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Harper's Library of Living Thought

Reconstruction of the Head of the Gibraltar Man.
(One-third natural size.)




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IN this little book the author has tried to give
the chief conclusions he has reached after a
prolonged study of the remains of ancient man.
The reader will find that the scale of time which
answers so well for present-day affairs will scarcely
serve him when he comes to place ancient man in
his proper perspective in the past. Instead of
reckoning from a date which is dear to a large
part of the world, viz. the Birth of Christ, he
must begin at the present time and count steadily
backwards into the past. The Metallic period is
the first, one in which men have used copper, bronze,
and iron — a period which we suppose to extend
about 4000 years back. The metallic period was
preceded by one in which Europeans used finely
worked stones as implements, and hence it is
usually named the Neolithic Period. It is a
long period, probably six times as long as the
metallic ; it may be fixed provisionally at 25,000
years, but it was very probablv much longer than

Beyond the Neolithic Period we enter the
Late Paleolithic Period — one which extended
from the Neolithic Period to the end of the Ice

. xi


Age ; the length of this period is estimated
provisionally at about 150,000 years. On entering
the Late Paleolithic Period the stone implements
used by Europeans are seen to be of a more
massive and rather rougher type of workmanship.
Animals were then living in Central and South
Europe which have disappeared — the reindeer
and the mammoth. The period just named falls
within the latter part of the geologists' Pleistocene

The Late Paleolithic Period was preceded by the
Early Paleolithic Period, one of very great but
uncertain length. It lies within the glacial period,
which was broken by at least three temperate
intervals. The Early Paleolithic Period probably
covers the last two of these intervals. Its duration
is variously estimated from 200,000 to 400,000
years. At the beginning of this period the dominant
race of Europe was the Neanderthal type of man ;
at its close Europeans were of the modern type.

Beyond the Early Paleolithic Age is another
stone period — the Eolithic, one in which man used
crudely fashioned flints to serve his various needs.
This period is assigned provisionally to the first
of the interglacial periods, and carries us back
to the beginning of the Pleistocene Period. To the
Eolithic Period a duration of 100,000 to 150,000
years is assigned.

The Eolithic and Paleolithic Periods of the
Anthropologist correspond roughly to the Pleisto-



cene of the Geologist. The duration of the
Pleistocene is estimated here at from 450,000 to
700,000 years, but it is right to state that a much
higher figure is given by most authorities. The
reader will see that the estimates are little better
than guesses, but it is only by making such rough
calculations that we may hope to obtain the facts
on which a more certain estimate may be built.

Beyond the Pleistocene we enter the Pliocene
Period of the earth's History. Whether or not
we have found the remains of Pliocene man is a
question still open to debate, but the reader will
find the problem discussed in the chapter which
deals with the Fossil Man of Java.

All the illustrations are drawn from actual
specimens by a method employed by the author,
who is indebted to Mr. William Finerty for
accurately reproducing the original drawings in a
more finished form.

A. Keith.

Royal College of Surgeons, England.
September, 191 1.

