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No book quite like this has ever been written. That is partly because the scientific discoveries upon which it is based are themselves so new that some of them are still unpublished (the earliest pictograms, for instance). But even when the knowledge is less new it is, for the most part, the special preserve of a few students, of great powers but limited range and outlook. Professor Childe can meet them on their own ground, for he has studied the archaeology of the Near East and India (as well as of Europe) at first hand. Four of the nine chapters in this book ‘are based on first-hand study of the original objects, and reports’ (p. vii); and, indeed, so are the relevant parts of the first three—the last two being of a general nature. There is probably no man living with better qualifications for such a theme as the Making of Man; and that holds true, whether one agrees (as the reviewer does) with Professor Childe's thesis, or not. Most of it, of course, is not opinion but fact.
The plain of Argos is roughly triangular in shape. The base lies along the sea coast from Lerna to Nauplia and the apex is at Mycenae, which thus overlooks the Argive plain as Deceleia overlooks the Attic. The traveller, who, like Pausanias, approaches Argolis from the northeast by way of Corinth and Nemea and sees, as he emerges from the Tretos defile, the Argive plain opening before him to the southeast, will notice among the foothills to his left a rather inconspicuous, but isolated hill standing out between two steep and rocky conical peaks. This is the citadel of Mycenae. It owes its strength to its natural position, which is easily defensible, and it has an ample supply of fresh water from the spring Perseia running into an underground cistern reached by a secret passage. There were also three wells within the walls and at least one rain-water cistern. No enemy can hope to approach its walls in any force without being observed, and its distance from the coast precludes any danger of surprise from the sea. As a seat of power it is admirably placed. It dominates the Argive plain and it controls the routes that lead northeast to Corinth and the rich districts easily accessible thence, the fertile littoral of Achaia or the Boeotian coast with the central Greek plain behind. The site was thus naturally inhabited early in the Bronze Age, probably from the very beginning of that age on the Mainland of Greece about 2800 B.C., and round it on the outlying hills were neighbouring settlements so that the district even then must have been fairly well populated.
The most impressive megalithic monument in the world, which has come to be known as the ‘Avebury Complex‘, lies on a spur of the Middle Chalk running northwestwards from the main massif of the North Wiltshire Downs. Immediately to the west runs the river Kennet. The monument consists of an approximately circular bank with a ditch on its inner side enclosing a level area of 28½ acres. On the inner edge of the ditch stood a circle of standing stones. Inside the circle again stood two interior settings of standing stones, each consisting of a double concentric circle, that to the north having in its centre three stones forming the so-called ‘Cove’, and that to the south a monolith. There was one original entrance through the bank and across the ditch at the south, and to this entrance an avenue (usually called ‘The West Kennet Avenue’) consisting of a double line of standing stones placed in pairs, averaging 50 feet apart transversely, and at average longitudinal intervals of 80 feet, led for a distance of over a mile from two small concentric stone circles on Overton Hill, known as ‘The Sanctuary’.
Amongst the early Christian monuments of the British Isles the Scottish cross-slabs form a well defined group. They are related to the Irish and Manx crosses of the 7th and 8th centuries and show occasionally some connexion with Northumbrian art. But, out of motives borrowed from these different sources, there was evolved in Scotland a type of monument peculiar to that country. The erect slab was constantly preferred to the free-standing cross, and, although a flat style of carving, similar to the Irish style, was used, and many of the Irish motives—spirals, interlacing and occasionally animal-interlacing—were adopted, the spirited rendering of hunting scenes and fantastic animals, and the use of the cross, framed in the slab as in a page of manuscript, gave to these monuments a definite originality.
The interaction between man and his environment, which is the basic principle of the science of Geography, is well-illustrated in a study of house-types in Wales. A detailed survey of Welsh house-types is being carried out by the Department of Folk Culture of the National Museum of Wales. It is felt that a study of the traditional types will not only throw much light on the history of culture but will also clarify some issues in the anthropological and archaeological field. This paper may be considered as a brief interim report of part of the survey, supplemented by some material already recorded.