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Two workmen in the gravel pit near the Seminary of St Acheul, 27 April 1859. The standing workman is pointing to the in situ flint
1859, 27 April
Bibliothèques d'Amiens Métropole
This is the first use of photography to support claims for prehistoric evidence and captures the moment that human antiquity was established.
On 27 April 1859 Joseph Prestwich and John Evans recovered a flint implement that lay 17 feet below the ground surface in context with the bones of extinct animals such as the mammoth and the woolly rhino in the quarries at St Acheul. The were accompanied by three representatives of the Société des Antiquaries de Picardie (Pinsard, Dufour and Garnier) to witness its discovery, and for a photographer to record the moment. The significance of the find was enormous and was presented to the Royal Society on May 26th 1859. This discovery had been demonstrated by Jacques Boucher de Perthes earlier but little trust was given to his theories but with Prestwich and Evans the evidence was accepted and it proved that man had existed in geological time.
Clive Gamble & Robert Kruszynski, 2009, "John Evans, Joseph Prestwich and the stone that shattered the time barrier", Antiquity vol. 83, pp. 461-75
John Evans, Joseph Prestwich and the stone that shattered the time barrier
This photograph was published as Fig.2 on p.467.
This discovery also featured as a BBC Radio 3 Essay on Strange Encounters. The result was broadcast in April 2007 in the UK.
Clive Gamble, August 2008, "Breaking the time barrier" Geoscientist Online, vol. 18.8
Breaking the time barrier