The North Sea Ice Sheet


IN his letter in NATURE, May 3 (p. 5), my friend Prof. Hughes calls attention to a most important fact. In archæology it has long been known how necessary it is to make sure that not only the exact provénance of an object is ascertained, but also that when found it was in situ, and was not the result of a later disturbance of the ground. Thus Mr. Franks has a pricket candlestick, made at Limoges, which was found several feet deep in gravel at Calcutta, and this strange fact was only explained when it was discovered that the gravel in question was ballast, which had been dredged from the Thames, deposited in the hold of a vessel, and redeposited at Calcutta. The same caution is more especially needed in geology. Prof. Hughes describes the foreign ballast which he saw stranded on our east coast, and warns us of the very wrong inferences that may be deduced from it. I would add to his statement that it was the custom of the old Danish pirates to use blocks of stone as anchors, and thus no doubt some foreign boulders have found their way to the east coast of Britain.

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