An island without a history

ANTIPAROS may in one sense be said to be a lucky island — it is a place without a history. In classical times it was ignored, in mediaeval times it was deemed of no account; all we can say for certain about it is that, until lately, it was the hotbed of piracy — and its inhabitants are still anything but creditable members of society — and it has a very large cave.

The contempt of the Pariotes — The crows and the Swans

The Pariotes look down on their neighbours with supreme contempt and call them kouroúnai gr , or crows. I was puzzled at this appellation, for we certainly saw more crows at Paros than Antiparos, and asked my muleteer. ‘You must know, sir,’ he replied, ‘that of all men the Antipariotes are the most superstitious; and when I was young they were accustomed to take oracles from crows. If they saw a crow settle on a tree they would carefully observe on which side it was; if on the south side of the tree off they went in a hurry to shut the gates of their village, for this was an augury that corsairs were in the channel; if the bird settled on the north side all was safe, and they took no further heed: and so we always call them “crows.”’

Something strongly resembling the oracles taken from the Dodonian Oak, I thought, as I jogged along, and my interest was excited about the crows into whose nest we were about to deposit ourselves; but, as it turned out, we found our home for three weeks at Antiparos, not amongst the crows, but in the hospitable nest of the Swans — two English brothers, who work calamine mines on this island, and who not only assisted us in our digging operations, but gave us the rest that we much needed.

The pirates’ haunts — A lucky windfall

On the coast of Paros, just over against Antiparos, is a little church. When people want to be ferried across they leave the door of this church open as a signal for the rickety tub to come across and fetch them: this is all the means of communication the crows have with the outer world. The strait is very narrow, and between the two islands in former years the pirates built a wall in the sea, the passage through which was only known to themselves; so by this means they had an infallible escape from pursuit, and the honeycombed coast of Antiparos formed an excellent depository for their stolen goods. All the older inhabitants can tell wonderful stories of those days, when exciting chases after pirates passed before their very eyes. One story, which they are never tired of relating, and regretting that it will never happen again, runs as follows. A heavily laden merchant ship was hotly pursued by pirates, and, perceiving no chance of eventual escape, it ran into a bay of Antiparos, close to which is a large cave; here they deposited their goods and went away, hoping that the pirates would not find the things. The Antipariotes, however, were aware of this manoeuvre, and, after waiting for a little time, for fear of summary vengeance if the merchant returned and found his goods stolen, they one by one repaired to the cave, bringing back first one thing and then another until, as time wore on, and the merchants did not return, anybody who was in want of anything took a walk to the cave and helped himself.

The wretched town

A more wretched fever-stricken lot than the six hundred inhabitants of the one village of Antiparos I never saw; it is just one of the usual fortified Kastros of the islands, with the backs of the houses fitting close together, so as to form a circular wall. It has gates which are now never closed, and its streets are filthily dirty; and, as it lies low, in summer time it is a hotbed of fever.

The priest — The old wizards and their divinations

The priest, whom I afterwards learnt did not bear an excellent character, and who had narrowly escaped being unfrocked for his naughty ways, is the ruling spirit of the place, and seized upon us foreigners as his own particular prey. Where priestcraft is predominant, and more especially unscrupulous priestcraft, there is always unlimited superstition. And here in Antiparos we found it as our muleteer had prognosticated. They believe an old man and an old woman have the gift of prophesying death. The old man is especially clever at this, and goes hobbling about at midday, when the sun is at its meridian, to an old tower, in front of which is a little square; here, in an ecstasy, he says that he sees those dancing who are going to die.

‘Barba George,’ for they call old men Barba here, said the priest who informed me, ‘on this subject has very delicate feelings; he does not break the news to the doomed individual himself, but does it through a friend.’

