrument found in the gravel in a fissure in the West Chamber of the cave. It is a fragment of a large broad flake, showing on its convex face a portion of the original crust of the flint. It seems to have been at first of an approximately oval form, but has lost one of its ends by a straight fracture. This end appears to have been broken off in ancient times, after the rest of the instrument had been chipped into shape. A portion of the other end is also wanting, but the fracture in this case must have existed before the completion of the implement, as several flakes have been removed from its convex face, by blows administered on the fractured surface. One side of the flake has been trimmed by chipping, at first boldly and then more minutely, to a segmental bevelled edge, much resembling in character that of some of the large "side-scrapers" from the cave of Le Moustier in the Dordogne. Instruments of the same character occur occasionally, though rarely, in the ancient River-deposits. There are some traces of use on the edge of this specimen.
A remarkably symmetrical scraper was also thought to have come from the Brixham Cave, and is shown full size in Fig. 412. I remarked in publishing it that it closely resembled the scrapers found on the surface of the soil, and that it was exceptionally short for a cave-specimen. A little time after the first edition of this book had appeared, I discovered that this scraper had been found on the surface near the top of Windmill Hill, and had been included with the other specimens by mistake. It is undoubtedly neolithic.
The other implements from the Brixham Cave consist for the most part of flakes and splinters of flint of different sizes, and more or less chipped. One of these, 23 inches long, has been chipped or jagged along one edge, apparently by use, while the broad round end is so much worn away as to almost assume the appearance of a "scraper." Most of them bear decided marks, either on their sides or ends, of having been in use as scraping tools. About half way along one of them is a rounded notch, apparently produced by scraping some cylindrical object; and in connection with this it may be mentioned that a portion of a cylindrical pin, or rod, of ivory was found in the cave, being the only object wrought from an animal substance. A cylindrical piece of ivory about 3 inch in diameter was found in the Gorge d'Enfer cavern, and is in the Christy Collection. Some of the splinters of flint are very small, and yet one of them only 3 inch by 5 inch shows the worn edge resulting from use. An irregular sub-angular flint pebble somewhat pear-shaped in form has some of its angles much battered, as if by hammering, and has probably served as a hammer-stone, simply held in the hand. Pebbles similarly bruised at the more salient parts have frequently been found in the French caves.
The Brixham Cave specimens are now in the British Museum, and the general result of the examination of them, is that they are found to present analogous, and in some cases almost identical, forms with those discovered in other caves, and in the ancient river-gravels, associated with the remains of animals now for the most part extinct; and that most of the implements prove not only to have been made by man, but to have been actually in use before becoming imbedded in the cave-loam; while from the whole of the flints discovered presenting these signs of human workmanship or use upon them, it is evident that their presence in the cave must in some measure be due to human agency, though it was probably by means of water that they were deposited in the positions in which they were found.
THE TOR BRYAN CAVES.
These caves, rock-shelters, or fissures are situated near Denbury, Devon, and were explored by Mr. J. L. Widger, with results recorded by the late Mr. J. E. Lee. In them were found numerous mammalian remains, including teeth of rhinoceros, hyæna, and bear, and several worked flints. One of these, described as a "Flint Implement of the older type," was found beneath two thick stalagmite floors. Many of the implements from these caves are now in the British Museum.
In the Happaway Cavern, Torquay, teeth of the same mammals were found, together with human bones and apparently a flint flake as well as many splinters of flint. Human remains were also found with those of hyæna in a cave at Cattedown, Plymouth.
THE WOOKEY HYÆNA DEN.
The so-called Hyæna Den at Wookey Hole, near Wells, Somerset, has been explored at different times between 1859 and 1863 by Prof. Boyd Hawkins, F.R.S., assisted by the Rev. J. Williamson, F.G.S., Mr. James Parker, F.G.S., and Mr. Henry Willett, F.G.S., and accounts of the exploration have been published in the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society.
