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The evidence for Pompeian history has been furnished almost entirely by the use of the spade, and, while for the latest period its full and detailed character makes it difficult to pick out a unifying thread through it all, the further back, in time one goes the scantier direct testimony becomes ; until, in dealing with the earliest periods, we are, as it were, building up a case out of evidence which is largely ‘ circumstantial ’. This defect is inherent in the archaeological study of any site, since it is to be expected that what was built latest should be best preserved, but the defect has been aggravated at Pompeii by the way in which, until recently, the excavations have been carried out.
Short cross-dykes are found on ridges or more rarely in valley bottoms. Their essential characteristics are that they run across a narrow strip of open ground, their ends resting on obstacles which in primitive times would have been naturally impassable :— in the case of cross-ridge dykes from scarp to scarp or scarp to forest, and of cross-valley dykes across the hard gravelly bottoms between impenetrable woods. In every case that I have seen they cross the line of a primitive road.
Sculptured stone crosses are simply a local and temporary fashion in gravestones. They came into vogue when the northern English church-builders learned stone-carving, and their use spread in every direction through the British Isles, where it lingered on the Celtic fringe after the fashion had gone out in its first home, and afterwards it wandered farther afield. But by Anglian crosses is meant here only those set up under the influence of the Angles of Northern England before the Danish invasion, and those in which the same influence survived in parts not dominated by Danish or Norse settlement.
‘It is better to dig than to dance’, said St. Augustine. This sober choice between two difficult alternatives is one which, I freely confess, had always appealed to me as that of a balanced and discerning mind. Today I am a little shaken in my confidence. It has been brought home to me, with something of a shock, that this obiter dictum might in a certain sense be cited as a justification of the (to my thinking) distorted outlook of the modern archaeologist. At the present moment, for good or for ill, digging has, it seems, become to a large extent the basis of archaeological research. I say ‘ for good or for ill ’ advisedly. To those of us who may be classed as Antiquaries of the Older Generation, there is something indecorous, almost irreverent, in all this hot and untidy pick-and-shovel work. It is so hearty, so vocal, so undergraduate. Besides, it is so easy. Next to committing a murder, the easiest step to fame nowadays is to dig up a potsherd. And the more ignorant the excavator, the greater the kudos. ‘Potsherd dated 543 B.C. found in Kent’ may not be a hundred-per-cent. news-item ; but ‘ Mystery potsherd in Medway midden : experts baffled ’ is a main-page headline, sure thing. It is hardly to be wondered that, in our sound-proof studies, surrounded by our genealogies, our heraldry and our armour, we slippered veterans move uneasily in our chairs. It is as though a fist had been thrust rudely through our window-pane and let a draught of cold, oxygenladen air into our hitherto inviolate sancta.
Most readers of ANTIQUITYw ill have heard of the Pergamon Museum at Berlin; its opening was the chief event of the centenary celebrations of the German Archaeological Institute (see Mr R. G. Collingwood's note in ANTIQUITY, 1929, III, 339). Those, however, who have not actually seen it can hardly realize what an outstanding achievement that museum already is, even in its present unfinished state; nor perhaps do they know that the Pergamon reconstitutions do not stand alone. There are similar reconstitutions of other classical buildings and also of Middle Eastern remains. About five large rooms are at present opened, and their contents represent the high-water-mark of museum-craft in Europe, and are an objectlesson to the world ; but to me their significance seemed even deeper, marking the triumphal emergence of a new craft. I have seen many museums, but here for the first time in my life I felt completely satisfied. The ideal aimed at seemed to have been achieved; there was nothing to find fault with. Here at last was a thoroughly honest attempt to reconstruct ancient masterpieces of architecture, and to exhibit them without irrelevant distractions. The technique of exhibition achieves its end through simplicity and common sense. The lighting is admirable ; the floors of marble slabs (pink in the Altar-room and white or grey elsewhere) are thoroughly pleasing ; the walls are delightfully bare, with nothing but the briefest of labels carved in admirable lettering. The effect of the whole is over-whelming .
The name of Troy, more touched with glamour than any other name in history, brings to the archaeologist, the literary critic and the ordinary man, associations so widely different that they are in danger of becoming altogether divorced. In the mind of the archaeologist, it calls up a series of unsolved problems that produce a faint sensation of irritation and anxiety. Can that tantalizing group of objects from Schliemann’s excavations, most of which have been arranged more according to style than to stratigraphy, be regarded as a safe guide to the development of prehistoric Asia Minor ? Which of the stone battle axes come from Town I and which from Town II ? What really happened between the second and the sixth settlement ? How does the material fit in with that from other early settlements in Asia Minor and adjacent lands ?