People believe that these old wizards can never make a mistake — only once the old man was wrong. He saw three people dancing the syrtos in front of the tower, two of them had their hands joined after the usual fashion in the dance, the third had not; the two died, the third is alive to this day. In addition to this faculty of foreseeing the advent of the arch enemy, Death, Barba George and Kera Anna used to be adepts at foretelling the advent of pirates and at giving timely warning to the inhabitants, but this branch of their trade may be said now to be extinct; simple sheep-stealing, such as often occurs, is beneath their notice.

Dancing and song — Idleness

After a death no Antipariote will cross his threshold from sunset to sunrise, for three days at least, for fear of encountering the ghost. Taken altogether, we felt that these people were a degraded, superstitious lot, far behind many of their remoter contemporaries in civilisation and progress. It was St. Nicholas’ Day, properly so called, when we reached Antiparos. It is excessively convenient for these lazy Greeks — the eve of their many feast-days and the feast-day itself are both considered as holidays. Services were going on in all the churches and dances in many of the houses, for, being an almost exclusively seafaring lot, they deem it necessary to show St. Nicholas special honour. The people of Antiparos, after the custom of all Greek peasants, dance the syrtos and the orchos remarkably well: the latter is for two only, and has very graceful motions, after the fashion of a hornpipe: and as a very plain young man and a repulsively ugly girl danced it together the musicians played music for them on a lute and fiddle, and sang as they played, in a painfully hideous key, the praises of the young woman, who, we were told, was shortly to marry her partner, as follows:—

‘She with her attractive love and graceful air and beauty of face shall live with prudence, honour, and praise for long years with her loving spouse.’ In this strain sang the bard whilst the happy couple stepped the orchos together and looked as few English couples under similar circumstances could look — utterly unconcerned.

There is nothing attractive in the village of Antiparos; lots of octopodia were hanging up to dry in the sun in preparation for the Lenten feast; on balconies we saw red cakes drying, which are formed of the skins of grapes which have been pressed in the winepresses, and which, we were told, are sent to France to make claret with. We were soon ready to depart; but just as we mounted our mules the priest came out of his house and begged us to take dinner with him, but having already sufficiently refreshed ourselves we refused, whereupon he disappeared for a moment and came out with a morsel of fish on his fork, which I was obliged to eat, for not until we had tasted food could we drink of the excellent wine he wished to offer us to the success of our journey. And then, without regret, we started across the island to the more genial quarters of the English gentlemen who own the calamine mines here, to whose hospitality we were to be so greatly indebted.

Antiparos is not a fair island to look upon — treeless and mountainous, but covered with a superabundance of low brushwood which in certain seasons is radiant with flowers. In the centre of the island it is fairly well cultivated and covered with vineyards, but the vines are all blighted, and the Antipariotes are but idle husbandmen, and so far they have found their incantations and priestly curses of but little avail in driving away this blight, which will remain with them, I fear, till they attack the evil with more energy than at present.

Visit to the grotto

Next day we visited the celebrated grotto, and as we approached it we were obliged to traverse a wilderness of stones. It was on his visit to this grotto that Tournefort’s mind was exercised by his favourite theory, the vegetation of stones. But though it is nearly two hundred years since his visit I fancy the stones have progressed but little in the vegetable direction — they are fearfully hard still and unpleasant to walk upon.

Appearance of mouth

The entrance to the grotto is about four miles from the village, and is a curious semicircular hole, about 100 feet long by 60 high, at the top of a hill, just under 1,000 feet above the sea-level; gigantic stalactites guard the entrance, lifelike and terrible. No wonder the natives look upon this cave — katafí gr, as they call it, a name common to most caves into which you descend (katafévgo gr) for refuge — with superstitious awe, and before entering it many think it advisable to let off a gun, so as to drive away any ghosts or hobgoblins that may be about. In one corner of the entrance is a little church, dedicated to St. John the Theologian, where they hold a panegyris once a year, and where shepherds sleep occasionally, and hear strange noises rising out of the cave, which terrify them exceedingly; for this, say they, is one of the entrances to Hades. A herdsman who chanced to be with us asserted that he and another man once passed the night in this church and heard great stones falling on the roof; they went out but saw nothing, yet all night the stones went on falling on the roof, so that they could get no sleep, and passed their time in crossing themselves and praying to St. John. Personally I felt much more as if I was about to enter the grotto of Thetis on the day of the marriage of Peleus; so much for associations — under different mental impressions they vary exceedingly.

