The history of cancellations goes back to the very earliest days of stamps. Their purpose was simple; to prevent fraudulent re-use of stamps. The authorities were terrified that methods of removing cancellations might be devised, so the earliest cancels were generally obliterations. Later the place and date of posting were usually included. Collectors may find themselves attracted to the evolution of machine cancellations, the study of postmarks from their local area, or village postmarks from remote colonies. There are no rules that must be obeyed, except for the ones you set yourself!