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The tradition of Greek thought with which we are concerned here is quite different from the mythology that preceded it, and, as it develops, has to contend with philosophical and literary traditions no less sophisticated than itself, but inspired by other interests than scientific curiosity. It treats occasionally of human physique in a manner which is scientifically interesting, but does not anywhere, in my opinion, present a theory of man's physical evolution from animal ancestors. It foreshadows much of the speculation about cultural progress which has been current during the last 150 years, touching also on the origins of religion and language, Its rather scanty remains represent a period of seven or eight centuries, the same during which medicine and some other branches of science were actively pursued or initiated by the Greeks.
During and immediately after the 1939-45 war archaeology in China was practically at a standstill. With the world quietening down once more, the study of the human past began again to make a tremendous spurt forward. From Siberia through Western Asia and Africa to Central America excavation began everywhere. China, where the culture of Eastern Asia was born, was no exception. Before the war there was only a handful of archaeologists in the Chinese field. They were either enthusiasts from abroad or graduates of Harvard or London who worked on a few limited sites or some ancient tombs which had been discovered by accident. In the last fifteen years the situation has been greatly altered. Hundreds of young archaeologists have been trained in the universities as well as in permanent quarters erected close to the important sites under the direction of the Institute of Archaeology. They are organized into field teams that can be sent to any part of the country to co-operate with local workers. They work in the field and produce their reports by group discussion.
We have been 50 bold as to call the LCbous site a ‘castle’ because, architecturally, it is in plan very like a medieval castle: it is trapeze-shaped, measuring 50 m. on two sides and 75 m. on the other two sides, and it is reinforced at its angles and along its walls with round towers. The enclosure is of dry stone walling about a metre thick, and the towers are about 2 m. 50 cm. in diameter inside, and spaced 24 m. apart from each other. On the north face a tower has been replaced by a rectangular entrance protected by two walls arranged like antennae (FIG. 2). The walls now stand only 60 to 80 cm. high, but one imagines that originally they rose to a height of 1½ m. (PL. XXVIII).
It is not suggested that we are dealing with a castle in the strict sense of that word: surely Ltbous is a fortified village site, and as such unique in the prehistory of western Europe and of very great importance. We need not concern ourselves here with the history of the discovery of the site, except to say that in the course of the excavation of seven Hallstatt barrows, tower no. 3 was found underneath them. As the towers and walls are all covered by Hallstatt and Bronze Age barrows, a late Roman wall, medieval. constructions, and even ploughed fields (surprising for garrigue country), it is not surprising that it took nearly seven years to discover the true nature of this fortified village.
The site is 1 km. south of the village of St-Mathieu and in the commune of St-Mathieu-de-Tréviers on the ridge known as the Ltbous . Our excavations have already been published in France and Germany ; here we wish to summarize our work for English readers and to refer to the most recent excavations, hitherto unpublished.
The centuries between A.D. 400 and 800, which make the transition between Antiquity and the Middle Ages, are sparsely documented and have often been called by the English the ‘Dark Ages’, the dark centuries of Western European history. This paucity of written historical sources is greatly to be regretted, for these were decisive centuries for the formation of European society and in them occurred events whose results are to be seen even to the present day. The Roman Empire with its ancient civilisation collapsed; the countries on the southern shore of the Mediterranean went over to Islam; the Slavs settled in the Balkans, North-Central Europe, and the territory around the Danube as far as Austria; and these Danube-lands came under the domination of the Mongolian Avars.
The two photographs (PL. XXXVIIw) hich are the subject of this note were obtained during reconnaissance sponsored by the Committee for Aerial Photography of the University of Cambridge. Both photographs record monuments apparently unnoted before. The first lies on the chalk of the Yorkshire wolds, in Burton Fleming parish (TA 097707), 2 miles north of Rudston (PL. XXXVII (a)). An oval enclosure defined by a broad ditch (dark) and bank (light coloured) is seen by differential growth of barley. A visit to the site after the field had been reaped established that the enclosure is plainly visible on the surface. The bank is much spread by ploughing: but still rises to a height of nearly 4 ft. above the level platform that it encloses.