The first person to introduce these bowls to the archaeological world as a group, and with appropriate comment, was that profound student of Celtic art, the late Mr J. Romilly Allen; subsequently, Mr Reginald Smith set himself the task of making a complete list of all the bowls, or parts of bowls, that were known, and he has since placed us further in his debt by the care he has taken in seeing that every new example, as it came to light, was adequately recorded. Since Mr Allen wrote his paper, however, we have not made very much headway with the main problem of deciding their position in the cultural history of this country; even the recent discovery of the beautiful Winchester bowl, that excited us so much in 1930, was allowed to pass without any revision and revaluation of the really astonishing material that had been collected by Mr Smith, and it seemed that the chief interest aroused by the bowls was for ever to be focussed on the apparently insoluble problem of their use. But last year my friend Mr J. D. Cowen published a paper that constitutes in many respects a very important advance; it was the stimulating kind of article that often provokes other people into rival activities, and I hope it will not be counted against him if I admit that one of his results was an immediate decision on my part to put into print the notes I had collected on this same subject. It is Mr Cowen's distinction that he is the first to isolate and appreciate the ‘heater’ group of bowls, to which I shall refer below, and there are several other points in his very vigorous paper that strike me as being valuable and sagacious observations. But what I have to say here and now is that if Mr Cowen is right throughout, much that I am going to say below is completely wrong.
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