Page images


AMONG THE DISTINGUISHED FOREIGNERS who came to America to study the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago were Prince Roland Bonaparte and Dr. Paul Topinard, who were in America during the months of April and May. Both of these gentlemen have visited our country previously and they are both familiar with the English language.

On returning to Paris, Dr. Topinard contributed to L'Anthropologie a paper of fifty pages upon the science of anthropology in the United States. In his opening chapter he tells us that when a boy he lived eight years in the States, and confesses that the country impressed him more favorably then than it does now, which may be attributed either to a change in the country itself or to transformations which have taken place in the Doctor during the last forty years. Dr. Topinard gives a tolerably good running review of the science of anthropology in America, though he omits the names of Albert Gallatin, Horatio Hale, Squier and Davis, the two Bancrofts, Dr. Washington Matthews, Colonel Charles C. Jones, and others whom he might include in this honored list.

In speaking of the care bestowed by the National Museum upon costume and the neglect of anatomical characters in setting up the figures of Indians, it is quite certain that the Professor has overlooked the immense albums of Indian photographs in Washington, taken front and side face, after the method of Prince Bonaparte and other European ethnologists. There is a standing order by the Commissioner of Indian Affairs that every Indian delegation that comes to Washington shall be so photographed at the Bureau of Ethnology, and these instructions are carefully carried out.

It is quite true that the subject of craniometry has been neglected in America recently, for the reason that the results have not been satisfactory and seem to be rather a kind of will-o'-the-wisp, which ever leads the inquirer on to more numerous and intricate measurements. Be that as it may, the subject has received due consideration at the World's Columbian Exposition, under the management of Professor Putnam.

In the enumeration of collections relating to anthropology and ethnology Dr. Topinard has omitted those from Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis, and San Francisco. He speaks in a very appreciative way of the work done in America, and commends especially the labelling of material and the efforts made in all the collections to make them as available as possible for instruction.

In speaking of the separation, at Washington, of the archeological and ethnological specimens, a remark is made that these two sciences are really one, and that the material ought not to be kept apart. This is no doubt true. There is no place in the world where this unity of the two sciences is more strenuously maintained than it is in the city of Washington.

Perhaps the most important point in Dr. Topinard's paper is his summary of the discussions which have taken place recently regarding early man in America. In all his remarks upon this subject he takes the side of Dr. Abbott, Dr. Cresson, Professor Wright, and other advocates of the high antiquity of man, and has wholly failed to comprehend the purport of numerous recent and striking developments pointing in the other direction. Professing to approach the subject with unbiased mind, his writing bears every evidence of the dominance of preconceived opinions.

There are two distinct questions now agitated by American anthropologists, based on the recent investigations of Mr. W. H. Holmes. The first of these relates to the status of culture indicated by the rude paleolith-like flaked stones, thought by the finders to have been obtained from glacial formations. These objects are, on closer examination, found in every case to be identical with the ordinary rejects of the arrow-maker of the region concerned, and our archeologists argue that since these are not verified implements they are not, even if found in the gravels, a competent index of the grade of culture reached by the peoples who made them. Up to this time no reliable proofs of the actual status of the hypothetic glacial culture have been obtained. The whole number of rudely flaked stones reported from the gravels in place does not exceed one hundred, and the finders have, as a rule, been either unskilled observers of glacial phenomena or without a due appreciation of the consequences of superficial observation.

The second question relates to the evidence of man's antiquity in America. Mr. Holmes has carefully and systematically examined

the testimony furnished by Dr. Abbott in the Delaware valley, Dr. Metz and Mr. Mills in the Ohio valley, and Miss Babbitt on the upper Mississippi—the only evidence of importance yet presented. The result is that a large part of the evidence is wholly thrown out, and the remainder is shown to be so meagre and embarrassed as to leave the affirmative proposition practically unsupported. The indications point to the conclusion that the finds of shaped stones referred to the gravels in place are modern shop refuse, involved in the talus deposits in comparative recent times.

Dr. Topinard, in his review, does not reflect the status of conviction with respect to this question now prevalent among its adherents in America. This position seems to be that of waiting for new and confirmatory evidence. This is indicated by the fact, not observed by our learned visitor, that there was not when he was in Chicago, and there is not there now, one single American specimen concerning which the owner or exhibitor was willing to risk his reputation by calling it definitely a “ paleolith.”

