Archaeological evidences ?

Social ScienceAncient Indian History


The goal of history is to illuminate the past. This is accomplished through researching and discovering historical sources. Because there is so much handwritten and printed information about current State and Society, it is very easy to obtain materials for writing recent history. There is also sufficient information for mediaeval periods.

However, writing ancient history is a significant challenge. "History is that old depiction which includes precepts of virtue, riches, desire, and salvation," says the famous Indian epic Mahabharata. To put it another way, India’s ancient seers placed a larger focus on occurrences that promoted higher ideals than actual events.

Historians were employed in ancient Greece and Rome to record historical events. However, ancient Indians who wrote on a variety of topics rarely wrote history. The majority of old items have likewise vanished. Rediscovering India's ancient history is consequently a difficult endeavour. There are, however, sources out of which history can be written.

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Early Indian History from Archaeological Sources

Archaeological Remains and Monuments, Inscriptions, and Coins are the three categories of the Archaeological Source. Excavation and investigation have yielded an enormous quantity of archaeological data dating back to the beginning of human life. This material was crucial in gaining a better picture of life in ancient India.

The archaeological excavations began in the mid-nineteenth century. Archaeologists like Alexander Cunningham were in the fore. They revealed several previously unknown aspects of ancient Indian life.

Some of the significant archaeological sources are -

  • Words inscribed or carved into the surface are known as inscriptions.

  • Coins

  • Pottery

  • Monuments

  • Implements and tools

  • Toys

  • Ornaments

  • Foodgrains

  • Skeletons remain, and others.

Importance of Inscriptions as Historical Sources

The science of epigraphy is the study of inscriptions. Several inscriptions dating back to the Harappan civilisation have been unearthed, each pertaining to a distinct period of ancient history. These ancient inscriptions shed information on people's social, cultural, economic, and religious lives.

Inscription Writing Aids in the Comprehension of the Era's Material Culture

The item used for inscription writing aids in the comprehension of the era's material culture. The Harappans used steatite for writing. Inscriptions were written on stone and copper plates throughout the Mauryan period and subsequent periods. The location of the inscription's finding aids in determining the Kingdom's or empire's political boundaries.

Prakrut - The Most Popular Language, While Brahmi - The Most Frequent Script

Asoka edicts discovered at Kandhar suggest that Afghanistan was part of the Mauryan Empire. Similarly, edicts discovered in Nepal Terrain show that the Mauryan Empire reached up to the Himalayan foothills in the north (Lumbini, Nepal Terrain, etc). The inscription aids in deciphering the age's language and writing. During the Mauryan period, "Prakrut" was the most popular language, while "Brahmi" was the most frequent script, according to the Asoka inscription.

Inscription Lists Rulers' Names, Titles, and Other Information

The inscription lists the rulers' names, titles, and other information. These data aided in the chronological restoration of early Indian history. Without the Asoka inscription, the Mauryan history would indeed be incomplete. Without the Allahabad pillar inscription, Samudra Gupta's (330-380 AD) genuine glory would be lost.

Inscription Illuminates Politico-Administrative Institutions and Procedures

The inscription also illuminates politico-administrative institutions and procedures. The Ashokan inscription lists the various authorities' titles and responsibilities. The inscription is an essential source for understanding ancient society and culture. The first written mention of Sati is found in the Eran inscription (510 AD). Many inscriptions include information on donations made to temples and monasteries. The inscription also sheds insight on ancient religious practises. The Ashokan inscription contributed to our understanding of Mauryan religious life. The inscription from Mora (a hamlet near Mathura) sheds information on Bhagvatism. The inscription is an important source for understanding ancient economic life.

Inscription Offers Information On the State's Social Programmes

Emperor Ashoka cut the rate of land income for this hamlet from one fourth to one third, according to the Lumbini (birth of Buddha) pillar edict. This village has been proclaimed free of Bhaga (ceremonious gifts) provided to the state by the community. The inscription offers information on the state's social programmes. Trees were planted along highways, wells were excavated, and rest rooms were built for the benefit of travellers, according to an Ashokan rock edict.