Traces of antiquity

Just inside the entrance is a walled-off enclosure, where some hundred or so young kids were bleating and sporting. Just over the entrance wreaths of wild capers and other aromatic shrubs hung gracefully down. It is indeed a wild, enchanting spot; it must have been well known to the ancients, though no mention of it is made, for there is an incision on one of the stalactites from which a tablet has been removed, and on a rock to the left is an old inscription beginning thus: Epí Krítonos oíde ílthon gr, and then what appeared to be a list of names: this was all the trace of antiquity we could see. Inside there was none, and I should much doubt if any ancient Greek, unless he was one of the deities of Olympus, ever ventured to enter this yawning abyss.

Perils of the way — The illumination and effect — Popular dread — Curious belief

Now we were ready to descend; after going down a gentle slope for some thirty feet we reached an aperture four or five feet across, and here our difficulties began, and ropes had to be brought into requisition. It is not the pleasantest of all sensations to be dangling in the air over an abyss, the depth of which you cannot measure by the uncertain light of your torch, and to be solely dependent on your ability in holding a rope which is tied to a stalactite for your safety. Down, down we went, descending three difficult places by ropes and two by ladders until we were safely landed in a perfect sea of stalactites and stalagmites of dazzling beauty. We had brought with us a large quantity of dried brushwood (frígona gr) with which to kindle a light, and by this means we were able to penetrate with our eyes the labyrinth of sparkling chambers. No wonder the timorous Greek recognises in this cave the palace of his unearthly Nereids and deities belonging to another world; no wonder they tell stories of strange singings and dancings which are heard to be going on below: the shadows cast around us by our torches as we descended were enough to create all sorts of ideas in superstitious minds.

Here and there holes were pointed out to us which, said one of our men, no human being, to his knowledge, had ever penetrated, being too narrow; but a tradition exists that a goat put in here in about two hours’ time will turn up at a small church dedicated to the archangel Michael. We heard exactly the same story about the cave at Thermiá, so we did not give it credence, and certainly did not intend to test the veracity thereof.

The hall — Resemblance to a church — M. de Nointel’s Christmas mass

This vast hall, which we had now reached, right in the heart of the mountain, is seven hundred and twenty feet long, six hundred and seventy eight wide, and three hundred and sixty high, and resembles some lovely cathedral sparkling with gems, the dome of which is supported by elegant pillars of exquisite workmanship. Stalactites surround the edifice like statues of saints in niches, and stalactites in rows at one end remind one of an organ. It is not surprising that the idea of sanctity was suggested to the minds of the first modern travellers who descended here. At one end of this vast temple, screened off by stalactites, is a natural sanctuary with a ready-made altar, and at the end of it is a sort of pyramid which looks as if it were made of cauliflowers of marble. Two pillars in front of this were broken off by M. de Nointel to serve as a table for the celebration of his midnight mass in 1673; on the base of the pyramid are carved the following words:—

Hic ipse Christus adfuit
Ejus natali die mediâ nocte celebrato

This huge stalagmite is twenty-four feet high and twenty feet in diameter at its base, and beside it are rows of smaller stalactites, white and sparkling in the fitful light.

His retinue

M. de Nointel was the French ambassador at the Porte, and a great archaeologist, who travelled about and enriched the Paris museums in days when priceless gems were to be had for the trouble of taking. Out of some strange caprice he chose to pass three Christmas holidays in this grotto, accompanied by five hundred persons — his domestics, merchants, corsairs, timid natives who were bribed by largesses — any, in fact, who were willing to follow him.

