Translated by Nancy Bell (N. D'Anvers)
Let us work our way back through past centuries and study our remote ancestors on their first arrival upon earth; let us watch their early struggles for existence! We will deal with facts alone; we will accept no theories, and we must, alas, often fail to come to any conclusion, for the present state of prehistoric knowledge rarely admits of certainty. We must ever be ready to modify theories by the study of facts, and never forget that, in a science so little advanced, theories must of necessity be provisional and variable.
Truly strange is the starting-point of prehistoric science. It is with the aid. of a few scarcely even rough-hewn flints, a few bones that it is difficult to classify, and a few rude stone monuments that we have to build up, it must be for our readers to say with what success, a past long prior to any written history, which has left no trace in the memory of man, and during which our globe would appeal to have been subject to conditions wholly unlike those of the present day.
The stones which will first claim our attention, some of them very skilfully cut and carefully polished, have been known for centuries. According to Suetonius, the Emperor Augustus possessed in his palace on the Palatine Hill a considerable collection of hatchets of