Excerpt from Transactions of the Historic Society of Lancashire and Cheshire, Vol. 7: For Session 1854-55
The difficulties with which sound English archmology has had to contend in its beginning, arose chie¿y from the vague spirit of curiosity which preceded it. Instead of th... e careful and extensive comparison from which alone we can hope to deduce facts of importance, people looked at each article only with regard to itself; and, for the course of inductive reasoning which science requires they thoughtlessly substituted mere irrational con jecture. This had become a sort of habit. Pe0p1e assumed, without knowing why, that the tumuli of which I have been speaking covered the remains of battle-fields, and never questioning the fable or tradition which made the homes of these battles Danes or Britons, Saxons or Normans, (popular tradition knew little of Romans), they followed that tradition in calling whatever articles were found in them Danish or British, or Saxon or Norman. It is quite wonderful, when we look back into the writings of the old antiquaries of note, how few escaped from the in¿uence of such popular errors. Although accustomed to classification in other branches of science, they seem never to have thought of applying it to this; and museums were simple collections of curiosities, instead of being the materials for scientific investigation. It may be said to have been in the Anglo Saxon tumuli of Kent that a better spirit of investigation first showed itself, and that the foundations were laid for the higher cultivation of archwological science which now happily prevails.
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