The Palæolithic Drawing of a Horse from Sherborne, Dorset

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Abstract

IN the third edition of his “Ancient Hunters,” p. 536, Prof. W. J. Sollas states that the drawing of a head of a horse on bone from Sherborne, which I described in 1914 as an example of Palæolithic art, “is a forgery perpetrated by some schoolboys.” I read this statement with surprise, because the bone is in a semi-fossilised condition, and I think all who study the specimen will agree that the drawing must have been made when it was fresh. When it was exhibited to the Geological Society, indeed, it was generally accepted as of Palæolithic age. Through the kindness of Mr. Nowell Smith, headmaster, and Mr. R. Elliot Steel, formerly science master of Sherborne School, I have therefore communicated with Mr. Arnaldo Cortesi, the survivor of the two schoolboys who discovered the bone. He writes, “I confirm the genuineness of the find,” and remarks that at the age of fifteen years he was too ignorant of the subject to take part in any such “trick” as Prof. Sollas suggests.

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