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Archaeology is particularly important for learning about prehistoric societies, for whom there may be no written records to study.
Prehistory includes over 99% of the human past, from the Paleolithic until the advent of literacy in societies across the world.
Antiquarianism focused on the empirical evidence that existed for the understanding of the past, encapsulated in the motto of the 18th-century antiquary, Sir Richard Colt Hoare, "We speak from facts not theory".
Tentative steps towards the systematization of archaeology as a science took place during the Enlightenment era in Europe in the 17th and 18th centuries.
He arranged his artifacts by type or "typologically, and within types by date or "chronologically".It draws upon anthropology, history, art history, classics, ethnology, geography, geology, literary history, linguistics, semiology, textual criticism, physics, information sciences, chemistry, statistics, paleoecology, paleography, paleontology, paleozoology, and paleobotany.Archaeology developed out of antiquarianism in Europe during the 19th century, and has since become a discipline practiced across the world.John Aubrey (1626-1697) was a pioneer archaeologist who recorded numerous megalithic and other field monuments in southern England.He was also ahead of his time in the analysis of his findings.