The Sources of Ancient History
In order to discover the truth behind the history of our ancient ancestors, what went before us and how it reflects on the modern day, historians penetrate deep into the past looking for answers to questions they have been pondering over time, trying to ascertain the truth. Historians do this by creating knowledge, some new and some revised, of subjects we had no understanding of previously. They do this by researching, analysing, evaluating and then interpreting their discoveries for the world to read. It’s only then that other historians, journalists and critics challenge these discoveries or use the information to support their own knowledge. Historians use a number of sources to support their discussions and research. Books, journals, articles, maps, artifacts, ancient sites, written records and accounts are but a few of the sources studied by historians. To gather legitimate information we need evidence to prove such events or people exist. We look at the different types of evidence accessible to us and analyse each in great detail. The amount of evidence able to be produced is dependant on the state and condition of the evidence researched. Given the time passed since the ancient world, very little material has survived leading us down the route of piecing it all together to conclude our research. We have two types of sources; primary and secondary. Primary sources are mainly first-hand accounts and subjects and are what we refer to as evidence. These subjects mainly date from the time we are discussing and can be objects; pottery, skeletons, coinage etc. They may also be inscriptional writings dating from 3000-5000 years ago. Today, they teach us about languages, the ways in which humans communicated and that accountancy existed even as early as 3500BC. Inscriptional writings were used to record public events, decrees, laws, financial accounts and religious dedications by the state. Other examples of a...
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