On the Discovery of Palæolithic Implements of Interglacial Age


THE opinion that palæolithic man was a post-glacial being has been steadily losing ground among certain geologists whose studies render their opinions of considerable weight. Mr. Pengelly and Prof. Ramsay have stated their conviction that the old stone folk may have witnessed the commencement of glacial conditions, and have been driven south by the increasing severity of the climate. Prof. Dawkins has expressed his belief that while our rude ancestors hunted the elephant, glaciers still lingered in our mountain-valleys. Mr. Tiddeman goes further, and ascribes to them an inter-glacial age, and, as it seems to me, proved his point by the discovery of implements and a human bone beneath glacial-clay in the Settle Cave. Mr. James Geikie boldly advanced the opinion that all our palæolithic implements are of inter-glacial age, and an intimate knowledge of the glacial beds and gravels of the central and eastern counties led me independently to a similar conclusion. In making this last statement I particularly desire it to be understood that no claim is preferred to the theory as my own, for while I was almost fearful of my temerity in even thinking such things, my friend Mr. Geikie had brought his great stores of knowledge to bear upon the point, and has made it peculiarly his own. Nevertheless the fact that two geologists working independently in different districts should arrive at similar conclusions is no mean argument in our favour. The evidence upon which my convictions are based is given in my “Geology of the Fen-land,” and in my “Manufacture of Gun-flints,” &c., to be shortly issued by the Geological Survey, and in the forthcoming edition of the “Great Ice Age.”

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SKERTCHLY, S. On the Discovery of Palæolithic Implements of Interglacial Age. Nature 14, 448–449 (1876). https://doi.org/10.1038/014448b0

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