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Everyday Life in Prehistoric Times
Written and Illustrated by Marjorie & C. H. B. Quennell


THIS little book has come into being as a result of another that we wrote, and illustrated, between 1915 and 1919. It was intended for boys and girls, and we called it a History of Everyday Things in England. An attempt was made to draw the eyes of our readers away from the Destruction which was to the fore in those days, and to present instead a picture of all the care and trouble which had gone to the Construction of the everyday things that were being destroyed. We gave the matter very careful consideration, and it seemed to us essential that the things illustrated should be of a type with which our readers would be familiar. Boys and girls, in their summer holidays, might have seen the Norman work at Norwich or Castle Rising, or the Renaissance work of Inigo Jones at Raynham. With some reluctance we made no mention of any earlier work. The doings of Roman, Saxon, and Dane were only hinted at, and the prehistoric period was not mentioned at all. We started with William the Conqueror, and finished at the end of the eighteenth century. Since we appear to have interested many boy and girl readers, we now want to fill in the long space before 1066.

One is so apt to lump together all the earlier work, and think of it as having been done in a few centuries ; the sense of perspective is lost. History is rather like travelling on the railway, the events flash past like telegraph posts, the nearer ones having their due spaces in between; but if we look back, the events, like the posts, are all bunched together and we cannot realize the spaces. These spaces are as important as the events of History, and represent the periods when people were making up their minds ; recovering perhaps from great discisters, or gathering their forces to go forward.

The races of mankind, like their works, develop by growth to flower and decay, but always there is a re-birth or renaissance. The Magdalenian Art we illustrate, died out in Azilian times, yet still lives to inspire us ; that is the boys and girls who want to do work, because if History is divided into events, and spaces, then the people are divided into those who have ideas, and want to do and make things, and the others who only deal in the ideas, and benefit by them.

Personally we hold that History is not just dates, but a long tale of man's life, labour, and achievement; and if this be so, we cannot afford to neglect the doings of prehistoric men, who, with flint for their material, made all the implements and weapons they needed for their everyday life.

Here is an illustration of what we mean. William of Malmesbury wrote in the twelfth century, of a monk of the monastery, Elmer by name, who made a flying machine and flew for more than the distance of a furlong; but, agitated by the violence of the wind and the current of air, as well as by the consciousness of his rash attempt, he fell and broke his legs, and was lame ever after. He used to relate as the cause of his failure, his forgetting to provide himself a tail." Elmer was lamed because, being a pioneer, he lacked any history to go on ; he did not leave any design behind him, but think how interesting it would have been had he done so. The twelfth century is hardly prehistoric, but sufficiently so to emphasize the principle, that there is something to be found out from work well done in any period.

Now to describe the everyday life of prehistoric man is difiScult, because there is not any history to go on. This is why we talk about these times as prehistoric. For any period after the Roman occupation we have the actual written word to depend upon ; even before that, in 330 B.C., Pytheas of Marseilles sailed to Britain, and said the climate was foggy and damp, and the people raised quantities of corn. In the prehistoric period we have only the everyday things, and the physical characteristics of the earth itself ; so the pick and shovel become more useful than the pen, and men dig for the information they need.

We call the pick and shovel historian an Archaeologist, from the Greek archaios, ancient, and logos, discourse. The archaeologist is helped by the astronomers and mathematicians, who are called in to decide in matters of climatic change like the Glacial Periods. A skull is found, like the one at Piltdown in Sussex, and the anatomists examine it carefully to fit it into its place as a link in the chain of man's development. The science of man and mankind is called Anthropology, from anihropos, a man, and logos, discourse. The science of life is Biology. Flint implements are found, are being found now by Mr. Reid Moir, under a bed which dates from Pliocene times. The geologists are called in, and the great problem is debated, whether man could have lived on the earth in this period.

So one must know something of geology, which is the science that deals with the structure of the earth. A tremendous amount of work has been done in—what is, from the historical point of view—a very short time. We give references in the text which show how very recent a growth is Archaeology. Many books have been written, but these are on the whole not suitable for boys and girls. We have therefore taken the ascertained and proved facts, and have plotted these out as a plan. If our readers are interested in this plan they can themselves raise a superstructure of more advanced knowledge, and to this end our authorities are named in this Introduction. We do not lay claim to any great store of archaeological knowledge ourselves, and have approached our task rather as illustrators. As painter and architect, who have been making things ourselves all our lives, we may perhaps be able to treat of the work of prehistoric man in a sympathetic fashion, and hope our pictures will help boys and girls to see these old people a little.

