H. Rivett-Carnac, Esquire, of the Bengal Civil Service, C.I.E., F.S.A., M.R.A.S., F.G.S., etc., has placed us under obligations by sending us copies of his paper, Archaeological Notes on Ancient Sculpturings on Rocks in Kumaon, India, etc., and other recent monographs which embody the latest fruits of his indefatigable antiquarian researches. An eloquent and famous American preacher once said, in an address upon the Fine Arts, that he never could see an Italian image vendor enter a poor man’s cabin without feeling that he ought to lift his hat to him as to a real missionary of Art. For, rude and coarse as might be the images he carried, they still embodied at least a rudimentary idea of sculpture, and that lay latent in the mind of the poor man’s son. This was a great truth that the preacher uttered, and recalls the old familiar proverb, “Despise not the day of small things.” Some of the world’s greatest discoveries have resulted from the chance observation of some trifling fact that had previously been passed over with ignorant indifference. Who knows, for instance, what a flood of light may not be thrown upon the history of mankind by a recent discovery announced by Mr. Rivett-Carnac—a discovery hitherto not sufficiently appreciated; certainly not as it ought to be. The description given by Sir James Simpson, Bart., of the cup-like markings on stones and rocks in Scotland, England, and other countries of the West struck him as offering an “extraordinary resemblance” “to the marks on the trap boulders which encircled the Barrows near Nágpúr . . . The identity between the shape and construction of the tumuli, and between the remains found in the tumuli of the two countries had already been noticed, and now here was a third, and still more remarkable point, the discovery on these tumuli of markings which correspond exactly with the markings found in the same class of tumuli in Europe.” He abstained from putting forward any theories founded upon this striking resemblance, but affirmed that the cup-marks formed another and very extraordinary addition to the mass of evidence which already existed in favour of the view, that a branch of the nomadic tribes who swept, at an early date, over Europe, penetrated into India also. There is so much more involved in Mr. Rivett-Carnac’s discovery and the theory he propounds than could possibly be discussed in the space that is at our present disposal that we refrain. The world’s history is yet to be written, and it rests with scholars like Mr. Rivett-Carnac to furnish the alphabet in which its pages are to be traced. We must first scuttle Noah’s Ark and drown those fabulous sons who have served so useful a purpose to the pious ethnographers in search of progenitors for the races of mankind, and then the ground will be cleared for the real historian to build upon. There can be no true archaeology among Christian nations until the last remnant of superstitious reliance upon Biblical chronology and history is swept away. These two have composed a mephitic theological atmosphere in which truth has been asphyxiated.
The cup-marks noticed by Sir James Simpson and Mr. Rivett-Carnac are by the latter described as
“holes scooped out on the face of the rock (or monument) . . . . They are of different sizes, varying from six inches to an inch and a half in diameter, and in depth from one inch to half an inch, and are generally arranged in perpendicular lines presenting many permutations in the number and size and arrangement of the cups.”
“The Agham writing consists of combinations of long and short strokes cut on sandstone. On sandstone it would be easier to cut lines with the grain, so to speak, of the stone. To attempt to make a cup-mark would be to risk splitting the slab. On the other hand to cut a line on hard trap would be difficult, whereas to work an iron instrument round and round 80 as to make a “cup-mark” would be comparatively easy . . . . in the American invention by which a record of the message sent by the Electric Telegraph is made by the instrument itself, the most primitive style of marking, or writing on the paper was necessarily adopted. And letters in the Morse Code are consequently composed of numerous combinations of long and short strokes.”
Mr. Rivett-Carnac’s attention is called to the fact that stones inscribed with similar cup-marks are found in the Caucasian steppes, and it may be that by a friendly collaboration among archaeologists in various countries, it will soon be practicable to trace the progress from the East to the West of the conquering nomads whose lithic monuments in the British Isles Sir James Simpson has described, and which, we doubt not, that eminent explorer of the Colorado Canyon, Major Powell, has encountered in the North American Continent. Such a coöperation might be hastened if the assiduous observers now in India would accept the suggestion of Colonel Garrick Mallery of the Ethnographic Bureau of the Smithsonian Institution to make The Theosophist the vehicle for the mutual exchange of Indian, European, and American notes of discovery.
The undersigned is also under great personal obligation to Mr. Rivett-Carnac for the present of seven extremely valuable old coins recently found in the Bareilly District. This is, indeed, a rare and well appreciated gift; the more so, as our great Indian archaeologist tells me in his letter of February 9.
“They are coins of Surya or Mitra Dynasty (vide Prinsep., Vol. II);
|“Bhumi Mitra, Agni Mitra||have been found before, but are rare.|
|“Phaguni Mitra, Bhudra Ghosa, Bhami Mitra and Suyd or Suzyd Mitra||are not only new coins, but new names in the lists of Indian kings.”|
As soon as a description of these coins shall appear in the Asiatic Society’s Journal, we will give our readers extracts from it. Every true son of the great Aryavarta of old should watch with interest all such new finds, as they are constantly adding material for India’s archaic history, and affirming our right to regard her as the oldest, most venerable, and, at the same time, most interesting relic of the prehistoric days. Meanwhile, I again personally reiterate my best thanks to Mr. Rivett-Carnac.
H. P. BLAVATSKY,
Editor of The Theosophist.
Bombay, February 25, 1880.