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Every age has the Stonehenge it deserves-or desires. I lectured on this subject long ago. It always provoked cries of delight from a general audience when I contrasted pictures of the wildly jagged stones seen by romantic eyes with others showing the smooth stones and regular form of the Roman temple of the Tuscan order apparent to the classical vision. I ended my lecture with Stonehenge as it appeared to our scientific age-but I did not at that time dream that our greatest prehistoric monument would actually be taken over by astronomers and recognized as a celestial observatory and calculating machine.
Time and again, at international gatherings of archaeologists, the language barrier topples at the touch of a pencil on the back of an envelope. There is already a universal visual language, because archaeological evidences exist in the same visual terms the world over. Translate such data into words, and not only are they removed one step further from reality but also their meaning is put internationally at risk. They have to be translated yet again, from one verbal language to another, by intermediaries whose knowledge and skill may be imperfect.
In 1954 a stone and timber-built mortuary house belonging to the Funnel-Beaker (TRB) culture was excavated at Tustrup, in the county of Randers in Eastern Jutland. At that time such structures were unknown in the area of the Funnel-Beaker culture, but, five years later, a very similar mortuary house was found at Ferslev, just south of the Limfjord, in the neighbouring county of Aalborg. From the archaeological evidence Tustrup dates from the very beginning of the period when Passage Graves (Jættestuer) were being built in Denmark. The structure and the ritual carried out in both the mortuary houses, as it could be deduced from the content and disposition of the grave goods, adds very considerably to our knowledge of the burial practices of the megalith builders of Denmark. Quite apart from this, the discoveries at Tustrup and Ferslev provide us with good fixed points in the relative and absolute chronology of the Funnel-Beaker culture since each house contained a large number of highly ornamented pots as well as charcoal from the walls and roofs of the houses, which could be dated by the C14 method.
The main purposes of the excavations conducted on the summit of this mountain were three-fold: to check the commonly accepted equation of Umm el-Biyara with the Biblical Sela' of the Edomites; to determine the character, extent and duration of the Edomite settlement, and to obtain, through stratigraphic excavation, a well-dated series of Edomite pottery and other artifacts.
As general reports on the excavations have been published elsewhere and a preliminary report appeared in the Revue Biblique, it is sufficient in this paper to give only a summary of the findings.
The collection of over 1,100 cylinder seals and impressions on clay, now housed in the Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, is, after that of the British Museum, the richest of the kind in England. Here we have memories of Oxford Worthies beginning with the Reverend Greville Chester, who a hundred years ago travelled afar and brought home many antiquities. But it is appropriate that the first seal to be illustrated in this comprehensive catalogue is a boldly carved, prehistoric specimen purchased in Aleppo, in 1913, by T. E. Lawrence of Arabia, quondam Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, friend and protCgC of D. G. Hogarth who was then Keeper of the Museum. To these two men we must add a third, no less famous, namely Leonard Woolley who was then directing the British Museum's excavations at Carchemish: the extensive travels of this trio not only in north Syria, but also throughout the Levant, enabled them to acquire from the peasantry these delectable little souvenirs of personal identity. Carved cylinder seals, sometimes worn as amulets, were often made for the purpose of registering ownership to property. There must have been much competition to acquire them, for Lawrence writing from Carchemish in a letter dated ‘End of February ’ says to Hogarth: ‘Seriously, this last half-dozen, bought by me on the fringe of Abu Galgal, is very good. I rushed back, and have not been down again, because some villains began a dig at Deve Hüyük.… I got some good fibulae which are yours, and not Kenyon's this time at all events…’. Nonetheless, the British Museum was not forgotten and was moreover acquiring some share of the spoils from Carchemish (PL. XXXII).