Antiquity and the Old World. (Special Section)

By Sheridan, Alison | Antiquity, December 2002 | Go to article overview

Antiquity and the Old World. (Special Section)


Sheridan, Alison, Antiquity


Introduction

As with its treatment of world archaeology as a whole, ANTIQUITY's coverage of Old World archaeology has been encyclopaedic. All the important sites, excavations and discoveries are there, from Stonehenge to the frozen tombs of Siberia, and from the Acropolis to Old Zimbabwe. In addition to site-specific contributions there have been many invaluable syntheses of evidence, such as Dilip Chakrabarti's review of the beginning of iron-use in India (1976), or the numerous articles dealing with plant and animal domestication and the transition to farming (e.g. Higgs & Jarman 1969). A wide range of issues affecting Old World archaeology--and equally applicable to the New World--have been covered, with much attention being paid to heritage management topics such as the problem of looting and the restitution of cultural property (e.g. Daniel 1971: 246-8). Methodological advances, and in particular developments in absolute dating techniques, have been followed closely. But perhaps most interestingly, the pages of ANTIQUITY provide us with a chronicle of the development of Old World archaeology itself, with accounts, anecdotes and obituaries concerning the great figures of the day, and also generous references to young scholars of note. Much of this information has been conveyed in the witty and often acerbic Editorials, which have provided an invaluable and unique insight into the world as viewed from Cambridge.

I do not propose to offer a statistical analysis of ANTIQUITY's Old World content, or to attempt a distillation of 75 years' contributions. Rather, I have chosen to highlight some of the topics that have particularly entertained and informed this reviewer over the years and which, arguably, reflect Old World preoccupations, namely: sex, alcohol, scandal and the eccentricities of the British. All have featured prominently in the pages of this august journal.

The Cerne Abbas giant

My first `case-study' manages to combine three out of these four topics, and concerns a male, ithyphallic, club-wielding figure cut into a chalk hillside in Dorset (FIGURE 1). Archaeological opinion has been divided as to its date, although many favour the view proposed by Stuart Piggott (1932) that it probably dates to around the 1st century AD, was carved by Roman-influenced natives, and may well represent the god Hercules (see Darvill et al. 1999 for a recent debate). As well as being a schedfiled ancient monument, it has long been popular with courting couples, and folk belief has, for obvious reasons, attributed fertility powers to it.

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Professor Glyn Daniel's Editorial in volume 50 (1976b: 93-4) refers to a Home Office file concerning this figure, dating to 1932. This well-thumbed document is headed Obscene Publications: the Cerne Abbas Giant, and concerns a letter of complaint written by a Walter L. Long of Dorset. Mr Long had appended a sketch, and had covered this with a paper flap. He wrote:

If this sketch offends, please remember that we have the same subject, representing a giant 27,000 [sic] times life size, facing the main road from Dorchester to Sherborne.... With the support of the Bishop of Salisbury ... and representatives of other religions, I appealed to the National Trust [who care for the monument, asking them to cover the offending section, but the National Trust] ... does not consider [that] the obscenity of this figure is a matter on which I can act ... If the Cerne Giant were to be converted into a simple nude, no exception would be taken to it. It is its impassioned obscenity that offends all who have the interest of the rising generation at heart, and I ... appeal to you to make this figure conform to our Christian standards of civilization.

The Home Office's response is a model of British diplomacy and Civil Service-speak. They approached the National Trust and even wrote to the head of the Dorset Police, seeking his view, before replying to Mr Long that, since the figure was a national monument, `the Secretary of State regrets that he cannot see his way to take any action in the matter'. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Antiquity and the Old World. (Special Section)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.