This brings up the question of how we are to approach prehistoric man. We must free our minds of prejudice. Some people will say that he was a loathsome creature, incredibly dirty and unpleasant. Obviously this could not have been the case with the Magdalenians, whose work we see on p. 95. There will be other people who \vill regard our friend as the Noble Savage, and clothe him in their minds with all the simple virtues. It will not do to jump to conclusions. Shall we judge him by his WORK? If we try to find out how he lived, the tools he used, and the things that he made with them, then in the end we shall have a picture in our own minds. This is the essential part of reading a book, that it should help us to form our own conclusions. So we do not seek to teach, nor do we wish to preach, but we do want to interest our readers, and here we give you fair warning. If we can do so; if this subtle little microbe can work its way into your system, and you begin to grub about, and want to find out how things were made and done, then for the rest of your long lives the itching little worry will condemn you to go on grubbing, and you will become archaeologists yourselves.

We should like to thank our Publishers for the trouble they have taken in publishing ; Mr. Reginald Smith and Mr. O. G. S. Crawford for kindly advice ; Mr. Reid Moir for permission to include our drawing of his theory of flint flaking; and our very special thanks are due to Professor H. J. Fleure and Dr. A. C. Haddon, who not only read through our MS. and proofs with the greatest care, but as well made many suggestions which we feel have added to the value of the book. We are indebted to our friend Mr. Harold Falkner for information as to Farnham flints, and M. Forestier and Mr. Cox, of the London Library, for suggestions as to authorities.

Berkhamsted, Herts,
September 1921.

Electric Scotland Note: We have made this book available below but note that the book is in two part with the second taking us into the Iron Age.  The Introduction and first two pages are missing in this book so as you'll see I've found another version of Part 1 and so above have taken the introduction from it and below have included the two missing pages.



WE said in our Introduction that the archaeologist is a pick and shovel historian. He investigates the lives of the ancient peoples, by the remains which they have left behind them; he needs must dig for his information, because the very earliest times are prehistoric, and no written word remains. To dig is to find out how the earth's crust is built up, and we must have some knowledge of its structure, if we are to understand the many evidences of life that we shall find. Geology, or the science of the earth, is of very recent growth. It was during  the Renaissance, in the sixteenth century, that men first began to understand the meaning of fossils. In this, as in so many other things, Leonardo da Vinci, the great Italian painter (1452-15 19), was a pioneer. Here in England, it was largely due to William Smith, who was born, on the 23rd of March 1769, at Churchill, in Oxfordshire, that we now understand the way the stratified rocks of the earth are built up layer by layer. Steno, a Dane, who was a professor at Padua, had originated this idea, and published a book on the subject in 1669, but it was left to William Smith to work out the detail in this country. His father was a small farmer, and William had little schooling, yet by his observation of the countryside, by the time he was twenty-two he had constructed a system of geology; and remember there was no system before.

When he was eighteen he had been apprenticed to a land surveyor, and later worked on the canals which were being cut through the countryside during the end of the eighteenth century. This work, of course, afforded him a splendid opportunity for observing the formation of the earth's crust. So, very largely as a result of Smith's work, we now know that the earth is built up of a series of sedimentary strata, and that these are in reality the sediment which has been deposited on the beds of old seas or lakes. These vary in thickness and position, in various parts of the world, but in all parts they are in the same relative position one to the other. The earth is rather like an orange, with many skins of different colours, thicknesses, and materials; here and there a rude thumb has been inserted, and one or more skins torn out, but on each side of the gap, beyond the damage, we find the skins; rivers and seas may fill the gap, or the skins be distorted by blisters, or crinkled into mountains, but the principle of stratification remains.

Professor Sollas in his book. The Age of the Earth, has an interesting chapter on William Smith, and tells how he conceived the idea of representing the results of his work in a geological map.. "Alone and single-handed he determined to accomplish in outline that which the organized efforts of H.M. Geological Survey, extended over half a century, have not yet completed in detail ; and he succeeded in his task." William Smith has a further claim to our attention, because he discovered that not only were the fossils in the various strata the remains of living organisms, but that each stratum had its own peculiar fossils which were typical of the bed in which they were deposited, and the time when they were laid down, and that in all parts of the world they succeed each other in the same relative order. In classical times it had been thought that animal life could generate itself in the mud and slime of rivers and lakes, and fossils were regarded as specimens which had been left behind, or not properly developed, and so had been petrified into stone.

Geologists adopted and developed Smith's ideas, and by the discovery of the same kinds of fossils, in similar rocks in different parts of the world, began to be able to date them. In doing this they were attacked by their

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