FLINT INSTRUMENTS AND PRE-HISTORIC MAN

[Extracted from Knowledge, vol. 2, June 23, 1882, p. 60.]



[436]A friend of mine, who has just returned from Natal, and who had heard nothing of the discussions and theories on the above subject, and on whose veracity I can thoroughly rely, has been employed in making the Durban and Maritzburg Railway. In conversation the other evening, he told me that in making the Umgeni cutting (through red loam, gravel, and limestone rock) at 14 feet from the surface, from which a dense forest had been previously cleared, in the red loam his Kaffirs came upon the remains of a fire, charred sticks, &c.; close by this he found what he describes as a well-made and beautifully-finished flint adze-head, the cutting-face sloping from one corner to the other, with a bevelled edge like a chisel, and the other end finished off with a round flat knob.

Again, at 10 ft. from the surface, in the hard gravel, he found a good many flint instruments, the two most remarkable ones being a round stone, about the size of a large orange, very much flattened at each pole, with a in. hole drilled through it, and by the side of it a stone handle 7 or 8 in. long, one end just fitting through the hole, and the other end rounded off; when put together it had just the appearance of a small stonemason's mallet. At a short distance from this was a stone quoit, almost exactly like the iron ones at present in use, except that, from where the indentation for the thumb is, the circle was cut straight across, for about quarter of the circumference, by a round handle. The whole of these curiosities were taken possession of by the engineer of the line.

When the geological formation of Natal, and the pretty well-founded idea that the whole of the country has been denuded by a great out-rush of waters from a great lake once covering nearly the whole of what is now the Orange Free State, is considered, we are compelled to give an antiquity to the possessors of these implements as great as, or even greater than, that given to similar tribes of men in Europe.

W. M.