16 NOVEMBER 1907, Page 11


The Discoveries in Crete. By Ronald M. Burrowes. (John Murray. 5s.)—The writer states that it is his aim in this volume to give "a picture of Cretan civilisation as a whole, and to present that picture in a manner that will make it alive and real." Hitherto the public has had to rely for its insight into what is perhaps the most interesting archaeological investigation ever made upon the Reports annually issued by the investigators themselves, and the continual progress of discovery has neces- sarily made these Reports appear to the lay mind almost un- intelligible by reason of their self-contradiction. If any one other than an expert was to succeed in an endeavour to follow the work of Mr. Evans and his colleagues in Crete, it could only be with the help of some untechnical reference- and text-book of Cretan archaeology, and it is such a book that Mr. Burrowes has supplied. All the facts that go to substantiate the dreams conjured up by the word "Knossos" he presents in simple and convincing form; and by his clear and consistent account of the frescoes, the statues, and the other priceless gems of art which have been unearthed in that many-chambered palace, he brings before our eyes the men and deeds of the Homeric age as verse and fable have never done. By its own confession the book is less controversial than explanatory, but at times the writer is forced into the arena of conflicting theory. Nor is this a matter for regret, for it is then that he ventures to locate, by a most interesting chain of reasoning as to the derivation of the word, the labyrinth of mythology at Knossos, and traces the legend of the Minotaur to its source. The book contains much valuable and carefully thought out ethnological speculation, and, by dint of what he modestly terms " balancing probabilities and opening up lines of inquiry," Mr. Burrowes gives in practicable volume that adequate guidance which is so necessary to a study of the complicated racial problems with whioh the history of Aegean civilisation is bound up.