It must have been a most impressive sight, that midnight mass in the bowels of the earth. A hundred large torches of yellow wax and four hundred lamps burning night and day illuminated the place, and men posted in every available space, on stalactites and in crevices all the way to the entrance, gave notice by the waving of their handkerchiefs one to the other of the moment of the elevation of the host, and at the given signal explosives were let off at the entrance of the cavern, and trumpets sounded, to herald the event to the world.

Their names

M. de Nointel passed the three nights in a small chamber close to the altar, whilst his friends scattered themselves about The great difficulty was to provide food and water for so many individuals, as the indefatigable ambassador was determined to wait here for three whole days. Luckily for them a spring of fresh water was discovered inside the cavern; how they provided food for such a multitude we do not know. The suite doubtless found it exceedingly difficult to pass the time in this imprisonment, so we are not surprised to find that they amused themselves by writing their names on the walls and on the pillars with firebrands. It is curious to see how fresh and clear these names have remained after the lapse of more than two centuries.

King Otho again

A further but uninteresting descent of about eighty feet can be made beyond this hall, where all the most energetic travellers have penetrated and written their names, and amongst others Otho, the first king of the Hellenes.

The ascent

We spent so long in examining the place that our stock of brushwood was nearly extinguished, and we were nearly choked with the smoke; so it was considered time to retire. Moreover our guides, and old Zeppo in particular, of whom more anon, grew greatly alarmed at the denseness of the atmosphere, and prayed us to be gone. The ascent was no easy matter, but it was accomplished with the loss of a few buttons and the receipt of a few bruises, and then we were in a condition to enjoy immensely the excellent luncheon which was prepared for us at the top.

Our offering to St. John

The remains of our candles were burnt by our attendants in the chapel of St. John the Theologian, ‘because,’ said they, ‘he has to-day preserved us in the evil hour.’

NOTE. On the Prehistoric Remains of Antiparos.

On ascertaining the existence of extensive prehistoric remains at Antiparos I felt that it would be a satisfactory spot for making investigations — first, because during historic times we have hardly any reference to the existence of a population here; in fact, the only reference that I can find to Antiparos under its old name of Oliaros is in an obscure author, Stephanos Byzantinos, who tells us that ‘Oliaros, one of the Cyclades, about which Heraclides, of Pontius, in his description of the islands, says, “Oliaros, a Sidonian colony, is distant from Paros nine stadia.”’ This notice gives us a possible solution of the vexed question as to who these inhabitants were; they may have been early Phoenicians. The existence of calamine in this island may have been known to them, and have attracted large numbers. Only a few years ago calamine mines have been opened here; whether calamine and its properties were known to the Phoenicians it is impossible now to say. I could find no trace of any ancient works here, but they may have taken their mineral from near the surface and have left no trace of holes. Beyond a Venetian fortress and the present wretched village, the inhabitants of which are chiefly descended from reclaimed pirates, and a few houses near the above-mentioned mines, there are no traces of habitations on the islands at all; certainly nothing of Hellenic work.

Excavation and discoveries

Secondly, I was induced to dig at Antiparos because I was shown extensive graveyards there. Of these I visited no less than four on the island itself, and heard from natives of the existence of others in parts of the island I did not visit. A rock in the sea between Antiparos and the adjacent uninhabited island of Despotiko is covered with graves, and another islet is called Cemeteri, from the graves on it. The islands of Despotiko and Antiparos were once joined by a tongue of land, which was washed away by the encroachment of the sea on the northern side; and in the shallow water of the bay, between the islands, I was pointed out traces of ancient dwellings, and with the help of a telescope — that is to say, a can with a glass bottom, which the sponge fishermen use here to see the bottom of the sea — I was able to discern a well filled up with sand, an oven, and a small square house. It would be interesting to compare these with the prehistoric houses found at Therasia and Santorin by the French School at Athens and with that on Salamis. Unfortunately the ruins were too much covered with seaweed for me, with the rude appliances at hand, to form any opinion or take any measurements. A clever fisherman, who knows every inch of the bay, told me that pottery similar to that I found in the graves was very plentiful at the bottom of the sea near the houses.