The cave is situated no great distance from the mouth of the large and well-known cavern of Wookey Hole, and pierces the Dolomitic Conglomerate. It was first discovered about the year 1849, in cutting a mill-race along the edge of the rock, and consists of a principal chamber, or antrum, connected with a bifurcated tunnel narrowing as it recedes from the chamber, and with one branch terminating in a vertical passage. At the time of the discovery, both the chamber and the passage were for the greater part filled with red earth, stones, and animal remains quite up to the roof, and in other parts to within a few inches of it. In a few places only was there any deposit of stalagmite. In the antrum, both the upper and lower part of the red earth which filled the cave contained but few organic remains, though they were abundant towards the middle of the deposit. In part of the passage, however, there was an enormous accumulation of animal remains, forming a bone-bed at the top of the cave-earth. The evidences of human occupation were all found in the principal chamber.
Fig. 413.—Wookey Hyæna Den. (Four views of implement.) 1
They consisted of bone-ashes, and some instruments of stone and bone. The bone objects are described as two rudely fashioned arrow-heads of the shape of an equilateral triangle, with the angles at the base bevelled off. They have, however, both been lost, so that I am unable to speak more positively as to their character. The stone objects are still forthcoming, and some of them are preserved in the Museums at Brighton and Oxford. One of the finest is shown in full size in four views as Fig. 413, having been engraved for the Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society. It lay at a depth of 4 feet from the roof, and at a distance of 12 feet from the present entrance. It is described as having lain with some other implements in contact with teeth of hyæna, between dark bands of manganese full of bony splinters, which may have been old floors of the cave; so that the occupation by the hyæna seems to have succeeded, or alternated with, that by man. It is of white flint, and closely resembles in form some of the smaller implements from the River-drift. It is of less size than the ovoid instruments from Kent's Cavern, and is not so neatly made as some of them. A smaller instrument from the Wookey Hyæna Den is of much the same form, but still less artistically worked. It is 23 inches long and 13 inches broad, and may be compared with that from Kent's Cavern shown in Fig. 389. Other specimens were more of the "sling-stone" form; in addition to which there were numerous flakes and splinters of flint and chert. One flake, which, though it has lost its point, is still 23 inches long, has been trimmed by secondary chipping on the flat face, slightly so along one side, but on the other, over half the surface of the flake, which is 11 inches wide near the base. When perfect this instrument was probably much like that from Kent's Cavern, Fig. 391. Both its edges show considerable signs of wear by use. Another form described by Prof. Boyd Dawkins is roughly pyramidal, with a smooth and flat base, and a cutting edge all round, much like an instrument found in the cave of Aurignac by M. Lartet. Of this form there were two examples, both made of chert from the Upper Greensand.
The fauna of the cave, so far as the larger animals are concerned, is the same as that of Kent's Cavern, with the addition of Rhinoceros hemitœhus, and of a lemming, and with the exception of Machairodus. The exact method of accumulation of the deposits in this cave it is very difficult to explain. Prof. Boyd Dawkins has suggested that during its occupation by hyænas, and perhaps for some time afterwards, it was subject to floods similar to those which now from time to time take place in the caverns in the neighbourhood. One thing appears certain, that previously to the filling up of the principal chamber it must, for a longer or shorter period, have been occupied by man; who here also again appears to have been associated with that same fauna, now either totally or locally extinct, with which traces of his handiwork have been discovered intermingled in so many other deposits of a similar character, both on the Continent and in Britain. With regard to the physical features of the country. Sir Charles Lyell observes, "When I examined the spot in 1860, after I had been shown some remains of the hyæna collected there, I felt convinced that a complete revolution must have taken place in the topography of the district since the time of the extinct quadrupeds. I was not aware at the time, that flint tools had been met with in the same bone-deposit."
LONG HOLE, GOWER, AND OTHER CAVES.
The next British cavern which I have to mention is one of the series in the Peninsula of Gower, in Glamorganshire, explored by Colonel Wood and the late Dr. Hugh Falconer, F.R.S. The cave in question was discovered in 1861, and is known as Long Hole. It is about one mile east of the well-known Paviland Caves, and is about 130 feet above ordinary high-water mark. It penetrates the limestone rock to a distance of about 44 feet, and when discovered did not exceed in its greatest dimensions 12 feet in width, and 7 feet in height.
