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reference in a paper communicated to the Philosophical Society of Glasgow on April 12th, 1871,' and almost simultaneously with the publication of that paper Dr. Lepsius had communicated to the Royal Academy of Sciences, Berlin, his learned paper on the metals mentioned in the Egyptian Inscriptions, wherein he marks out the difficulties regarding the ancient use of iron in Egypt, noting in particular the uncertainties as to the hieroglyphic rendering for that metal.

The author having early in 1873 sent a copy of the aforesaid paper to Dr. Lepsius, that Prince of Egyptologists wrote with respect thereto as follows:

There was no doubt for myself that the use of iron in Egypt was at least as old as the quarries of granite, and granite blocks are found abundantly in the oldest Pyramids. But the fact had escaped my notice, as well as the notice of Wilkinson, that Colonel Vyse's, or rather Mr. Perring's researches, had brought to light the piece of iron hermetically isolated of which you speak. Also the other fact was new to me, that iron may be worked before it becomes fluid," etc., etc.

Having met Dr. Lepsius at the recent Congress of Orientalists in London, our conversation naturally turned to a subject on which, from different stand-points, both he and the writer had carried on independent researches, which in point of time coalesced in proving that iron was known to the Proto-Egyptians. When examining the fragment of metal together, Dr. Lepsius, judging from its form, suggested that the fragment had been part of a scraping tool for finishing stone surfaces, and inquired of the writer if he thought it might not be steel. Such a suggestion certainly did not present any difficulty, for the manufacture of steel by the Greeks, who got their information from Egypt in later times, is described by Aristotle, and not a little singular is it that Leiht-ze, the Chinese philosopher contemporary with Aristotle, also describes the use of steel in China, thus rendering it highly probable, that when nations so entirely differing and widely separated as the Greeks and Chinese, are found to possess at the same time the use and manufacture of a substance

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1 Vide Proc. Phil. Soc. Glasgow, vol. vii. p. 476.

2 Die Metalle in den Ægyptischen Inschriften, von C. R. Lepsius, aus den Abhandlungen der Königl. Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 1872.

so important as iron, that such use and manufacture constituted a portion of that stock of knowledge common to all mankind at some far remote epoch.

Considering then in this light the degree of probability of confirmation attaching to Dr. Lepsius' suggestion, it occurred to the writer that its value might be estimated by a simple mechanical test-namely, by attempting to drill a hole in the fragment. The conclusions to be drawn from such a test would be :

1st. That if the drill easily penetrated the metal, it might be concluded that its condition was that of Iron.

2nd. If on the other hand the metal resisted the cutting action of the drill, then it might be concluded upon as Steel.

Some members of the Congress, especially Dr. Lepsius and Mr. Bonomi, pressed the importance of this test being made upon the attention of Dr. Birch, who consented to expose the fragment for being tested in the manner indicated, and on the morning of September 18th, certain members of the Congress accompanied Dr. Birch to the Museum for this purpose.

The test was made by the writer, and the following certificate with respect thereto was drawn up by Dr. Birch, and attested by those whose signatures are appended to it:

" British Museum, 18th September, 1874. "An examination by drilling of the fragment found in the channel of one of the air-passages of the Great Pyramid, in the excavations undertaken by Colonel Howard Vyse. It was found that the fragment was of Iron, the drilling having penetrated it.”

S. BIRCH.

Sr. JOIN V. DAY.
Signed R. LEPSIUS.

Chas. SEAGAR.

J. BONOMI. P.S.-Since the above was written, the author pressed upon the notice of the Trustees of the British Museum the importance of having this old piece of iron analysed chemically—and to this request the Trustees consented, instructing Dr. Flight to make the analysis, and which has accordingly been done. The analysis will be found in the author's Prehistoric Use of Iron," in course of publication.

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NOTES ON THE CASTES

AND OX

CERTAIN CUSTOMS OF THE DARDS.

BY FREDERIC DREW.

THOSE of the Dárd race to which the following notice refers inhabit the districts of Astor and Gilgit, and certain parts of Baltistān.

The more important caste divisions of the Dārds seem to be the following :-Ronū, Shin, Yashkun, Kremin, Dūm. As to the one called Ronū, I am in doubt what weight may be attached to the division. It seems to be a caste less generally occurring than the others; still, in the Gilgit valley there are certainly some families of a caste called by that name which ranks the highest of all.

