Egypt Exploration Eund.
more necessary since the impending publication of newly recovered
fragments of the Palermo Stone will probably bring great changes in the
varions reconstitutions attempted of the two first Dynasties.
The greatest part of the exhibition at King's Collège consisted of the
objects found in the cemetery E. excavated by Mr. Peet and Mr. Dixon,
whioh I shall call the " mixed cemetery." It contained burials of
true Egyptian character, a considérable mimber of so-called pre-
historic or predynastic tombs, and others which partake of tlie character
The great interest of tliis cemetery lies in the fact tbat it contributes
valnable data to the solution of a question the importance of which
cannot be denied : is the name predynastic or prehistoric given to the
tombs found in great number during the last twenty years correct ? or do
fchey belong to a set of people who are not the same as the true
The name predynastic or prehistoric is now considered as so well
established, that nobody thinks of questioning it. Whpever finds an oval
tomb with a crouched body surrounded by pots, some of which are very
coarse, others of better material, even with painted ornaments, most of
tliem of red colour with a black rim, and perhaps a few slate palettes or flint
instruments, will have no hésitation in saying that it is a prehistoric tomb ;
and if in a cemetery full of such burials there are Egyptian pits, it will be
pronounced at once that it is a predynastic site occupied and disturbed by
Egyptians. The predynastic stage is necessarily older than the Egyptian
culture of which it is the infancy, and it disappeared with the spread of
a more advanced civilisation and différent religions ideas.
This favourite theory of the présent day seems to me not to tally with
the facts derived from the excavations, and to be quite at variance with
what we see in our time. We cannot suppose primitive man to have
had a nature very différent from that of ourselves or our contemporaries.
What do we see now ? We observe that the more rudimentary a culture
is, the more strongly do its adhérents cling to it. Even in highly civilised
countries, in our time of schools and éducation, we can perceive how
deeply rooted are local tastes and local customs, even religious ideas or
practices which go back to a pre-Christian epoch.
Let us now take a large country like Egypt, a valley over a thousand
miles long, with no centre from which an influence might radiate towards
the circumference. Let us suppose this long valley inhabited by a
population of aborigines, of African origin, who have reached the stage
of neolithic civilisation. Evidently this civilisation will not be exactly