The existence of historical sources provides valuable

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The existence of historical sources provides valuable inputs regarding the past. Historiographers tend to differentiate these sources in the context of written and oral histories. Oral history is dynamic because it is spread by word-of-mouth; on the other hand, written history is fixed and emphasizes the recording of facts. Historiography tries to place various sources of information into specific contexts. This means that the historiographer does not merely accept the content of a source at face value but identifies the source, looking for various motifs in its formation. While reconstructing a historical event, it may be possible that the historiographer may include or exclude facts, because of various reasons. In such a scenario, one of the questions the historiographer must investigate is how some facts remain included or excluded from a history. Comparing different accounts of a single event can highlight inclusions or exclusions from a history. In contrasting these sources, one can understand not only the event but also the precise perspective of the author of the source. 1.3 SOURCES OF ANCIENT INDIAN HISTORY The purpose of history is to throw light on the past. This is done through discovery and study of historical sources. It is rather easy to find sources for writing the history of the recent past because there is plenty of hand written and printed material on and about modern State and Society. There is also enough material in respect of medieval times. The real difficulty arises while writing ancient history. These sources are divided into two main groups. They are archaeological and literary. The Archaeological Source can again be divided into three groups, namely, archaeological remains and monuments, inscriptions and coins. The literary source Check Your Progress 1. Differentiate between maritime history and Atlantic history. 2. What is historiography?
Self-Instructional Material 7 Ancient Indian History and Culture NOTES can also be divided into three groups, namely, religious literature, secular literature and accounts of foreigners. 1.3.1 Archaeological Sources Archaeology has contributed a lot to the history of ancient India and its importance cannot be under emphasized. Indian archaeology is a science of recent growth but it has made wonderful progress during that brief period. The pioneer work was done by the Europeans but the same is being carried out now by the Indians. The study of the Indian antiquities was initiated by scholars like Sir William Jones who founded the Asiatic society of Bengal in 1774. A large number of researches were hampered by the ignorance of the script but that difficulty was solved by Jones Prinsep in 1838 by his discovery of the Brahmi script. After that discovery, the task of deciphering the inscriptions became an easy one and a lot of work was done by historians like Fergusson, Cunningham, Rajendra Lai Mitra, and Bhau Daji. The greatest contribution was made by General Cunningham who was appointed in 1862 as the Archaeological Surveyor to the Government. He devoted about half a century to the study of ancient

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