To save this undefined to your undefined account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you used this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your undefined account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save this article to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
When we look at the great diversity of man’s activities and interests, it is evident how much space they afford for reviewing his history in many different ways. To most of our historians the view of the political power and course of legislation has seemed all that need be noticed; others have dealt with history in religion, or the growth of mind in changes of moral standards, as in Lecky’s fine work. In recent years the history of knowledge in medicine, in the applied sciences, and in abstract mathematics, has been profitably studied, as affording the basis of civilization. The purely mental view is shown in the social life and customs of each age, and expressed in the growth of Art. This last expression of man’s spirit has great advantages in its presentation; the material from different ages is of a comparable nature, and it is easily placed together to contrast its differences. Moreover it covers a wider range of time than we can et observe in man’s scope, but it is as essential to his nature as any of the other aspects that we have named.
In its original form this paper was prefaced with an account, painfully extracted from the somewhat unsatisfactory descriptions in the Historical Monuments Commission’s volumes for Herts and South Bucks and in the Victoria County History, of the existing portions of the earthwork with which I proposed to deal. For the South Oxfordshire Grimsditch, which I ventured to associate with the continuous work which runs through Herts and Bucks, I relied upon Plot and Burn, and some of the original documents used by the latter.
As readers of ANTIQUITY are already aware, the Editor, moved by the conviction that the earnest seeker after truth in this field at least deserved to be supplied with the facts, has during the past two years personally investigated the whole of the remaining fragments of earthworks in the district, and I am therefore able to refer to his paper in the June number, and to the map which he has compiled to illustrate this paper as well as his own, as furnishing a succinct and authoritative statement of the main features of the Chiltern Grimsditch, by which my arguments stand or fall.
When I acceded to the suggestion of the Editor of ANTIQUITY that I should write a review of the third volume of Sir Arthur Evans’ great work on the palace at Cnossus I was aware of the difficulty of the task I was undertaking. It would of course be quite impossible in a brief article to give any notion of the vast operations which the author has carried through with infinite skill and patience, revealing to us the character of a most curious civilization in Crete, the very existence of which was not suspected until the excavations of Schliemann at Mycenae gave us data. In 1877 I was so much interested by these revelations of the spade that I went to Greece to investigate them, and at Athens Sir Charles Newton and I were shown all the treasures of Mycenae. Newton’s article on them in the Edinburgh Review; and mine in the Quarterly Review, introduced them to English archaeologists, greatly to Schliemann’s satisfaction, as he was openly accused at that centre of scandal, Athens, of having had the rich treasures made by local goldsmiths. And Stephani, perhaps the most learned archaeologist living, was claiming them as the buried spoil of the barbarian invaders of the Roman Empire.
Look on this picture and on that! By slow degrees Evans has succeeded in recovering in a great measure the architecture, the art, the manners and customs, the physical type, the religion, of the great civilization of which that revealed at Mycenae was but a late offshoot, a civilization contemporary with the mighty empires of the East, and in some ways more interesting than any of them, since it is more European, more in the line of our civilization and progress.
I Suppose we are all agreed that ‘Celt’ is not a particularly brilliant name for a stone or bronze axe, even though we continue to use it. It survives, of course, not on its merits, but because we really do need a word other than ‘axe’ to denote these narrowedged prehistoric tools, and ‘Celt’ is at present the only substitute we have. We might, I mean, abolish the name Celt if only Celts looked a little more like axes; but we cannot, because there are many people in this world who do not like an axe to be called an axe unless it is the sort of axe they are accustomed to; whereas if you call a not easily recognizable axe a ‘Celt’ and make rather a fuss about explaining that you mean by this a prehistoric axe, then these same people will probably thank you very much indeed and say that it is all most interesting. In other words we keep on talking and writing about Celts because the public like the word; it is, after all, short and sweet, easy to remember, and devastatingly incomprehensible to the uninitiated. I feel that it is necessary for us to put up with ‘Celt’, and I am only remarking here that we know it is a base word of miserable, mistaken coinage. I ask simply that we do not pretend to ourselves that it is a good word on the grounds that it is oldestablished and familiar; it was a bad word in the beginning and it always will be a bad word, despite its now considerable antiquity and frequent use. Lots and lots of blacks do not make a white, not even if the oldest black is 18th century black.
