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Kents Cavern stone tools, 1825

Kents Cavern stone tools, 1825

C028/9856

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Credit

PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY PAUL D STEWART / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Kents Cavern stone tools. Kents Cavern, a cave system in Torquay, Devon. These and other prehistoric objects were found by British Catholic priest and archaeologist John MacEnery (1796-1841). MacEnery explored Kents Cavern in 1825 and uncovered bones of extinct prehistoric animals and man-made flint tools lying side-by-side under thick stalagmite floors. He thought they were from the same era, but the Reverend William Buckland persuaded him otherwise. These drawings were prepared for publication at the time, but he could not raise the funds and faltered in his belief that the evidence indicated that man existed among these extinct creatures. They were only published in 1859 (years after his death), the year that Boucher De Perthes pushed back the period of human ancestry into geological time beyond that of Bishop Usher's 4004 BC. This illustration is from 'Cavern Researches or, Discoveries of organic remains, and of British and Roman Reliques in the Caves of Kent's Hole' (London, 1859).

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