This new condition of affairs is due largely to the researches of Mr. Holmes, who while demonstrating the total inadequacy of the evidences of glacial paleolithic man in America has presented his views with commendable modesty. The time has come, however, when the earnest student of the history of man should be correctly informed, and this leads me to make, with great diffidence, a suggestion. Dr. Topinard calls Dr. Abbott the Boucher de Perthes of America. No one has been more diligent in his archeological work than Dr. Abbott, and he himself has said that he laid no claims to infallibility in regard to any provisional conclusions to which he had come concerning the geological horizon of the Trenton finds. In the light of what has recently transpired in America it would be well for our friends in France specially to review the grounds of their opinions with reference to such excavations as those at Abbeville and Chelles. I do not come to the hasty conclusion that European archeology is to be written in the light of American discovery, but I do wish to declare that a sufficiency of new light has been thrown upon our work in this continent to make it worth while for our friends abroad to examine afresh the foundations of their belief. It is quite within the limits of possibility that Boucher de Perthes may turn out to have been the Dr. Abbott of France.

Dr. Topinard speaks very kindly with respect to the work of American confrères, and the want of appreciation of the latest archeological labor done here is to be attributed to his own predilections, to his intimate association with the friends of paleolithic man when he was in America, and to his very short stay in the opening month of the Exposition, when so little of the precious material was really arranged.

Dr. Topinard shquld come again when he can remain longer and when he will have time to go patiently over the evidence brought out in recent explorations of the Bureau of Ethnology.


MASHONALAND TEMPLE ORIENTATION.—I have examined two ruined temples of the Zimbabwe period and style, situated at the confluence of the Lotsani and Limpopo rivers, in south latitude 22° 39' 42", east longitude 28° 16' 30". The temples show the same system of orientation and geometrical construction as the great temple at Zimbabwe. I cleared the bush from the more perfect of the two temples of the Lotsani and made a careful measurement of many of the radii of the one curve of which it consists. I oriented directly from the center to the curve and saw the sun from that point set just to the left of the middle of the main doorway. On correcting the position of the sun for its decrease in declination during the seventeen days which had elapsed since the solstice, I found that it would set at the solstice exactly in a line with the center of the arc and the middle of the doorway. This direct measurement and observation should remove any doubt as to the applicability of our theory of the construction of the plans of these temples.--Swan, in the Geographical Journal, London, Sept., 1893, Pp. 263, 264.

FINGER PRINTS IN INDIA. The commander-in chief of the military forces of India has approved the proposal to employ impressions in ink of the fore, middle, and ring fingers of each recruit as a means of identification.


Boehmische Korallen aus der Goetterwelt: Folkloristische Boerse

berichte vom Goetter-und Mythenmarkte. Von Friedrich S. Krauss. (His temporibus satiram scribere non difficile.) Wien, 1893. Verlag der Gebrueder Rubinstein (vii Neubaug, 29). Druck von Philipp & Kramer, Wien. 8vo, pp. viii-147.

The title of this latest work of Dr. Krauss, the distinguished Slavic ethnologist, requires some explanation for western readers.

Bohemian corals" is a term used in Austria to designate brass beads, trumpery jewelry, and other things of deceptive value, about equivalent to that of our own wooden nutmegs. In this book of about 150 pages the doctor has turned aside from his usual labor of love in elucidating the rich folklore and epic traditions of Servia and Croatia to produce one of the bitterest satires it has been our fortune to read for a long time. To those who know the conditions under which Krauss and other gifted men of his race exist in Europe the reasons for much of this bitterness are not hard to understand.

In the first part he discusses at length several philologic “corals." Among others he tells us of a learned professor whose ambition it was to produce a monumental dictionary of the South Slavic dialects, and who was accustomed to make every casual stranger from an out-of-the-way district stand and deliver whatever he had in the way of obscure words or phrases. On one occasion he got hold of the doctor's servant and, according to his usual method, set him down before a bottle of wine, reinforced by fifty kreutzers, and called upon him for "uncommon words." Thus importuned, the rascal, as he himself afterward boasted, set his brains to work to “invent such words as never were heard," and when the doctor afterward visited the professor he found him in ecstasies over having obtained “sixteen entirely new words in a single hour!"

Another instance is that of a Gallo-Roman figure bearing for an inscription the single word Encina, which for some time was the subject of learned controversy among French savants. One asserted that it represented the Gallic god of death, while another proved by

« PreviousContinue »