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Page:History of Architecture in All Countries Vol 1.djvu/85

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Part II.
53
INTRODUCTION.

and industry of learned linguists. Physiology has lent her aid; but the objects offered for her examination are so few, especially in remote ages, and the individual differences are so small, as compared with the general resemblance, that in the present state of that science, its aid has not been of the imjjortance which it may fairly be expected hereafter to assume. In both sciences History plays an important part: in Geology, by furnishing analogies without which it would be hardly possible to interpret the facts; in Ethnology, by pointing out the direction in which inquiries should be made, and by guiding and controlling the conclusions which may have been arrived at. With the assistance of these sciences, Ethnologists have accomplished a great deal, and may do more; but Ethnology, based merely on Language[1] and Physiology, is like Geology based only on Mineralogy and Chemistry. Without Palaeontology, that science would never have assumed the importance or reached the perfection to which it has now attained; and Ethnology will never take the place which it is really entitled to, till its results are checked, and its conclusions elucidated, by the science of Archæology.

Without the aid and vivifying influence derived from the study of fossil remains. Geology would lose half its value and more than half its interest. It may be interesting to the man of science to know what rock is superimposed upon another, and how and in what relative periods these changes occurred; but it is far more interesting to watch the dawn of life on this globe, and to trace its development into the present teeming stage of existence. So it will be when, with the aid of Archæology, Ethnologists are able to identify the various strata in which mankind have been distributed; to fix identities of race from similarities of Art; and to read the history of the past from the unconscious testimony of material remains. When properly studied and understood, there is no language so clear, or whose testimony is so undoubted, as that of those petrified thoughts and feelings which men have left engraved on the walls of their temples, or buried with them in the chambers of their tombs. Unconsciously expressed, but imperishably written, they are there to this hour. Any one who likes may read, and no one who can translate them can for one moment doubt but that they are the best, and frequently the only, records that remain of bygone races.

It is not difficult to explain why ethnographers have not hitherto considered Archæology of that importance to their researches to which


  1. Max Müller, who is the facile princeps of the linguistic school in this country—in an inaugural lecture which he delivered when, it was understood, he was appointed to a chair in the Strasburg University—gave up all that has hitherto been contended for by his followers, he admitted that language, though an invaluable aid, did not suffice for the purposes of the investigation, and that the results obtained by its means were not always to be depended upon.