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The 1968 excavations were a continuation of the investigations that have been in progress at Knowth since 1962. In brief, this work is establishing that there is a cemetery of Passage Graves at Knowth. This consists of the large tumulus (Site I) with a number of smaller tombs in its immediate vicinity. This group is situated on a low hill that on the west overlooks the River Boyne at a point a couple of miles downstream from Slane where the river takes a sharp turn to the left [I]. MAIN MOUND At Knowth a tract of land that is close to a halfmile in length and one fifth of a mile in greatest width (c. 800 m. x 340 m.) is above the 200-ft. contour (60 m.) but even the highest part of this is only slightly over the 200-ft. mark. The large mound is situated towards the north-western extremity of this ridge and the smaller tombs are
Within the past two years the chronology of the later prehistoric period in Scotland has been given a new precision by no less than 24 C14 dates obtained from nine different sites, most of which are conventionally assigned to the pre- Roman Iron Age. Previously the identification and dating of the cultures and sites of this period had depended almost entirely on various exotic bronzes and the time that they and other traits were estimated to have reached Scotland from further south in Britain and from the Continent. The last phase of the Late Bronze Age was fairly confidently assigned a start in the mid-6th century BC on the basis of links with the continental Halstatt Iron Age [I] but the bronzes concerned are nearly all stray finds or from hoards and cannot be tied to any contemporary structures or material cultures except at Covesea and, tenuously, at Traprain Law. The same is true of the various examples of decorated Celtic metalwork which have been found in Scotland: these can be given rough dates on stylistic grounds but were stray finds and unconnected with other aspects of the contemporary material cultures. The dating of hillforts and domestic sites of late pre-Roman times has had to rely on the rare examples
The latest despatch from the South Cadbury (Somerset) campaign takes the form of a symposium volume of essays, edited by Geoffrey Ashe. It is a handsome book with a well-chosen range of illustrations, some in colour, and will win popular acclaim as a landmark in British post-Roman studies. Two opening chapters by Mr Ashe ('The Visionary Kingdom' and 'The Arthurian Fact') provide historical summaries of Arthur's background, times, and supposed career, We then have five archaeological contributions. Dr C. A. Ralegh Radford writes on Tintagel and Castle Dore, in Cornwall (Ch. 3), and on his Glastonbury Abbey excavations (Ch. 5). Philip Rahtz deals with his work on Glastonbury Tor (Ch. 6), and Leslie Alcock examines post-Roman Wales (Ch. 4) and the South Cadbury excavations up to the end of 1967 (Ch. 7). This last chapter, the crux of the book, was (rather oddly) edited and arranged by Mr Ashe, who explains (p. ix) that Mr. Alcock 'owing to the pressure of professional duties . . . regrettably had no time to put his material in a form that harmonized with the rest of the book'. There are then four more chapters by Mr Ashe. 'Extending the Map' is concerned with the distribution of Arthurian attributions in folklore and recent times;
In recent years increasing attention has been focused on the economic aspects of the changes that took place in human groups in their evolution from 'Palaeolithic' to 'Neolithic' ways of life. Braidwood and Howe carried out valuable pioneer work in this field and it is appropriate to quote their view of the problem [I]. How are we to understand those great changes in mankind's way of life which attended the first appearance of the settled village-farming community? The appearance of the village-farming community marked a transition, in cultural history, of great import for what was to follow. Before it were some half million years of savagery during which small wandering bands of people . . . led an essentially 'natural' catch as catch can existence. This statement emphasizes the static nature of the original, supposed 'natural' way of life, and contrasts it with a relatively sudden development which led to sedentary village communities. It implies a number of assumptions: that before the changes took place 'natural' man lived quite a different life, a life of random nomadism, exploiting his environment haphazardly ; that the changes entailed