- "I have long believed that the only way for us to become great is to emulate the ancients. However, when I first came up with that thought, I was referring to the Greeks and Romans. But if we could be like Those Who Came Before, there would surely be no stopping us."
- ―Johann Joachim Winckelmann, 1748.[src]
Winckelmann had long believed that civilization should strive to be like that of ancient Greece and Rome. Once he learned of the First Civilization's existence, Winckelmann held them as his new standard, expressing interest in their art and sense of aesthetics. While he wished that he could publish a book on the precursor race, Winckelmann acknowledged that he was obliged to keep his research secret.
In 1748, the Grand Master of the British Rite of the Templar Order, Reginald Birch, arranged for Winckelmann to be appointed the secretary of Count Heinrich von Bünau's extensive library, containing some 40,000 volumes. While Winckelmann's official task was to assist Bünau in writing a book on the Holy Roman Empire, he would secretly search the volumes for information on First Civilization sites for Birch.
That same year, Winckelmann wrote a letter to his fellow Templar, William Johnson. In it, he told of his position as Bünau's librarian. Winckelmann requested that Johnson send him copies of any books related to the history and mythology of the native Americans, so that he could add them to his research.