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190Victorian Review to consult the volume in their own areas of expertise. Yet they may not be able to consult entries from areas outside those areas of expertise with complete confidence in their cogency and timeliness. I applaud the ambition and purpose of The 1890s. Its scope provides browsers with a good inkling of the decade's pied beauty, its incongruities, and its contradictions. I hope that a second edition is underway, and that the opacity of the selection process is, in the process, rendered transparent BETHKAUKOFF University of Washington, Tacoma A. Bowdoin Van Riper. Men Among the Mammoths: Victorian Science and the Discovery ofHuman Prehistory. Chicago: Chicago UP, 1993. xv + 267. $45.00 US (cloth); $16.95 US (paper). In its issue of 28 May 1898, the New York based Scientific American highlighted a lecture presented before the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia reviewing "The Latest Discoveries As To The Antiquity of Man." The speaker, recalUng the discoveries in the 1850s and 1860s of animal bones and chipped stone implements along the River Somme and in County Kent, England, readily accepted the coexistence of men and extinct animals and its significance for the dating of man's time on earth. The speaker agreed with those who calculated man's antiquity as ranging back at least 200,000 years. The interesting account did not, however, reconstruct the profound transformation in Victorian thinking about humans and the sciences dedicated to their study that such numbers had demanded. In Men Among the Mammoths: Victorian Science and the Discovery of Human Prehistory, A. Bowdoin Van Riper details the changes in mid-nineteenth century geology and archaeology that contributed to this intellectual revolution, and profiles the careers of the key scientists who advanced the new understandings. His elegant and well-written book will be appreciated by any readers concerned with the nineteenth century relationship between science and society and the wide-ranging ramifications of scientific theories for a changing Victorian world view. Van Riper begins by emphasizing how, for centuries, scientists and theologians had assumed the recent origin of the human race. As late as the 1850s, prominent intellectuals confidently invoked human recency as support for the Christian view in Genesis that God had created the Reviews191 modern world for man. Every student of the era knows how the publication of Darwin's Origin of Species in 1859 would deeply challenge this complacency. Van Riper compellingly reminds us that the debate over evolution by means of natural selection raged concurrently with the related controversy over human antiquity. Together, these arguments engaged scholars as well as a literate and well informed public, changing the "intellectual topography" (10) of Victorian England. In analyzing the various facets of the less familiar human antiquity question, Van Riper vividly and expertly recreates the issues that created interdisciplinary connections among the sciences. He also demonstrates how these intersections enriched and enlarged the intellectual milieu of the day. The book concentrates on events and discussions in the years from 1858 to 1863. While the Victorians celebrated the accomplishments of modernity, they were, as Van Riper documents, equally fascinated by the records of Britain's distant past and its material remains. The number of archaeological societies increased rapidly, dedicated to a research program and methodology that Van Riper defines as historical archaeology. Centered on the detailed study of small areas and firmly relying on inductive methods, historical archaeologists accumulated empirical evidence at various localities, but adamantly resisted any efforts to frame larger syntheses. Similarly, their preference for artifacts that could be reliably dated and for periods closely tied to their own diverted them from much concern for the prehistorical era. According to Van Riper, until the 1850s the geological community was content to leave the problem of human antiquity to the historical archaeologists. But the essential concerns of British geologists and the dynamics of change within the profession were to alter this longstanding allocation of intellectual responsibility. The transition is marked by the publication of the fifth (1855) edition of Charles Lyell's Manual of Elementary Geology, in which the author carefully acknowledged that, while unlikely, it was possible that man had lived among the mammoths. His view emerged in response...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1923-3280
Print ISSN
0848-1512
Pages
pp. 190-193
Launched on MUSE
2015-10-07
Open Access
No
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