■ • ■




I. An Ancient English Type from

Essex . . . . i

II. The Tilbury Man . 10

III. The Dartford Type . . .22

IV. The Galley Hill Man. The

Oldest Human Remains yet
found in England . . . 28

V. The Men of Brunn and Combe-

Capelle . . . . 46

VI. The Grimaldi or Negroid Type

in Europe . . 59

VII. An Ancient Race of Tall Men:

The Cro-Magnon . . 64

VIII. The Round-Headed Type . . 74

IX. Heidelberg Man . . . 78

X. Krapina Men . . . 94




XL Neanderthal Man . . . 101

XII. Neanderthal Man in Belgium and

France . . . . 109

XIII. Gibraltar Man . . .121

XIV. Fossil Man of Java — Pithecan-

thropus Erectus . . -131

XV. Ancient Types of America . .141



Reconstruction oftheHeadof theGibraltar Man Frontispiece


1. Diagrammatic Section of Coast Line, showing ex-

posure of prehistoric surface, with position of

the skeleton . . ... 2

2. Profile of the Skull of the Essex Woman, with soft

parts indicated. (One-third natural size. ) . . 5

3. Section of the strata at Tilbury . . .11

4. Profile of the cranium of the Tilbury Man. (One-

third natural size.) . . . . 18

5. Diagrammatic section across the Thames Valley to

show the terraces and buried river bed . . 23

6. Profile of the Dartford cranium compared with the

" river-bed " type found in Langwith Cave. (One-
third natural size.) . . . . 25

7. Profile of the skull of the Galley Hill Man . . 36

8. Galley Hill skull— full face. (One-third natural size.) 38

9. The profile of the Briinn and Galley Hill skulls.

(One-third natural size. ) . . . . 48

10. Section of the strata in which the ancient human

remains were found at Combe-Capelle . . 52

11. Profile of the skull of the Combe-Capelle Man com-

pared with the profile of the Galley Hill Man.
(One third natural size.) . . 55




12. The site of the discovery of the Cro-Magnon Race.

The foreground represents a section. A — Lime-
stone Cliff. B — Ledge overhanging the Ancient
Shelter. C — Debris fallen from the cliff in which
the remains weie found. D — Alluvium. (After
Quatrefages. ) . . ... 65

13. Profile of a Cro-Magnon skull with the outline of

the Dartford cranium traced on it. (One-third
natural size. ) . . . 68

14. Face view of the Cro-Magnon Race. (One-third

natural size. ) . . . 70

15. A diagram of the strata of the pit in which the

Heidelberg mandible was found. A cross marks

the spot. (After Schoetensack.) . . . 80

16. Profile drawing of the Heidelberg mandible (in out-

line) contrasted with the lower jaw of a Modern
European (shaded). (Half natural size). . . 82

17. Profile of the Heidelberg mandible (outline) con-

trasted with that of the mandible of a chimpan-
zee (shaded). (Half natural size. ) . . . 84

18. Heidelberg mandible with attempted reconstruction

of the head. (One-third natural size. ) . . 89

19. Profiles of the Heidelberg (outline) and Spy (shaded)

mandibles superimposed for comparison. (Half
natural size.) . . . 91

20. Outline of Neanderthal form of skull (shade J) com-

pared with the Galley Hill type (outline). (One.-
third natural size. ) . . . . 103

21. Thigh bone of Neanderthal (outline) and modern

man (shaded) contrasted. (One-fifth natural size. ) 106

22. Section of the strata in which the skeleton was

found at Ferrassie . . . .114




23. Section of a talus or terrace at Gibraltar of similar

formation to the one in which the famous skull

was found. (H. D. Acland.) . . . 123

24. Profile of the Gibraltar cranium (shaded) compared

with modern English skull (outline). (One-third
natural size.) . . . . . 126

25. Face view of the Gibraltar skull. (One-third

natural size.). . . . . . 12S

26. Profile of Gibraltar skull. (One-third natural size. ) 129

27. Section of the bank of the Bengawan, showing the

position of the fossil-bearing stratum in which

the remains of the fossil man were found . .132

28. The profile of the calvaria of the fossil man of Java

(shaded) compared with the Gibraltar cranium
(outline). (One-third natural size. ) . 135

29. A tracing of the profile of the La Tigra cranium

(outline) compared with the profile of the skull of
the Arkansas loess man (shaded). (One-third
natural size.) . . ... 145






AS I sit down to write the story of the various
forms which the body of man has assumed in
ancient times, I find it difficult to determine
whether I should begin at the beginning, or at the
end. Were the story now complete, there would
be no difficulty ; it should be told from the
beginning. Some day, no doubt, it will be told
thus, but at present the known phases of man's
earlv history are so few, so fragmentary and so
isolated, that a survey of the later and bettir
known phases is needed to place the earlier stages
in their proper perspective. For that reason, I
propose to reverse the usual order, and trace man's
phvsical history from the present into the far past.
The individual selected as the first type is one
discovered in 1910 on the coast of Essex, near
Walton-on-Xaze, some fifty miles north of the
estuary of the Thames. The sea there washes



against a flat coast-line, cutting into and exposing
on the beach remains of a buried or prehistoric
floor containing many worked flints. Over this
prehistoric floor is a stratum — 8 to 10 feet in
depth — of clay. The prehistoric floor, now being