The other four divisions, to which I shall now confine attention, are the same as are stated regarding the Chilāsīs in a report by Captain Ommaney to the Panjāb Government; one of Dr. Leitner's informants also, a native of Sazin, speaks of the same four primary divisions. Dr. Leitner himself adds the names of many other castes ; these, I think, are only sub-divisions of some of those enumerated.

With the thought that such circumstances as the division into castes, and the relative social position of those castes, may, if not now, yet eventually, when more facts for comparison are known, throw light on the history of the Dārd race, I now bring forward what little information I have collected.

Beginning with the lowest, we find the Dūms, who are few in number, acting as musicians and dancers.

Now these occupations are followed by the Marāsīs of the Panjāb and by the Doms of other parts of India. These latter tribes, who are of the lowest castes, are recognized as belonging to the nonAryan Indians. The fact of the same part in the social system being played by a tribe held as the lowest among the Dārds, also leads one to speculate on the former existence of a pre-Aryan people in the area now chiefly occupied by the Dārds.

The existence of any remnants of these pre-Aryan tribes has hitherto only been known as far northward as the outer ranges of the Himalayas. I will now put together what facts I know that may enable us to trace them further in, that is to say, among the higher, the snowy, mountain ranges.

Immediately north of the Panjāb, in the outermost hills, the low castes who represent the non-Aryan element—those whom the Hindūs consider as outcasts—are very distinct. In spite of an admixture of blood that has undoubtedly taken place, they show a darker skin, a frame more slim, and less fine features, than are possessed by the higher castes, who are decided Aryans. Here the low castes bear the names Dhiyār (these being iron-workers), Megh, and Dūm.

Going higher up, among mountains that are ten or twelve thousand feet high, we find among the hill-races, there commonly called Pahārī, representatives of the same low castes under the same names; but they have been raised in physiognomy from those of the lower hills in a way paralleled by the change observed in the higher castes also of the two localities.

We next come to Kashmir. There the lowest caste is one called Bātal. To the Bătals is relegated the lowest kind of work, and from them also come the singers and dancers. These people are kept socially very distinct from the rest of the Kashmiris. The parallelism of their position with that of the Dūms, etc., of the regions first mentioned, is such as to justify our thinking that we are following up the same or closely allied tribes.

Next is Ladākh. Here the population seems thoroughly Tibetan. But here also there is a low caste, the name of which is Bem; it supplies the blacksmiths and the musicians; as to dancing, the whole population is given to that. I think it possible that these Bem also may be allied in origin to the low castes of the other countries, although so much assimilated to the Tibetans.

The coincidence certainly is striking, that in every, or almost every, case, those castes who are of the very lowest estimation—those who are held as unclean and outcasts-should follow the same occupations, and I myself incline to connect them all together in origin, and to consider that they were all pre-Aryan inhabitants of the various countries, who have become, by a partial non-observance of the rules against intermarrying, in various degrees assimilated in blood with the various races—whether Dogra, Kashmiri, Tibetan, or Dārd—who conquered them and occupied their country. The importance of such a conclusion, if it be a true one, consists in this, that it gives to these earlier inhabitants of India a much greater extension over the Himalayas than has generally been allowed to them, that it traces them far into the snowy regions, among the very highest mountains.

Reverting now to the Dārds, we come (reckoning from below) to the second caste. This is called Kremin. It is not a numerous caste. As to occupation, the Kremins seem to correspond to the Kahūrs of Hindostān, the Jiwars of the Punjāb. They act as potters, millers, and carriers. Thus they seem to be analogous to the Sudras of India. If so, they would probably be the produce of intermixture of blood of the Dārds proper and the race that the Dūms belonged to. They would most likely be the descendants of those of the earlier race who most quickly came into social communion with the invaders.

The next higher caste, called Yashkun, is, in most of the parts of Dārdistān that I have visited, the most numerous of all.

In Astor and Gilgit the Yashkun form the main body of the people, whose occupation is agriculture.

Above them come the Shin. The Yashkun and the Shin have a physique equally fine, and as far as I know they follow the same occupations. Still the Shin are distinctly recognized as socially higher than the Yashkun. The only characteristics peculiar to the Shin with which I am acquainted are one or two exceedingly strange customs.

The way in which the Shin regard the cow is, especially to any one coming from the side of India, most astonishing. They abhor the cow. They look on it almost or quite in the same way as that in which an ordinary Muhammadan regards the pig. Of necessity they make use of cattle for ploughing, but they touch them and have to

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