Gamble, Clive and Moutsiou, Theodora
The time revolution of 1859 and the stratification of the Primeval mind
Notes and Records of The Royal Society, 65, (1), . (doi:10.1098/rsnr.2010.0099).
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Archaeologists regard the demonstration of human antiquity in 1859 as a major breakthrough in the development of prehistoric studies. However, the significance of this event, although acknowledged by other disciplines, is largely passed over. We investigate why this is so by examining the procedures that the antiquary John Evans and the geologist Joseph Prestwich used to make their argument. We present previously unreported documents from the Royal Society's Library that show how they built their case for a prehistory without history. Instead it fell to two other antiquaries-archaeologists, John Lubbock and General Augustus Lane-Fox, to flesh out the discovery of deep time. Lubbock supplied a contemporary human face for the makers of Palaeolithic stone tools in the form of Tasmanian aborigines, and Lane-Fox, through his artefact-based ‘philosophy of progress’, presented a model of a stratified mind that contained primeval elements. These events, which took place between 1859 and 1875, set the pattern for research into human origins for the next century
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