There was a deposit of about 7 feet of ferruginous, unctuous cave-earth, mixed with angular fragments of limestone rock, forming the floor, which was in part, if not wholly, of stalagmite. The fossil remains found in the cave included Ursus spelæus, Hyæna spelæa, Felis spelæa, Rhinoceros hemitœchus and tichorhinus, Elephas antiquus and primigenius, Bison priscus and Cervus tarandus. Flint implements, unquestionably of human manufacture, were found along with these remains; and one very fine flint "arrow-head," as termed by Dr. Falconer, was found at a depth of 41 feet in the cave-earth, contiguous to a detached shell of a milk molar of Rhinoceros hemitœchus, and at the same depth. Other flint implements were found at a depth of 3 feet below the stalagmite, associated with remains of Cervus Guettardi, a variety of reindeer. Sir Charles Lyell has remarked that this is the first well-authenticated example of the occurrence of Rhinoceros hemitœchus in connection with human implements. Dr. Falconer has also recognized the same species, in the fragment of an upper milk molar, discovered in the Wookey Hole Hyæna Den by Prof. Boyd Dawkins.
I have had an opportunity of examining casts of the worked flints from Long Hole, in the Christy Collection, and find them to consist exclusively of flakes, some of them well and symmetrically formed, and exhibiting on their edges the marks arising from use.
In some of the other caverns in the same district. Prof. Boyd Dawkins has also discovered flint flakes associated with the remains of a similar group of animals. The Oyle Cave, Tenby, and Hoyle's Mouth, have also afforded flint flakes associated with the remains of a nearly similar fauna.
In the Coygan Cave, Carmarthenshire, Mr. Laws, of Tenby, found two flint flakes with remains of mammoth and rhinoceros below a foot of stalagmite. In the Ffynnon Beunos Cave, Dr. H. Hicks, F.R.S., found several worked flints (one like Fig. 390) with bones of Pleistocene animals below a stalagmite breccia, and in the Cae Gwyn Cave a long scraper with bones of rhinoceros. A flint flake was found under Drift outside the covered entrance to the cave. Dr. Hicks regards these caves as Pre-Glacial, a view in which I cannot agree.
In the Pont Newydd Cave near Cefn, Prof. T. McK. Hughes, F.R.S., found, with plentiful remains of the Pleistocene fauna, including Rhinoceros hemitœchus, a number of implements of distinctly palæolithic forms made of felstone and chert, as well as one of flint. This cave can be proved to be Post-Glacial.
Another cave which may be mentioned is that known as King Arthur's Cave, near Whitchurch, Ross, which was explored by the late Rev. W. S. Symonds, F.G.S., of Pendock. In this instance flint flakes, and cores formed of chert were found in the cave-earth, with bones and teeth of the usual mammals, in one part of the cavern; while in another, beneath a thick layer of stalagmite, itself covered by what appeared to be a portion of an old river-bed, flint flakes were found associated with the same fauna. Mr. Symonds assigns these fluviatile deposits to an ancient river now represented by the Wye, which flows 300 feet below the level of the cave. If this view be correct, there can, as be observes, hardly be better authenticated evidence of the antiquity of man in the records of cave-history, than that afforded by this old river-bed overlying the thick stalagmite, beneath which the human relics were sealed up.
Fig. 413a.—Robin Hood Cave. 1 Since this book first appeared several important and interesting discoveries have been made in British Caves between Chesterfield and Worksop. Perhaps the most remarkable are those made in Creswell Crags on the north-eastern border of Derbyshire, by the Rev. J. Magens Mello, and Prof. Boyd Dawkins, F.R.S., who commenced their labours in the year 1875. The ossiferous deposits, in which also traces of man were found, lay both in fissures and in caves in the Lower Magnesian Limestone. Those which yielded the most important stone implements were the Robin Hood and the Church Hole Caves, though Mother Grundy's Parlour also contributed a few. In the Robin Hood Cave a stalagmitic breccia lay above the cave-earth. In this were found implements of quartzite and ironstone, eighty-six in number, ruder than those of flint in the breccia. By the kindness of the Council of the Geological Society I am able to give a few representations of those of both classes. Fig. 413a shows an implement formed from a quartzite pebble worked at the point and side and of a distinctly Palæolithic type. It is much like the specimen from Saltley, Fig. 450a, and some made of similar material found in the neighbourhood of Toulouse.