Fig. i. Diagrammatic Section of Coast Line, showing ex-
posure of prehistoric surface, with position of the skeleton.

exposed by the tide, has been closely studied by
Mr. Hazzeldine Warren. It was at one time dry-
land, on which men lived and worked. The
number of years which has passed since then
may be roughly guessed. Flints of the finished
or Neolithic type, certain forms of pottery, and


also traces of the foundations of dwellings and of
hearths are found, from which we infer that this
floor must be assigned to the end of the Neolithic,
or commencement of the Bronze Age. In round
numbers, about 4000 years ago. We infer, then,
that the east coast of Essex has been slowly
sinking, the prehistoric surface being partly sub-
merged by the sea, and partly buried beneath a
deep layer of rain-washed clay, which has been
deposited over it, thus preserving for us the traces
of a bygone civilization. Beneath this pre-
historic floor Mr. Warren has found traces of an
older civilization.

On a September afternoon of 1910 Mr. Hazzel-
dine Warren and his companion, Mr. Miller Christy,
wire searching the beach for washed-out flints,
when they found that the tide had exposed — 2 feet
below the prehistoric floor and 12 feet below the
surface of the original coast-line— the leg of a
human skeleton. Setting to work, they quickly
exposed a complete human skeleton, lying on its
left side, with the face to the east and the head
to the north. It was in the " contracted posture,"
the limbs having been bound closely to the body
by grass ropes, remnants of which were found.
Inside the ribs was found a heap — nearly a pint —
of fruit seeds of the blackberry and dog-rose.
That discovery throws light on the nature of the
di( t and the season of the y< ar when deatli over-
took this individual. Clearly, too, it was a burial,


not the chance interment which overtakes those
who find a last bed in the sea or the river. Nor
could it have been a burial made in recent times,
for until the other day the grave lay twelve feet
below the surface. The grave was at least as old,
and perhaps older, than the prehistoric floor.
The skeleton was permeated by the fine clay and
sand in which it lay, and so wonderfully pre-
served that a very complete picture can be formed
of the person in life. We have here a specimen of a
Late Neolithic Briton.

It seems almost ridiculous to have to admit that
there was at first some difficulty in determining the
sex of the individual thus discovered. In life
even an infant can tell a man from a woman,
but when there is only the skeleton, the most ex-
pert anatomist sometimes feels a difficulty. As
a rule the pelvis, because it is so closely connected
with the functions of child-bearing, provides
the most certain grounds. In the present case,
the evidence of the pelvis was equivocal ; its
characters were more those of a man than of a
woman, yet when its breadth was compared with
that of the chest, a marked female character was
recognized : it was decidedly wider than the chest,
whereas in man the chest is usually wider than the
lower, or pelvic, part of the body. The muscular
attachments to the base of the skull showed the
delicate tapering neck of the woman ; the skull
itself was in all its features feminine. The bones



Fig. 2. Profile of the Skull of the lissex Woman, with
soft parts indicated. (One-third natural size.)


were delicately moulded, the face was of the
narrow oval type so much admired in modern
times ; the nose was narrow and finely moulded.
The hands and feet were small, the bones of the
limbs slender and rather short, as compared
to the length of the body. The skeleton is clearly
that of a woman, with the lower part of the body
rather contracted and straight — not an uncommon

Although 5 ft. 4 in. in height, rather above the
modern average, her slenderness must have made
her appear tall. At the time of death she was
about twenty-five years of age, for there was evi-
dence that the growth lines of her long bones had
recently closed, and all the sutures of the skull
were open and the bones thin. Her head was well
moulded and poised and comparatively small. The
cavity for the brain measured 1260 cubic centi-
metres, which, although quite as large as many
modern women of her build, is yet 40 cc. below the
modern female average.