In addition to this name ‘Celt’ which we apply to most of our stone and bronze axes, we also have the group-name ‘palstave’ to distinguish the members of a particular species of the Celt genus. It is a very useful word and I do not think we could do without it, for though we can talk about ‘flat Celts’, ‘flanged Celts’, and ‘winged Celts’, no one has yet succeeded in substituting a snappy descriptive name like these for the palstave-variety of Celt. I should not dream, therefore, of suggesting that we get rid of ‘palstave’ and, indeed, I have myself a considerable affection for this curious word; but as so few of us know what it means or why it is the name of the prehistoric implements concerned, something may profitably be said about its history. That the word happens to come rather badly out of the enquiry is not, of course, my fault.
The ruins of ancient Susa, prior to the Achaemenid period (sixth century B.c.), are shaped like a square, each side of which is 700 metres long. The angles face the cardinal points. The southern angle is however prolonged by an external mound, which M. Dieulafoy has called the ‘the Dungeon’.
The acropolis of Susa occupies the main portion of the northwestern side and we are continuing there the systematic exploration inaugurated by M. de Morgan. This year we widened and lengthened a trench which last season had reached the natural soil, and here we found a big ditch dug in the middle Elamite period. It was 8 metres wide, and 6.25 metres deep; we excavated 10.25 metres of its length without reaching its other end. The sides were covered by raw (sundried) bricks, which in some places were protected by thick walls of kilnfired bricks. Some of these burnt bricks have cuneiform inscriptions recording the dedication of Elamite temples. In the silting of this ditch we found fragments of arragonite vases, often inscribed with the names of the Achaemenid sovereigns Xerxes and Artaxerxes, and fragments of horns and ears of the stone protomas of the bulls forming the capitals of the columns of the Apadana. It seems that this ditch was originally a tank of water, belonging to the Elamite temples of the God Shushinak and of the Goddess Nin-Har-Shag. Water was brought into the tank by means of an aqueduct. The ditch was filled up gradually during the post-Achaemenid periods (Parthian and Sassanid). The fact that the ground surrounding the ditch corresponded to levels anterior to the third millennium B.c., was very perplexing until the real nature of the ditch was fully ascertained. However, during the course of clearing the remains we found a fragment of the pedestal of a Sumerian statue,chiselled out of a blue stone. Judging from its style it can be dated to the period of Agade, 2700 B.C.
About one-third of this book consists of a general introduction to the study of Roman Gaul; the rest is concerned with the Roman fortifications of the province; and all was to have been produced by Déchelette himself, but, after his untimely death in battle, it passed to Albert Grenier, Professeur d’Antiquités nationales et rhenanes à la Faculté des Lettres de Strasbourg. The choice is significant, for this is the first general publication by a French specialist on a Gaul which includes the Germanies, and it was therefore not beyond hope that pride and emulation would inspire an achievement equal to those of Espérandieu and Gsell, not to mention the German treatments which had already preceded it. But, from the start, cheapness has blighted the presentation, with that surety of touch in which Parisian publishers excel; and the editors have not chosen an author with those abilities in vulgarization which make French treatments, at their best, so very stimulating. The few scintillating remarks which brighten these pages are usually false lights, while the treatment as a whole lacks both the broad basis derived from a knowledge of general works, and the detailed acquaintance with the monuments and their analogies which is indispensable in a treatise upon fortification. It is amazing that anyone should now write upon Roman Gaul and omit from his bibliography Mommsen, Egger, Dragendorff, Folzer, Leitzmann, Loeschcke, Krencker, Kruger, Knorr, Mélida, Macdonald, ParvPn, Promis, Rostovtseff, Schulten and Schramm. The memory of Déchelette deserved better than this regnum Galliarurn in scholarship.
The Roman Fort of Borcovicium at Housesteads in Northumberland should need no introduction to anyone interested in archaeology. During the last year it has been brought into great prominence by being presented to the Nation by Mr John Maurice Clayton, and through its close proximity to the portion of Hadrian’s Wall recently threatened by quarrying operations.
The fort at Housesteads was one of the earliest to be examined by British antiquaries, but although it has received so much attention its environs have been almost entirely disregarded. On both sides of the Military Way leading out of the west gateway was an extensive civil settlement, and traces of buildings can be seen on the south side of the fort. The hillside sloping to the southward is covered with the remains of early cultivations. These have generally been accepted as of Romano-British age. There are, however, two distinct systems of early cultivation. To the southwest of the fort there is a series of terraces running along the hillside, but on the southeast of the fort there are lynchets running north and south at regular interva up and down the hillside. From the hill to the south of Housesteads it can be clearly seen that where there is terrace cultivation it has been superimposed on the earlier system of lynchets, and this is also shown in air photographs.