Fig. 413b is of iron-stone, and so far as form is concerned might well have been found in a bed of old River-drift. Some hammer-stones and a side chopper of quartzite, in form like Fig. 443, were also found in the cave-earth. Some flint tools from the breccia are shown in the next three figures. Fig. 413c recalls one of the blades from Kent's Cavern, Fig. 390, though of smaller dimensions. Fig. 413d is almost identical with Fig. 399, while the borer, Fig. 413e, resembles those of the Neolithic Period. In all, there were found in the Robin Hood Cave no less than 1040 pieces of stone and bone showing traces of human workmanship.
|Fig. 413b.—Robin Hood Cave. 1||Fig. 413c.—Robin Hood Cave. 1|
Among the bone objects were an awl and numerous pointed antler-tips, but the most remarkable is a smooth and rounded fragment of a rib having the head and forepart of a horse incised upon it. It is shown in Fig. 413f. In the Church Hole Cave 213 relics of human workmanship were found, principally flakes of flint, splinters, and quartzite stones. Two of the flakes, one of which is shown in Fig. 413g, are worn away on one edge only, as if the other edge had been protected by a wooden handle as suggested in the sketch.
|Fig. 413d.—Robin Hood Cave. 1||Fig. 413e.—Robin Hood Cave.|
Among the bone objects was an oval plate notched at the sides and a bone needle, Fig. 413h. It is of larger size than is usual in caves of this period.
Fig. 413f.—Robin Hood Cave. 1
The fauna comprised cave-lion, hyæna, bear, Irish elk, woolly rhinoceros, and mammoth. A fine upper canine of Machairodus was also found. Most of the objects described are now in the British Museum. We have here another instance of quartzite implements of Palæolithic type, being found well to the north of the area in which drift-implements are usually discovered.
The relics found in the Victoria Cave at Settle belong to a later period than that of which I am treating.
A cave at Ballynamintra, Co. Waterford, is Neolithic.
Fig. 413g.—Church Hole Cave. 1
The Mentone caves would open so large a field for discussion that I content myself with a passing reference to them.
Fig. 413h.—Church Hole Cave. 1
Were no other evidence forthcoming, the results of an examination of the British caves already described would justify us in concluding that in this country man co-existed with a number of the larger mammals now for the most part absolutely extinct, while others have long since disappeared from this portion of the globe. The association, under slightly differing circumstances, and in several distinct cases, of objects of human industry with the remains of this extinct fauna, in which so many of the animals characteristic of the existing fauna are "conspicuous by their absence," in undisturbed beds, and for the most part beneath a thick coating of stalagmite, leads of necessity to this conclusion. This becomes, if possible, more secure when the results of the exploration of other caves on the Continent of Western Europe are taken into account. How long a period may have intervened between the extinction, or migration, of these animals and the present time is, of course, another question; but such changes in the animal world as had already taken place at least three thousand years ago, do not appear to occur either suddenly or even with great rapidity; and, leaving the stalagmite out of consideration, we have already seen that in some instances the physical configuration of the country in the immediate neighbourhood of the caves seems to have been greatly changed since the period of their infilling.
These changes are perhaps more conclusively illustrated in the case of the old river deposits, in which the remains of the same extinct fauna as that of the caves occur associated with implements manufactured by the hand of man, to which we must now direct our attention.
- See, for instance, Desnoyer's "Recherches sur les Cavernes" in the "Dict. Univ. d'Hist. nat." Pengelly, Geologist, vol. v. p. 65. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. i. pt. iii. p. 31. Lyell, "Princ. of Geol.," 10th edit., vol. ii. p. 514, &c.; and W. Boyd Dawkins, "Cave-hunting," 1874. Many British caverns have been well described by Mr. E. A. Martel in his "Irlande et Cavernes Anglaises," Paris, 1897.