It is on the slope of the mountain, about a mile above the spot where the houses were, that an extensive graveyard exists. It is not unlikely that the submerged houses form the town of which this was the necropolis.

Lastly, I was further induced by the fact that the adjacent island of Paros was a great centre for settlements in all ages, owing to the marble quarries, from various nations and languages; but Antiparos had the advantage over Paros for excavating, owing to the non-existence of historic remains, so that we could start with a fair supposition that the extensive graveyards belonged to a period prior to history.

During my stay at Antiparos I was assisted in everything by the kindness of my friends the Messrs. Swan, who conduct the calamine mines on the island, and with the aid of their workmen I opened some forty graves from two of the graveyards. One of these cemeteries — namely, the one over the submerged houses already referred to — was greatly inferior to the other, in the character of the graves themselves, and in the nature of the ‘finds’ therein, though they all belonged to the same class of workmanship.

First, we will speak of the graves themselves. Most of those in the poorer graveyard were very irregular in design, some oblong, some triangular, some square; they generally had three slabs to form the sides, the fourth being built up with stones and rubbish. There was always a slab on the top and sometimes at the bottom of the grave. They were on an average three feet long, two feet wide, and seldom more than two feet deep. In every grave on this western side we found bones, chiefly heaped together in confusion, so much so that it seems impossible that the bodies can have been buried even in a sitting posture; and most graves contained the bones of more bodies than one. In one very small grave, so small that to get the remains of two people in they must have cut up the limbs, we found two skulls so tightly wedged together between the side slabs that they could not be removed without smashing them; from this we may possibly infer that the flesh had been removed in some way before interment, differing essentially from what Dr. Schliemann found at Hissarlik, where, he says, ‘all prehistoric people who succeeded each other in the course of ages on the hills of Hissarlik used cremation of the dead.’ This at once argues a great difference between the prehistoric inhabitants of Hissarlik and Antiparos. In the graves in the cemetery to the south-east of the island I found only one body in each; they were considerably larger and better built; some of them had graves beneath, and in every case a slab or pillow on which the head was rested. One graveyard was essentially inferior to the other in point of wealth and advance in art, yet the nature of the ‘finds’ in each was the same.

I will, first, discuss the marble ‘finds’ in these graves. In the poorer graves I found the rudest representations of the human form in marble, which somewhat resemble a violin, both of which were in one grave and probably meant to represent man and wife. In one grave here I also found some flat round bits of marble, which I threw away as mere pebbles at the time, but after-consideration makes me inclined to believe that they were intended for the same purpose.

Secondly, the cemetery to the south-east. The representations of the human form were certainly better, and show considerable advance in artistic skill; they have apparently been made by rubbing the marble with stone, so as to leave the nose and eyes.

There is always special attention paid in the female figures to the vulva triangle, doubtless pointing to a worship of procreative power; and in one figure found here the idea of the sitting posture is cleverly given, and there is a successful attempt to give the roundness of the calves and limbs. Two similar figures I got from Paros, perhaps indicating a further advance; the one with pointed legs I take to be a man, by comparing him with a similar figure in the British Museum. From Amorgos I got a still more advanced specimen of these quaint figures, being a group of which only is left the trunk of a woman’s body, with the arm of another person round her back, probably a further representation of man and wife. In the museum at Athens there exists one of these figures of wonderfully advanced execution; it represents a man sitting in a chair playing a lyre, and is really a work of fair execution, but they have always the same curious pointed shape of the head, and unnaturally long neck; and it is puzzling to divine why, when they could round and finish off other parts of the body, the head was invariably pointed like the blade of a stone implement. In some graves I found marble legs all alone, in another a headless silver figure covered with so heavy an oxide that the form was almost destroyed; they probably must have had some religious purport, ex voto note or otherwise; and from the excess of female figures over male it is presumable that the people were worshippers, though not exclusively, of some female deity.

