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In 1884, Arthur Smith Woodward first met Charles Dawson, a solicitor and industrious amateur collector, antiquarian, geologist, archaeologist and palaeontologist. This began a long association and friendship centred on their mutual interest in palaeontology and human evolution. Dawson devised a complicated plot focused around the ancient river gravel deposits at Barkham Manor near the village of Piltdown, Sussex. In these gravels he planted stone tools and fossil mammal remains together with the lower jaw of an ape and numerous modern human cranial bones to deceive the scientific establishment into believing an early human ancestor had been found in his own back yard. Cleverly devised to provide anatomists and archaeologists with evidence for concepts that they wanted to believe were true, Dawson fuelled numerous contentious debates among scientists that quickly attracted international attention. Nothing could be more unfortunate than such a respectable scientist as Arthur Smith Woodward being taken in by the events of 1912, and then subsequently swept along by them well into his retirement right up to the time of his death in 1944.

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