- "Gutta cavat lapidem, consumitur annulus usu."—De Pont., lib. iv. El. x. v. 5. See also Lucretius, lib. i. v. 313;—
"Annulus in digito subtertenuatur habendo
Stillicidi casus lapidem cavat."
- See Prestwich, Quar. Journ. Geol. Soc., vol. xi. p. 64.
- See Rev. H. Eley, F.G.S., in Geol., vol. iv. p. 521. Pengelly, Geol., vol. v. p. 65.
- Lyell, "Princ. of Geol.," 10th edit., vol. ii. p. 520.
- "Elements of Geol.," 6th edit., p. 122.
- Plin., "Nat. Hist.," lib. vii. cap. 56.
- Æschylus, "Prom. Vinct.," 1. 452.
- "Laus Serenæ," v. 77.
- Described in the "Reliquiæ Aquitanicæ," London, 1875.
- "Recherches sur les Ossemens fossiles découverts dans les Cavemes de la Province de Liège," 2 vols., 1833.
- Ann. des Sc. Nat. (Zool.), 4th S., vol. xv. p. 231.
- "Les Temps Antéhistoriques en Belgique," 1871.
- Matériaux, vol. iv. p. 453; v. p. 172. Cong. Préh. Bruxelles, 1872, p. 432. Rev. d'Anthrop., 1st S., vol. i. p. 432. "Musée Préhist." Tableau.
- Lartet and Christy in Rev. Arch., vol. ix. p. 238. Le Hon, "L'homme foss.," 36, 62. Mortillet, Matériaux, vol. iii. p. 191.
- "Le Mâcon préh.," Arch, du Mus. d'hist. nat. de Lyon, 1872, vol. i.
- L'Anthropologie, vol. ii. p. 141; vol. vii., 1896, p. 385. Nature, vol. lv., 1897, p. 229.
- "Age de la Pierre," Alcan, Paris, 1891. Bull. de la Soc. dauphinoise d'Ethn., 5 mars, 1894.
- Quar. Journ. G. S., vol. xxv., 1869, p. 192. "Cave-hunting," p. 359.
- Trans. Prehist. Cong., 1868, p. 278.
- Trans. Preh. Cong., 1868, p. 272.
- Beitr. zür Anth. Baierns, vol. ii. p. 210, pl. xii.
- Trans. Preh. Cong., 1868, p. 275. "Cave-hunting," p. 234.
- See "Rel. Aquit.," pp. 93, 94. Trans. Dev. Assoc., vol. vi. p. 322. Journ. Anth. Inst., vol. ii. p. 2.
- Wilson's "Preh. Ann. of Scot.," vol. i. p. 48.
- "Pal. Mem.," vol. ii. p. 522.
- Trans. Devonsh. Assoc., vol. ii. p. 469; iii. 191; iv. 467. To this paper I am largely indebted.
- L. c., vol. iii. p. 203.
- Trans. Dev. Assoc., vol. iii. p. 321.
- L. c., p. 327.
- Proc. G. S., vol. iii. p. 386. Trans. G. S., 2nd S., vol. vi. p. 433.
- Vol. iii. p. 353.
- See Reports of the Brit. Assoc. for the Advancement of Science, 1865-71, inclusive. See also a lecture on "Kent's Cavern, Torquay," by W. Pengelly, Esq., F.R.S., F.G.S., in Proc. R. I. Gt. Britain, Feb. 23, 1866. Dawkins, "Early Man in Britain," p. 194. "Cave-hunting," p. 324.
- Vols. vi. to xviii. See also Quar. Journ. of Science, April, 1874.
- See Report Brit. Assoc. 1873, pp. 206, 209.
- Op. cit., p. 209.
- "Recherches Chimiques sur la Patine des Silex tallés." Montauban, 1866. See also Judd, in Proc. Geol. Assoc., vol. x. p. 218, and Lobley, op. cit., p. 226; as also Comptes Rendus de l'Ac. des Sc., 1875, p. 979.
- Nature, vol. xlii. p. 7.
- Nilsson, "Stone Age," p. 44.