Besides the figures there were a good many other marble things in the graves; large marble bowls, with vertical holes for suspension, are frequently found in similar graves in the Cyclades, and are called lichnária gr by the natives. One that I found in a grave at Antiparos had a collection of shells from the seashore at the bottom of it, evidently put in at the time of burial as an offering to the dead.

I found also several marble plates well rounded, and with an idea of ornamentation in the rim round the edge, another dish with bits of marble left on the edge for ornamentation, and a neatly made phial with a lip to pour out of. Marble, of course, is a speciality of the Cyclades, and especially so of the neighbouring island of Paros, and doubtless was an object of commerce to these very people; so we need not be surprised at the skill displayed in working it.

We will next discuss the obsidian implements which I found. In the poorer graves in the first cemetery there was not a trace of volcanic glass implements, whilst in the richer ones obsidian flakes or knives were very common; but here again I found no arrow-heads, which occur in great quantities in other places where obsidian implements are found in Greece. In Antiparos the inhabitants had their obsidian close at hand, for a hill about a mile from the south-eastern graveyard is covered with it. I take it that the graves must date from the very first introduction of the knowledge of making these instruments, as there were none in the poorer graves, and flakes only in the richer ones.

Obsidian, of course, is found in abundance in other parts of the world, and old graves on continental Greece produce many similar specimens. Obsidian cores come from Hungary, Mexico, Terra del Fuego, &c. Cerro de Navajos is an obsidian hill in Mexico, formerly the Sheffield of that country, where they made all their knives prior to the Spanish invasion. Quantities of obsidian implements are picked up now in the fields around there. When Cortes invaded Mexico he found the barbers of the Aztec capital shaving the natives with razors of precisely the same nature as the obsidian flakes I found at Antiparos.

The art of making them has perished, but the theory is plain; any maker of gun flints could do it. The Indians still have a plan of working obsidian by laying a bone wedge on the surface of a core and tapping it till the stone cracks; their productions are exactly similar to the flakes I found in Antiparos, as I have certified by comparing them in the British Museum.

In the next place I found a considerable number of metal ornaments in the graves at Antiparos. I have in my possession a narrow twisted torque of silver with a large percentage of copper, rings of silver with the same oxide on, as certain rings found in Etruria, which cuts like horn, a band of bronze with about seventy-five per cent of copper in it, and covered with an incrustation of red oxide and green carbonate of copper, and that little silver figure I mentioned above, with a thick incrustation of chloride of silver; thus giving us silver, copper, and bronze in use at the time of these graves.

Lastly, we will treat of the pottery, which, after all, is the most important item, and demands our chief attention. Pottery such as I found at Antiparos is now for the first time associated with the marble figures and marble household utensils, thus giving us some little further insight into the advance the people who fashioned these figures had made in domestic art. On none of this pottery is there the faintest trace of writing or inscriptions, thereby suggesting that the people were not Phoenicians or Sidonians, as the legend says, for most Phoenician remains have traces of inscriptions on them.

In the poorer graves we seldom found anything else but pottery: it is all of a rude character and frequently incised with rude patterns. The vase shaped like a sea urchin is covered with a sort of herringbone pattern, and stands about a foot high.

The pattern is common on very early Hellenic glass, and is the same as what we often see on ancient British vases. Most of the vases are very true, too much so to be hand-made, and consequently we may presume that many of them were turned on a potter’s wheel There is no trace, however, of a pattern from animal or vegetable life on these vases, all being herring-bone or criss-cross; this would place our pottery anterior to that of Hissarlik, on which we see attempts at the representations of eyes, noses, and breasts.

