A detailed assessment of the period conventionally called the 'Late Bronze Age' - broadly from the beginning of the first millennium until the seventh century Be - is a subject more appropriate to another volume in this series. But before we can begin to define the social, economic and technical changes which began in the eighth century, and became intensified during the seventh, it is necessary to sketch in something of the indigenous background, if only to emphasize the strong element of continuity which underlies the social and economic history of the country throughout the first millennium.