The Archaeology and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland by Sir Daniel Wilson

The Archaeology and Prehistoric Annals of Scotland

bySir Daniel Wilson

Kobo ebook | March 8, 2015

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The zeal for Archæological investigation which has recently manifested itself in nearly every country of Europe, has been traced, not without reason, to the impulse which proceeded from Abbotsford. Though such is not exactly the source which we might expect to give birth to the transition from profitless dilettantism to the intelligent spirit of scientific investigation, yet it is unquestionable that Sir Walter Scott was the first of modern writers "to teach all men this truth, which looks like a truism, and yet was as good as unknown to writers of history and others, till so taught,—that the bygone ages of the world were actually filled by living men." If, however, the impulse to the pursuit of Archæology as a science be thus traceable to our own country, neither Scotland nor England can lay claim to the merit of having been the first to recognise its true character, or to develop its fruits. The spirit of antiquarianism has not, indeed, slumbered among us. It has taken form in Roxburgh, Bannatyne, Abbotsford, and other literary Clubs, producing valuable results for the use of the historian, but limiting its range within the Medieval era, and abandoning to isolated labourers that ampler field of research which embraces the prehistoric period of nations, and belongs not to literature but to the science of Nature. It was not till continental Archæologists had shewn what legitimate induction is capable of, that those of Britain were content to forsake laborious trifling, and associate themselves with renewed energy of purpose to establish the study on its true footing as an indispensable link in the circle of the sciences. Amid the increasing zeal for the advancement of knowledge, the time appears to have at length come for the thorough elucidation of Primeval Archæology as an element in the history of man. The British Association, expressly constituted for the purpose of giving a stronger impulse and a more systematic direction to scientific inquiry, embraced within its original scheme no provision for the encouragement of those investigations which most directly tend to throw light on the origin and progress of the human race. Physical archæology was indeed admissible, in so far as it dealt with the extinct fauna of the palæontologist; but it was practically pronounced to be without the scientific pale whenever it touched on that portion of the archæology of the globe which comprehends the history of the race of human beings to which we ourselves belong. A delusive hope was indeed raised by the publication in the first volume of the Transactions of the Association, of one memoir on the contributions afforded by physical and philological researches to the history of the human species,—but the ethnologist was doomed to disappointment. During several annual meetings, elaborate and valuable memoirs, prepared on various questions relating to this important branch of knowledge, and to the primeval population of the British Isles, were returned to their authors without being read. This pregnant fact has excited little notice hitherto; but when the scientific history of the first half of the nineteenth century shall come to be reviewed by those who succeed us, and reap the fruits of such advancement as we now aim at, it will not be overlooked as an evidence of the exoteric character of much of the overestimated science of the age. Through the persevering zeal of a few resolute men of distinguished ability, ethnology was at length afforded a partial footing among the recognised sciences, and at the meeting of the Association to be held at Ipswich in 1851, it will for the first time take its place as a distinct section of British Science.
Title:The Archaeology and Prehistoric Annals of ScotlandFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:March 8, 2015Language:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1465608133

ISBN - 13:9781465608130