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Australian students of archaeology could be excused for thinking that aerial photography is a technique with little archaeological application in their own country. Archaeological text books usually draw their examples of the uses of aerial photography from Europe or the Americas; even the pages of Antiquity, graced for many years by the work of J. K. St Joseph and others, suggest a similar geographic limitation. It is also a fact that there are not many published aerial photographs of Australian archaeological sites. In particular, the great tradition of low-level oblique photography with hand-held camera seems to have had comparatively little impact on Australian archaeology. There have been notable exceptions: for instance Bill Webster, of the University of New England, has taken low-level oblique infra red photographs of the Moore Creek Axe Quarry near Tamworth, New South Wales (Binns and Mc- Bryde, 1972; McBryde, 1974); Jim Bowler of the Australian National University provided photography of Lake Mungo (Mulvaney, 1975, P1.47), and Judy Birmingham of Sydney University has published an aerial photograph of the Irrawang Pottery (Birmingham, 1976)
The authors of this paper were invited to attend a conference on ‘Ancient Vermont’ held at Castleton in Vermont in October 1977, and to examine and comment upon the ‘evidence’ for the extensive occupation of New England by Celts and others in the first or second millennium BC as propounded by Professor L. B. Fell of Harvard University. The ‘evidence’ consists broadly of supposed ‘Ogam’ and ‘proto-Ogam’ inscriptions on rocks and stones and megalithic stone structures, some of the structures appearing to have specific orientation in association with standing stones which, it has been suggested, indicates possible solar observatories. The nature of some of the evidence was examined by the authors both in the field and in an exhibition as well as by way of papers delivered at the conference. The conclusions reached were negative concerning any material evidence of a Celtic presence but do not, of course, preclude the possibility that Celts reached the New World in remote antiquity, nor deny that there are numerous anomalous features in the New England landscape which need to be carefully documented, explored and analysed.
The discovery of three bronze age cist burials at Ashgrove, Fife, was unusual in revealing highly decomposed macroscopic plant debris in cist I, which was excavated by Professor R. J. Adam, Mrs Mary Adam and Professor L. H. Butler. Miss A. Henshall (1964) states that the liberal clay luting of the side slabs and cover of cist I had been so effective as to keep the interior dry and free of soil. She also reports that 'Over the skeleton and cist floor there was a thin deposit of black crumbly matter which formed a deep deposit nearly I ft across in the area between the forearms and upper arms, i.e., in the vicinity of the chest' (p. 167) (PL. xva). Miss C. A. Lambert (now Mrs C. A. Dickson), in an appendix to Henshall's paper, found that 'The plant material consisted of abundant dicotyledonous leaf fragments, bark, twigs, wood charcoal (two tiny fragments), plant tissue with crystalline copper salts adhering to it and fairly abundant sphagnum moss. The leaf fragments were several layers thick but their poorly preserved condition prevented their separation and identification.
A glance at the archaeological literature of the last dozen years demonstrates all too clearly that the popularity of the 'invasion hypothesis' in Irish archaeology is quite undiminished. An almost incessant stream of immigrants appears to have tramped ashore from the Mesolithic period to the Iron Age. Even reckoning those pre-eminent invaders, the Beaker Folk, as merely a single influx, over a dozen significant prehistoric population movements are claimed by a variety of writers. The general picture presented suggests that Ireland throughout much of her prehistory was, if not an archaeological Ellis Island, at least a desirable landfall for the land-hungry, the dispossessed and the adventurous of most of the rest of Western Europe. Major changes and innovations in the archaeological record-in monument or artifact typemay conceivably be the result of either independent invention, or diffusion or of a combination of the two. The occurrence of megalithic tombs in very different cultural and chronological contexts in Western Europe, India and Japan, for example, is an instance of independent invention.
Our knowledge of the obsidian trade makes it an unique phenomenon in the prehistory of the Middle East. We know more about it than about any comparable exchange network. A great deal of work has now been done on the chemical composition of obsidian and on the location of its sources, on quantitative analyses, and on the spatial distribution of the material. The two major areas of supply, Central Anatolia and the area west of Lake Van have been extensively explored and individual sources pinpointed. It has been possible to reconstruct the movement of obsidian to sites as far away as Beidha in South Palestine and to Ali Kosh in South-West Iran. The distances involved are well over 1,600 km as the crow flies. Comparatively little work has been done on the mechanism of the trade, on the processes by which the obsidian changed hands, probably because such processes are difficult and sometimes impossible to determine from the archaeological record. In order to attempt such a task it is necessary to broaden our conceptual basis for studying data bearing on trade. To quote Adams (1974, 241) 'What is needed for this broadening to occur is a much more substantial awareness of ethnohistoric, historic and ethnographic studies of trade.