The clay is very poor and very slightly baked; much of it is black inside, as if the pots had been dried in a closed place, so that the smoke has penetrated the clay. Then, again, we have frequent specimens with bits of marble in the clay to prevent it contracting. As to shape, the specimens are very varied: there were lids without their bottoms, and frequent vases with a rim for a lid which was missing; most of them had vertical or horizontal holes, through which a string had been passed for suspension. noteOf course no importance can be attached to the following facts, but it is worthy of remark that in a cavern in Andalusia a fragment of a vase, now in the museum of St. Germain-en-Laye, was found with vertical tubular holes for suspension exactly like some I found at Antiparos. Similar ones have been found in Breton dolmens, and in the museum of Nordiske Oldsager there exists a vase found in a Danish barrow, covered with a lid, and having on each side corresponding perforations through which strings could be passed, exactly like one I found in the richest grave I opened in Antiparos. Curiously enough this grave was the only one I opened in which I found no trace of bones. I thought that perhaps traces of cremated bones might be found in the earth which filled the vase, but there were found to be none existing, and the earth had evidently made its way into and filled the pot through a crack in the side.

A vase in the British Museum from Forth Daforet, in Anglesea, has exactly the same pattern on it as one I have, and bits of marble, or quartz probably, in the clay to prevent contractions are very commonly found in ancient British vases. These points are merely speculations of course, and prove nothing, but still they are curious as prehistoric coincidences.

One further point with regard to this pottery I must mention, which perplexed me considerably at the time. About two hundred yards from the poorer graveyard I opened a small isolated grave, evidently that of a child; in it I found a lamp and a mug of much more recent date, probably at the most three centuries B.C. The grave was formed in exactly the same way as the others, and the only solution to the problem is this, that a child died on a boat which was storm-bound in the harbour, and was buried here, the materials and method for making the grave being taken from the neighbouring graveyard. Even now barques are frequently stormbound down there, and wait for weeks for a favourable wind to take them to their destination. With regard to a skull note I brought home from a grave in Antiparos I fear nothing can be proved from the study of an isolated specimen; suffice it to say that it is brachycephalic note, an unusual circumstance for skulls found in Greece; and in other ways this skull differs entirely from those hitherto found there. By comparing several of the skulls some conclusions might be arrived at, but, of course, this would present difficulties.

Difficulty of assigning date

Nothing can be decided without the aid of geology as to the dates of these graves; but with the aid of geology something might possibly be done, and it would turn on two points. First, as to the time of the submersion of the houses at Antiparos by the encroachment of the sea, which has evidently been brought about by the wearing through of the narrow slip of land between Antiparos and Despotiko; and secondly, as to the date of the first great convulsion of nature which changed Santorin from a lovely island, called i Kallisti gr, into a mass of pumice.

Argument from analogy of remains at Santorin

No tradition or allusion to this stupendous event is made by Herodotus or other writers, and Herodotus gives us the traditions of Santorin as far back as, the sixteenth century B.C. M. Fouqué, the French geologist who went to Santorin to study the recent eruption, stated it as his opinion that the first convulsion took place twenty centuries B.C. Tradition, by its silence, and geology, by its surmises, combine in placing this eruption before the sixteenth century, and the ‘finds’ of the French School in Santorin and Therasia were of a date prior to this eruption, for the prehistoric villages were covered with the layer of pumice which resulted from that eruption, which in its magnitude must have equalled the recent calamity in the Sunda Straits.

Now, with the one exception of marble, my ‘finds’ at Antiparos are inferior in artistic merit to both those of Santorin or Hissarlik, and hence doubtless anterior, for it can hardly be supposed that a knowledge of making superior pottery existed on one island and was unknown on another so close to it as Antiparos is to Santorin, especially as M. Fouqué proves that there existed considerable commercial intercourse between these islands.

By the contemplation of the vast population which inhabited the islands of the Aegean Sea, we are carried back into the remotest antiquity; and a vast population it must have been, for every island is full of these graves. In our travels we found many of the marble figures and bowls in the peasants’ houses, which they had found whilst digging in their fields; but from observation I may state that the great centre of this population was Paros, for the eastern side of the island is a perfect necropolis, whereas the richest ‘finds’ and the best designed figures have come from Amorgos, and the rudest ones I have seen are those I found at Antiparos. I am convinced that a further study of this subject under a more vigorous system of excavation than I was able to bestow on it would result in many interesting facts becoming known about this primitive race of mankind.