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Archeology and Freemasonry

Archeology underwent at about the turn of the century a transformation which turned it from an almost esoteric specialty or hobby, engaged in by a small number of experts, into a large and ever-expanding profession which has covered the world with a network of activities, and is about to take its place alongside history and literature as one of the subjects for every well- read man to know. This transformation came about when a number of very highly specialized sciences and forms of research found in it a center and a meeting place. In consequence, archeology is now being carried on by a combined corps of specialists or experts in philology, in the history of art, in geology in paleontology, in philology, in ethnology, in chemistry, in geography, of experts on documents, of symbologists, of specialists in ethnic literatures, and of technologists who manage and carry on the work of expeditions, explorations, and excavations.

The public is not yet aware of the immensity of the findings, or to what an extent those findings are already effecting fundamental revisions in the writing of political, religions, and social history. Archeology has not absorbed antiquarianism on the one hand, nor historical research on the other, but it has become so dove-tailed into both that it is impossible to draw sharp boundaries between them. Masonic research under a have debt to this new archeology ;especially is so, when antiquarian and historical research are added to it. In it Masonic students possess new bodies of facts which belong to their own field.

Among these are such as: masses of data about the Ancient Mysteries in general and about Mithraism in particular; about the Collegia; about the origins of the gild system ; about the beginnings of European architecture; about the documents, customs, and practices of the earliest stages of Freemasonry; about the earliest Medieval social and cultural system in which the earliest Freemasonry was molded; about the arts, the engineering, and the mathematics of the period when Freemasonry began ; and about rites, societies, symbols, etc., which aliterate Freemasonry or were in action in other parts of the World ; about the Crusades ; and about the earliest present time larger part of the findings of archeology are in the form of reports of archeological societies or expeditions, in archeological journals, and in brochures and treatises not often found in bookstores. Only a small portion of this material has any bearing on the origin and history of Freemasonry ; but that portion is decisive for many questions and in the future must be included among the sources for Masonic history and research.

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