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Darwin Correspondence Project

To the Secretary, Royal Society1   22 March 1858

Down Bromley Kent

March 22d/58

Dear Sir

Mr Horner’s “Account of some recent Researches near Cairo” ought, in my opinion, to be published in full in the Philosoph. Transactions.2 Considering the importance of any investigation leading to the result that Man has existed in Ægypt for between 13,000 & 14,000 years,3 I think that all the details & sections, though given with great minuteness, should be published, as possibly being hereafter of great assistance to some future investigator.

Dear Sir | Yours faithfully | Ch. Darwin To the Secy. | Royal Socy.—


George Gabriel Stokes and William Sharpey were the secretaries of the Royal Society in 1858.
This was the second part (Horner 1858) of Leonard Horner’s paper on the alluvial deposits of the Nile basin. The first part (Horner 1855) had also been published in the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London, after being refereed by CD (see Correspondence vol. 5, letter to Leonard Horner, 18 [March 1855], and letter to the Royal Society, 19 March 1855).
During the excavations, Horner had found a fragment of pottery at a depth of 39 feet. Assuming a rate of deposition of 312 inches of sediment per century, Horner calculated that man had lived in the Nile basin since 11,517 B.C. Horner’s conclusions were later invalidated by the discovery of a Roman tile beneath the pottery shards (see Tristram 1860).


Recommends Leonard Horner’s "Account of some recent researches near Cairo" for publication in Philosophical Transactions [R. Soc. Lond. 148 (1858): 53–9]. Believes all the details and sections should be published in full because of importance of investigations leading to the conclusion that man has existed in Egypt for over 13000 years.

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
Secretary, Royal Society
Sent from
Source of text
The Royal Society (RR3: 147)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 2244,” accessed on 24 May 2017,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 7