The Most Ancient East: The Oriental Prelude to European Prehistory

The Most Ancient East: The Oriental Prelude to European Prehistory

The Most Ancient East: The Oriental Prelude to European Prehistory

The Most Ancient East: The Oriental Prelude to European Prehistory

Excerpt

It seems peculiarly rash to write anything about the Ancient East just at this juncture. In no branch of archaeological science is discovery proceeding at such a breathless pace or leading to such revolutionary results. The disinterment of the forgotten Indus civilization, the opening of the Royal Tombs at Ur, and the discovery of the Badarian culture in Egypt have effected a more radical and dramatic enlargement of the historical horizon than any event since. Evans' identification of the Minoan civilization or Schliemann's disclosure of the treasures of Mycenæ.

Yet perhaps these very discoveries may be pleaded as a palliation of my rashness. From. the daily and weekly papers many people are made aware of them without being able in the least to understand what they really imply; for no extant work, at once intelligible to the general public and adequately illustrated, gives the man in the street a clear idea of the context of the new finds. In any case the novelty of my material may be advanced as an excuse for the inconclusive nature of my essay and the popular treatment of its theme. To try and build up an elaborate and coherent theory out of our present half-knowledge would be waste of time when incalculable new discoveries are upsetting the most cherished conclusions of the experts. To produce a manual (supposing I were capable of that) which would be bound to need radical revision in a couple of years would be sheer extravagance.

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