The Dawn of European Civilisation


    ADVANCE in our knowledge of the various stages of prehistoric culture in Europe has never been uniform. This was necessarily the case in the earlier days of archaeological investigation, when the material was drawn to a large extent from chance discovery. Even now systematic exploration can be pursued only to a relatively limited degree, and fortune may at any moment bring to light evidence which will affect fundan mentally our conceptions of the course of events in any given area at some particular point of time. It is, however, a remarkable, but not necessarily a surprising, fact that our knowledge of the neolithic and succeeding phases of the prehistoric period, but especially the neolithic, should so long have lagged behind that of the palaeolithic stage. It is not surprising, if only because the high antiquity of palaeolithic man and the mystery of his phylogeny have appealed strongly to the imagina? tion, and this has tended to stimulate and systematise research. Greater attention, it is true, is now paid tb the period immediately following the palaeolithic and the break in continuity, which it was once imperative to recognise, has been filled by the culture of trie epipalaeolithic or mesolithic age. But in the neolithic age itself and in the later periods, although there is rio lack of material, frequently the conditions of discovery in surface finds or in isolated hoards and caches havie precluded the study of the material in its more precise chronological relations, which is necessary for the full understanding of the lines of development and the trenid of events.

    The Dawn of European Civilisation.

    By V. Gordon Childe. (The History of Civilisation Series.) Pp. xvi + 328. (London: Kegan Paul and Co., Ltd.; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1925.) 16s. net.

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    The Dawn of European Civilisation . Nature 118, 401–403 (1926).

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