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Until 1951,th e great archaeological site we now call Surkh Kotal had completely escaped notice. In the autumn of that year, a friend of mine, Sarwar Nasher Khān, informed me that some stones bearing Greek letters had just been found in Northern Afghanistan by a team of workers engaged in building a new road. A few weeks later, we visited the site. It lay some 15 km. to the north-west of Pul-i Khumri, and some 12 km. to the south of Baghlān, two modem industrial centres in the valley of the Kunduz River. Having asked for the find spot, we were shown a ruined structure bordering the new road, at the bottom of a hill (henceforth called ‘ the acropolis ’) projecting like a promontory into the valley, and we could see at once that this structure was but a part of a large fortified enclosure of irregular shape following the contours of the hill-area. Inside this enclosure could be seen a smaller rectangular enclosure, the centre of which was occupied by a large flat-topped mound. Several architectural fragments were lying about. They were made of the local limestone. They included two big column-bases, and what appeared to be the remains of a mighty stele in alto-relievo, 2.20 m. high. Inquiring about the name of the place, we got several contradictory answers, two things only being clear : (1) that the place was a ‘ Kafir Kala ’, a ‘ Heathen’s Castle ’; and (2) that the saddle or pass connecting the hill with the mountains further west was called Surkh Kotal, ‘ The Red Pass ’. In fact the ruin was anonymous, but ‘ Heathen’s Castle, of the Red Pass ’ could be considered a suitable name. We shortened it into ‘ Surkh Kotal ’, ‘ The Red Pass ’.
Throughout the Neolithic Period the inhabitants of what nowadays is Denmark profited from the country's wealth of flint for implements and weapons. T There were quantities of large and small nodules to be picked up along the shores, but even the most plentiful supplies were not always ample for their needs. In the early part of the Late Stone Age, when numbers of large stone axes were required for forest clearance, and at the close of the Neolithic Period when the idea was adopted of making daggers of extraordinary dimensions, while simultaneously a considerable export trade was started of implements to the flintless regions of the rest of Scandinavia, surface flint no.longer sufficed. There had also to be a rational exploitation of the occurrences of excellent pure flint in chalk deposits that were undisturbed and relatively easy of access.
The last few years have seen a rapid advance in our knowledge of the early inhabitants of America, not of their bones, which are still elusive, but of the ways in which they lived and the things they made and used. The appearance of two important publications gives occasion for a brief review of the present state of the problem and how it appears from outside.
Dr Wormington’s book is a new edition of an old friend, which is, like its predecessors, indispensable to anyone who wants to keep up with the material. It gives concise factual accounts of a large number of finds ; it aims at inclusiveness rather than selection, and the material is becoming rather overwhelming in volume, but the evidence, or lack of it, for dating a site is always clearly set out and the reader has no difficulty in picking out those which are really significant. Wormington can now divide her material into Palaeoeastern and Palaeowestern Traditions, of which more will be said below, as well as a Palaeonorthern one which has not yet been proved to be so early in date. Professor Jennings’ monograph had not been published when her book appeared, but she had an idea of its significance from progress reports. It describes the excavation of three caves in western Utah, of which by far the most important is Danger Cave ; the evidence is fully but rather naïvely set out, and it would have gained by being more concisely expressed.
And now I will tell of the men who lived in Pelasgian Argos, who dwelt in Alos and Alope, in Trechis, Phthia, and Hellas of the Fair Women. Their names were Myrmidons and Hellenes and Achaeans; and they and their fifty ships were unde Achilles’ command.’ (Iliad, 11, 681-5.)
In 1878, General Pitt Rivers excavated the motte and bailey castle on the downs behind Folkestone and published the results with characteristic promptness and accuracy. Today, over three-quarters of a century later, only four excavations, all in the past ten years, have advanced our knowledge further. While these have solved many problems, they have posed others, for few mottes are adequately documented (Old Aberystwyth is an honourable exception) and the dating of results can only be approximate.
The general situation in archaeology in China today is one of enormous expansion. Intensive training of specialists is going on, so that it is possible to have teams accompany the builders of the great public works (roads, railways, canals, etc.) in order to deal scientifically with any remains which may be unearthed. Every large city in China now has a good historical and archaeological museum and the number of these is rapidly being extended to the smaller towns as well.