With her relatively small, well-poised head
and regular features, this woman, were she to
appear in a modern assembly, would still pass
as a good representative of her sex and race. Four
thousand years seem to have worked compara-
tively little change in the best type of British
woman. In head form she might represent the
students now attending the Women's School of
Medicine, London. Mr. F. G. Parsons measured



fifty of these and found the average length of
head to be 175 mm. — one mm. less than in the
ancient Essex woman ; the greatest width of
head was the same in both, viz. 137 mm. ; the
height of the head above the ear-holes was almost
the same, viz. 117 mm. in the modern women
^udents of medicine and 116 mm. in the Neolithic
woman. Thus, not only the absolute dimensions,
but the relative proportions are almost the same,
the width of the head being about y8 per cent
of the length in both. They occupy a position
intermediate to the long and narrow heads
(dolichocephalic), which we shall meet with in
very ancient times in Britain, and the extremely
short and wide (brachycephalic) heads found in
Central Europe now.

If time has altered but little the general type of
English woman since Neolithic times, it has
affected some of her features. In the Essex woman ,
not one of the thiriy-twG teeth the zoologist
names them permanent teeth — was lost by disease
or accident. The teeth were regularly placed
and the palate was well formed, whereas to-day
in more than fifty per cent of women, the palate
is apt to be contracted in width and the teeth
irregularly placed. We blame our food and our
modern conditions 01 life for these defects, but
while we blame them, we do not quite understand
how they produce these effects on the palate,
and nose, and teeth. We can see very plainly


that the act of mastication has altered. In the
great majority of modern British people, the lower
incisor teeth pass up behind the crowns of the
upper, when the jaw is closed in chewing ; in the
Essex woman, as in the majority of Neolithic
people and as in modern native races, the incisor
teeth meet edge to edge. Our modern teeth are
used merely for crushing food, very little side to
side grinding movement taking place ; indeed,
as the lower incisors pass behind the upper they
become locked, and little side to side movement is
possible. The edge to edge bite in Neolithic
man allowed the most free side to side grinding
movement. This movement, combined with the
roughness or grittiness of the food led to the crowns
of the teeth being worn down in a manner not
seen in modern British teeth. In Neolithic man
the hard surface enamel was worn off the crowns,
thus exposing the dentine which forms the main
body of the tooth. The sensitive pulp was rarely
exposed in the teeth of Neolithic man, because the
dentine reacted to the grinding movement and
filled the pulp cavity. Although only about
twenty-five years of age, the teeth of the Essex
woman show the dentine already freely exposed
on their grinding surfaces. The well-developed
jaws, and various markings on the skull, point to
large-sized muscles of mastication. The seeds of
wild fruits indicate the nature of the diet ; we
know, too, that the Neolithic people had their


corn-patches, their querns for grinding, their Hocks
and their looms. In every sense of the term they
were a civilized people. Their fare, if rough, was
evidently suited to a healthy development of the
teeth, mouth, throat, and nose. The retrograde
changes in the teeth, palate, and nose are the most
remarkable, and, from a medical point of view,
the most important evolutionary changes seen
in the body of man in recent times.

One other feature of the Essex woman deserves
a brief mention. The bones pf her right arm
show a high degree of specialization ; she was not
only right-handed, but the contour of the shoulder
joint, the muscular impressions of the humerus,
and the shape of the forearm bones show
clearly that she was engaged in some occupation
which required the constant repetition of a set of
right - arm movements. Whether these were
connected with the loom or the quern it is im-
possible to say ; whether a lady of high degree, or
merely a handmaiden, she had her daily round of
specialized toil.


1EAVING the east coast of Essex, I propose
_^ to conduct the reader to the valley of the
Thames, and introduce a man who lived there
many thousands of years before the Essex woman
was born. This individual came to light under
the following circumstances. About half-way
between London and the sea there is a stretch of
flat marshy land on the north bank of the Thames,
where now the Tilbury Docks are situated. In
1883, when they were excavated, a great bed of
stratified sand was reached at a depth of 31 feet
below the marsh surface. In the upper layer of
the sand-stratum were found pieces of decayed and
blackened wood and other objects which showed
that at a remote period the sand bed had formed
the exposed shore or bank of the Thames. About
3 feet below this ancient surface, and 34 feet
below the present marsh level, was found the
fragmentaiy skeleton of a man. From the fact
that the whole skeleton was represented, and that
it was found below an old surface, we may pre-
sume, as in the last case, that there had been a



burial, but no observation was made on the
position of parts nor were any traces of man's
handiwork found. Whether his implements were
of the rough and very ancient Paleolithic form, or



