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By the term ‘classical rhinoceros’ I mean the rhinoceros which was known to the Greek and Roman world during the five and a half centuries between 300 B.C. and A.D. 250, which was shown from time to time at Alexandria under the Ptolemies and later on appeared regularly in the arena at Rome taking part in fights with other beasts and with men. Although the Indian rhinoceros seems occasionally to have been exhibited at Rome, at any rate in the early years of the Empire, I believe that the rhinoceros usually shown there came from Africa, and I have tried to analyse such evidence as is available to show firstly what species it was and secondly what part of Africa it came from.
There are, of course, two quite distinct kinds of African rhinoceros, the square-mouthed and the prehensile-lipped, popularly known respectively as the White and the Black Rhinoceros. Until recently their scientific names were Rhinoceros simus and Rhinoceros bicornis, but systematists have now separated them into two genera, calling the former Ceratotherium simum and the latter Diceros bicornis ; denying to both the title of Rhinoceros which they reserve for the Indian rhinoceros and its near Asiatic relatives. For the sake of simplicity and brevity I shall retain the old names and call them simus and bicornis.
The popular misnomers of ‘white’ and ‘black’ are a legacy from the South African Dutch of the 17th century, who called simus ‘wit renaster’ and bicornis ‘zwart renaster’. They were not very particular about exact shades of colour and probably meant no more than that one species usually appeared much lighter than the other. The natural colour of both appears much the same to an observer a little distance away. The hide of simus may be slightly lighter. Perhaps the most accurate definition is given by Roosevelt and Heller who say that the true colour of simus is smoke-grey while that of bicornis is dark clove-brown.
By reviewing the bearing on Maori culture history of the excavation of Moa-hunter sites in New Zealand the previous chapter serves as an introduction to this account of the Wairau site, which is the most important Moa-hunter site yet recorded.
So haphazard is the progress of archaeology in New Zealand that although this camp occupies more than 15 acres and is situated on an accessible beach about seven miles from the town of Blenheim, it was not discovered until 1939. It was first ploughed about 1922, when the tenant, Mr C. Eyles, was surprised at the number of bones uncovered. Being unfamiliar with moa bones, he believed the larger bones were those of the bullocks formerly employed to cart wool along the boulder bank, and the smaller to be human. Presumably miscellaneous artifacts were also revealed by the plough but only a number of stone adzes were recognized and retrieved. Of these the only one saved is a massive example of Type 1, A one of the most distinctive Moa-hunter types.
The site was not identified as of Moa-hunter age until some seventeen years later, when Jim Eyles, the thirteen-year old grandson of the former tenant, decided to emulate the spasmodic activities of local collectors who occasionally visited the site in search of ‘Maori curios’. He opened up a trench on the edge of a convenient mound and immediately found the first of seven burials each, as subsequently established, with a moa egg grave offering.
The first (1949) season of archaeological reconnaissance on the Foggia Plain in South Italy has confirmed, in the most striking manner, the existence of one of the densest concentrations of ancient sites to be identified in Europe in an area of comparable size. For readers of ANTIQUITY, their nature had already been foreshadowed in these pages.
These discoveries were first made from British air photographs taken in June 1945, which revealed the plans of settlements, farms, roads and field-systems existing below the surface of the ground or clearly visible to the air camera. They were distributed across 3000 years of Italian history, from the Neolithic to the Middle Ages, and illustrate from the archaeological record three principal stages in the rise of a European peasantry. This is a theme that affords ideal ground for the conjunction of Archaeology and Ethnology ; and it is appropriate that the Expedition should be based on the Pitt Rivers Museum at Oxford, which was founded on this very principle.
Now, thanks to the Apulia Committee, set up under the auspices of the Society of Antiquaries and representing the University of Oxford and learned societies, it has been possible to proceed to the second and fundamental stage:—namely, to carry out the first systematic programme of archaeological investigation based on air photographic data ever conducted in Italy. This also included the first British excavations there for a number of years, with the permission and helpful co-operation of the Italian authorities, and the support of the British School at Rome.