James Rignall Wheeler
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It is interesting to contrast the conception which is formed of the civilization of ancient Egypt with that which may be had of ancient Greece where archaeological study goes hand in hand with the extensive knowledge thatcomes from written history and from a great literature. In spite of the enormous amount of archaeological material in Egypt, the idea which can be gained of the life of the ancient Egyptians seems shadowy and external to us in the absence of extended written records. We may see evi dence of dynastic changes, of an all-powerful hierarchy, of attempted religious reforms, of the management of great agricultural estates in the Nile valley, and we may know with astonishing minuteness the material implements and setting of everyday life, but we do not know that life in any really sympathetic way. Its thoughts, its ideals, its strivings are lost to us in the lapse of centuries. With Greece, on the other hand, it is very different. Archae ologically it is certainly not better known to us than Egypt, but we may go with the Greek into his political assemblies; to his law-courts and his market-place, to his theatre and his athletic games. We can hear him talk of his art and his religion and his poetry. In other words we can know him in almost the way that we may know a contemporary civi lization. I shall have more to say about the part that archaeology plays in the vivid picture we get of Greece, but just now I merely want to emphasize the difference between the type of the study when it is concerned with a people that has left written records, and with one that has not done so — be tween the independent archaeology and that which is a branch of history.
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