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The second edition of the Ordnance Survey Map of Roman Britain gives us what we have never had before—a detailed account of the distribution of population over a large tract of the Roman Empire. Hitherto it has been impossible to say what principles governed the distribution of population during that period; and the result has been that everything written about the population of the Roman Empire has been somewhat vague and inconclusive, and has generally been confined to sweeping generalizations founded on induction from a very few facts, or to mere repetition of isolated statements, some doubtless true, others perhaps exaggerated or misleading, made by ancient writers.
Few monuments are more interesting to the general observer than the hill-figures carved on the chalk downs of Southern England. The publication of Sir Flinders Petrie's monograph has led us to revisit one of those he describes; and the resulting observations are here set down for what they are worth.
Sometimes the Gods are kind, and so they seemed one morning during last season's excavations at Windmill Hill: when some minor official of that department which dispenses new ideas through such simple media as overflowing baths and falling apples, superintended the finding of a large quantity of fragments of ‘West Kennet’ type pottery, thickly ornamented with a clearly defined design and in the same layer-for this site singularly unproductivea small bird-bone.
Arthur's knights are myths. They can be traced to Celtic deities, and there is no history to be gathered from attempts to analyse legends about them. But Arthur himself is not a myth: he is a tradition. Nobody has succeeded in identifying him with any god of prehistoric Europe. He arrives unadorned, at first; it was only later that romances dressed him up in the trappings of a Viking Age hero. He is announced simply as the Roman-Briton who won twelve battles against the Saxons. ‘Nennius’, who says this, is as unknown as Arthur himself, but the statement is backed by the very definite mention of the crowning victory at Mount Badon in the bit of autobiography of Gildas, and by the acceptance of this by Bede as a fact.
The opinion which attributes the origin of ancient winding roads in the older lands (including England) to the ‘wild animal path to the ford’ or drinking-place, is no novelty to most archaeologists, even if they have made no special study of the subject. Many also are doubtless familiar with the argument from the ‘buffalo trails’ or paths of our Western plains, which has been adduced in support of the theory. The manner in which the buffalo argument has been used by its champions manifestly indicates a confident conviction that it is so entirely conclusive as to banish all reasonable doubt and virtually settle the question.
The name of the Syrian town of Katna is first met with in the El-Amarna Tablets, a collection of 300 letters written in Babylonian and found in 1887 at El Amarna in Upper Egypt. These letters were addressed by the princes of Palestine and Syria to their allies or suzerains, the Pharaohs Amenophis 111 and Amenophis IV, in the first half of the fourteenth century. Four or five of these letters of El Amarna were actually written from Katna itself. They show us the Prince Akizzi expressing to the Pharaoh Amenophis 111 his feelings of loyalty, and at the same time asking his help against the Hittites, who then occupied a large expanse of territory in the north of Syria, thus threatening the Valley of the Orontes.
Assam is one of the very few remaining areas in which rude megalithic monuments are still erected and, like the most notable of the others—Madagascar—is on the fringe of the diffusion area of Indonesian civilization. Far apart as the two countries are, rough stone monuments are in both associated with a cult of the dead; both areas have cultural connexions with the Pacific. This paper, however, deals only with Assam, and its purpose is to give a brief account of the megalithic work existing there and thus to throw some light, perhaps, on the purposes and methods which may have been responsible for similar work in the prehistoric past of other countries.