Fig. 3. Section of the strata at Tilbury.

of the more recent and finer Neolithic type, we
do not know nor are we certain of the animab
that then inhabited the Thames Valley ; but from
evidence to be produced the Tilbury man mav
be provisionally assigned to the beginning of the
Neolithic period.



It is impossible to frame in years any accurate
estimate of the period that has elapsed since the
Tilbury man was alive, but at least a period of
30,000 years seems necessary to account for the
great changes which have occurred in the lower
Thames Valley since he was buried in a stratum
which now lies 34 feet below the surface of the
land. We have seen that a prehistoric stratum on
the east coast of Essex, which is estimated to be
4000 years olel, has been submerged and buried
beneath a layer of clay varying from 8 to 10 feet
in thickness. If the Thames Valley had been sub-
merged at the same rate — 2 feet in a thousand
years — then the Tilbury prehistoric stratum
would have an antiquity of only 15,000 years.
There are reasons for supposing the submergence
in the Thames Valley, with a corresponding
formation of land over the sinking surface, to have
occurred at a much slower rate. No evidence lias
been found of any appreciable change in the level
or contour of the banks of the lower Thames
during the last 2000 years. Since the Roman in-
vasion of England there seems to have been little
or no subsidence in this region, yet it is possible
that changes have taken place more rapidly in
remote periods ; but there is no positive evidence
that bears out this supposition. The nature of the
strata which have been found over the prehistoric
surface at Tilbury indicates that the land changes
have taken place very gradually. Immediately



over the buried surface have been formed 15 feet
of alternate layers of peat and mud, strata which
indicate a low rate of subsidence. (Fig. 3.) Over
the mud'peat layers arc strata of mud and clay 16
feet in thickness. A subsidence of 31 feet, with the
formation of strata of peat, mud, and clay, implies
an enormous change in physical characters of the
lower valley of the Thames. When fuller and
more accurate evidence as to the rate of depression
has been accumulated, it will probably be found
that on an average a subsidence of a foot for every
1000 years is a high rather than a low estimate.
At least it will be apparent, when we come to
examine the characters of the skeleton discovered
at Tilbury beneath 31 feet of strata, that whether
the period be 15,000 or 30,000 of years, the physi-
cal characters of the Thames Valley have changed
infinitely more than those of its inhabitants.

It is a fortunate circumstance that the dis-
covery of the Tilbury remains was made at a time
when the questions relating to man's antiquity
were being discussed and the importance of sucli
finds as historical documents realized. The re-
mains were examined by the veteran zoologist,
Sir Richard Owen, then approaching his eightieth
year, who published a description of them. They
are now preserved in the British Natural History
Museum, South Kensington, where visitors may
examine to-day the broken skull cap, the lower
jaw, the fragmentary bones of the limbs and



body and turn aside from them, I fear, little
realizing their significance. Their importance lies
in this, that these broken human bones, when
carefully examined and compared with modern
specimens, as I have had lately the privilege of
doing, show us that a type of man, similar in
stature and formation, still exists in Britain. He
has remained unchanged during the thousands
of years that have elapsed since the Tilbury
man walked on a surface which lies 30 feet
and more below that on which the Roman
soldiers marched. In Owen's time those scientists
who had come, under Darwin's influence, to
believe in the evolution of man, expected to find
in an individual so ancient as the Tilbury man
some distinct trace of his Simian origin. That was
because there was then in human thought an
erroneous idea of the antiquity of man's origin ;
his antiquity was then measured by a few thousand

So far as the physical appearance of the Tilbury
man is concerned, he might be one of us ; he
belongs in all his features to the modern type. It
w r ould mean little to the reader were I to com-
pare him to the average Briton of to-day. We

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