- Dupont, "L'Homme pend. les Ages de la Pierre," p. 71.
- See p. 325 supra.
- "Lapland" (1704), p. 223.
- Dawkins, "Cave-hunting," p. 112
- P. 50.
- L'Anthropologie, vol. vi. 1895, p. 276, and Cartailhac, op. cit., vii. p.
- P. 127.
- P. 361.
- Trans. Dev. Assoc., vol. v p. 179; vii. p. 247.
- L'Anthropologie, vol. v., 1894, p. 371.
- "Palæont. Mem.," vol. ii. p. 486.
- Quar. Journ. Geol. Soc., 1860, vol. xvi. p. 189. Lubbock, "Preh. Times," 4th ed., p. 321. Geologist, vol. i. p. 538; vol. iv. p. 153. Brit. Assoc. Report, 1858.
- P. 471.
- Proc. Dev. Assoc., vol. vi. p. 775.
- "Cave-hunting," p. 319.
- Lyell, "Ant. of Man," 3rd ed., p. 99. Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. i. pt. iii. 31.
- Lubbock, "Preh. Times," 4th ed., p. 296.
- Geologist, vol. iv. p. 154.
- Such as "Reliq. Aquit.," A., pl. v. fig. 2.
- See Proc. Devon. Assoc., vol. vi. p. 835. Phil. Trans., 1873, p. 551.
- Proc. Soc. Ant., 2nd S., vol. viii. p. 247.
- Op. cit., p. 462.
- Trans. Devon. Assoc., vol. xviii. p. 161.
- Op. cit., vol. xix. p. 419.
- Vol. xviii., 1862, p. 115; xix., 1863, 260. See also Dawkins on "The Habits and Conditions of the Two earliest-known Races of Men," Quart. Journ. of Science, 1866, Macmillan's Magazine, Oct. and Dec, 1870, "Cave-hunting," p. 295, and "Early Man in Brit.," p. 193, and Hamy, "Paléont. Humaine," p. 117.
- Vol. xviii. p. 118. For the use of this block I am indebted to the Council of the Geological Society.
- See Lubbock's "Preh. Times," 4th ed., p. 329.
- "Ant. of Man," 3rd ed., p. 171.
- Falconer, "Palæont. Mem.," vol. ii. p. 538. Quar. Journ. Geol. Soc., vol. xvi., 1860, p. 487. Geologist, vol. iii. p. 413.
- "Pal. Mem.," vol. ii. p. 640.
- "Ant. of Man," 3rd ed., p. 173.
- Geologist, vol. vi. p. 47; v. 115.
- Geol. Mag., vol. ii. p. 471.
- Proc. Geol. Assoc., vol. ix. p. 9.
- Q.J.Q.S., vol. xlii. p. 9; xliii. p. 9. Proc. Geol. Assoc., vol. ix. p. 26.
- Q.J.G.S., vol. xliii. p. 112; xliv. 112. Proc. Geol. Assoc., vol. x. p. 14. Nature, vol. ix. p. 14. Brit. Assoc. Rep., 1886.
- Q.J.G.S., vol. xliv. p. 564.
- Q.J.G.S., vol. xliii. p. 116. Journ. Anth. Inst., vol. iii. p. 387. Q.J.G.S., vol. xxxii. p. 91. Dawkins, "Early Man in Brit.," p. 192.
- Geol. Mag., vol. viii. p. 433. Brit. Assoc. Report, 1871.
- Q.J.G.S., vol. xxxi. p. 679; xxxii. p. 240; xxxiii. p. 579; xxxv. p. 724.
- "Early Man in Brit.," p. 175. See also Pennington's "Barrows, and Bone Caves of Derbyshire," p. 99. Journ. Derb. A. and N. H. Soc., vol. iv. (1882), p. 169.
- Jour. Anth. Inst., vol. iii. pp. 392, 516. B. A. Rep., 1874-5. Miall's "Geol., &c., of Craven," 1878, p. 25. J. Geikie's "Preh. Europe," p. 97. Dawkin's "Cave-hunting," p. 81.
- Tr. Derb. A. and N. H. Soc., N. S., vol. i. p. 177.