Sudarshana Lake was created by Chandragupta Maurya and later rebuilt during the Ashoka period, per the Junagarh rock inscription of Rudradaman (local Shaka ruler).

Inscription also Discusses Wars and Conflicts

The inscription also discusses wars and conflicts. According to Ashoka's 13th big rock edict, he conquered Kalinga in his 9th regional year. The inscription of Samudra Gupta at Allahabad gives a thorough account of its military achievements.

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Coins as Source of Ancient Indian History

Coinage in the Indian subcontinent dates back to the 6th century BC, when punched stamped coins were first created. These early coins were uneven silver pieces with a variety of symbols carved on them. The Indo-Greek were the first to produce coins with the name and effigy of the monarch (image), date and title, and other information in the 2nd century BC.

Names and Dates on Coins Aided in Restoration of Early Indian History

The names of kings and dates found on coins aided in the restoration of Early Indian history's chronology. The Gupta kings' chronology is nearly completely based on information supplied by coins. Coins also shed insight on various emperors' military exploits.

Samudra Gupta's Ashavamedha kind of coinage indicate that he was a great military victor. Samudra Gupta's Tiger Slayer coins state that he invaded Eastern India (Bengal) because tigers could only be found in the East's forests.

Coins Aided in Comprehension of Religious Concepts and Beliefs

Coins also aided in the comprehension of religious concepts and beliefs. Kushana's coins feature a variety of Indian-Iranian ladies' names. Gupta currency images of Goddess Durga, Garuda, and Peacock aid in comprehending the religious life of the time. The location of coin finding aids in determining the territorial range of kingdoms and empires. The purity of coins indicates the amount of wealth at a certain time.

Scope of coinage Based on Trade and Commerce Levels

The scope of coinage (number of coins unearthed) based on trade and commerce levels. If more coins from trade and commerce are unearthed within a certain time period, it is apparent that trade and commerce were developing. The scarcity of coinage indicates a fall in trade and commerce. Coins also aided in the comprehension of a period's language and writing.

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Q1. What is archaeology?

Ans. Archaeology is the investigation and study of former cultures' material remains. Material remnants are the tangible items that humans created or utilised, which might range from clothing to houses. Archaeology is organised into numerous subfields, each of which focuses on a certain historical period, civilization, geographical location, or material category.

Q2. What is an artefact, exactly?

Ans. Any object that was made, changed, or simply used by a human person is considered an artefact. Unless there are tangible markings on a natural item, such as a stone, it might be difficult to identify if it was used by a person; but, its context will provide us with clues. The term artefact is commonly used to describe portable artefacts. Buildings, walls, farming terraces, pits, and post holes are examples of structures made or changed by people that cannot be simply transported.

Q3. What gives an archaeologist the idea of where to dig?

Ans. There are several methods for locating a website. An archaeologist frequently hears about a site from someone who may have happened across it by chance. Farmers, for example, frequently discover sites while ploughing their fields or clearing soil for new crops. Hikers occasionally come upon locations while exploring. When digging up a region to establish the foundation of a structure, construction teams occasionally come upon them. The individuals who find the sites usually notify archaeologists, who subsequently investigate.

Q4. What is the distinction between a prehistoric and historic artefact?

Ans. Artefacts are items that have been purposefully created or changed for human use. Prehistoric and historic civilizations are distinguished by archaeologists. Cultures without written records are known as prehistoric cultures. Native Americans in North America had no written language, thus the items they made are known as prehistoric artefacts. Stone knives, projectile points, ceramics, bone and shell tools, rock art, and so on are examples.

Q5. What happens after an archaeologist discovers an artefact?

Ans. Before the item is taken from its setting, it can be photographed in place and its exact location printed on graph paper, which can subsequently be copied to a master map of the site, maintaining the context. The relic is taken to the archaeologist's laboratory after the records have been created. Each item must be thoroughly investigated and categorised according to its nature, raw material, and other factors. The artefact is measured, and descriptions are provided. The data from the study is then compared to data from other artefacts on the site, as well as data from other sites.

Updated on 13-Oct-2022 11:19:47
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