The Nature of Source and Evidence Summary

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  • Topic: Historiography, Peloponnesian War, Primary source
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The Nature of Source and Evidence summary
Inquiry includes
• What? • How? • Who? • When? • Where? • Why?

There are no simple answers to these questions.
In many cases, there is a lot of debate about the answers.
Historians examine traces of the past in order to answer these questions. These traces are called ‘sources’.

Historiography
• The study of how archaeologists and historians reconstruct the past, the sources they use and the way in which they use them. • Focuses on methodology used by historians to reconstruct history • When you analyse sources and consider how they are used as evidence, you are dealing with important historiographical issues.

Evidence
• The information gained from the examination of the sources in order to reconstruct a picture of everyday life. • Drawing conclusions

Primary source
Source material that is closest to the person, information, period, or idea being studied.

Secondary Source
A secondary source interprets and analyses primary sources. These sources are one or more steps removed from the event. It is a document or recording that relates or discusses information originally presented elsewhere.

Checklist of questions to ask about Archaeological sources
What is it? In what context was it found? Can it be accurately dated? How does its condition affect its interpretation? Is it reliable and/or useful in providing evidence about the past? What evidence does this source provide about the past? Where did it come from? Provenance. How was it made? Who made it? What is the function of the artefact? What is the purpose of the artefact? What is it made of? How did the artefact get there? What size is it? What does it weigh? What other artefacts were found with it?

Checklist of questions to ask about written sources
What type of written source is it? Who wrote it and when? What was the writer’s purpose? Who was the intended audience? Is it reliable? Is it useful in providing evidence about the...
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