CONSTRUCTION OF ANCIENT HISTORY

CONSTRUCTION OF ANCIENT HISTORY

Historical source – It is original source that contain important historical information. Construction of History is based on these sources.

SOURCES EVIDENCES INFORMATION
 

 

 

MATERIAL REMAINS:

 

 

Radio-Carbon Dating is a method for determining the age of an object.

 

Grand Stone temples of Southern India; Brick Monasteries of the Eastern India; vertical & horizontal excavations of mounds, Megaliths (South India)

  •          Almost every aspect of lifestyle like, use of pottery type, house construction design, agriculture (grains produced), animals domesticated, type of tools, weapons etc. and burial practices of the time and geography.
  •          VERTICAL EXCAVATIONS à provides chronological sequence of material culture.
  •          HORIZONTAL EXCAVATION à Gives complete idea of particular culture.
 

 

 

 

 

COINS:

 

The study of coins is called Numismatics.

 

Coins excavated and collected from the surface and catalogued in various museums throughout the country and outside.

  •          Not many symbols used in earliest coins; Names of the Kings or issuer (guilds/merchants), Gods or dates are mentioned in the coins from later period; help in construction of religious, cultural and economic history with chronology.
  •         Local and cross-border transactions that used these coins tell us about various ruling dynasties and extent of their rule. Metal and number of the coins indicates the level of trade, commerce and wealth in a Kingdom.
  •         Only few coins belonging to post-Gupta times indicates the decline of trade & commerce in that period.
 

 

 

 

 

 

INSCRIPTIONS

 

Epigraphy is the study of Inscriptions; Paleography: Study of old writings on inscriptions and other records.

Inscriptions carved on seals, stone pillars, rocks, copper plates, temple walls and bricks or images.

Earliest in Prakrit (300 BC), later in Sanskrit and further late in regional languages.

  •         Pictographic Harappan Inscriptions are yet to be deciphered.
  •          South India – Inscriptions on temple walls.
  •          Inscriptions conveyed various information like royal orders and decisions regarding social, religious and administrative matters (e.g., Ashokan Inscriptions) to officials and people in general.
  •          Ashokan Inscriptions: Scripts used – Brahmi, Kharoshti Greek & Aramic.
  •          Donations, land grants, and the achievements of Kings and Conquerors (Samudragupta and Pulkeshin 2nd etc.).
 

 

LITERARY SOURCES:

The four Vedas, Ramayana and Mahabharata, Smritis and Dharmasutras, Epics, Jain & Buddhist texts, poetry, Sangam Literature, plays etc.
  •          Tells us about the social, cultural and political conditions of Ancient times.
  •          In India oldest manuscripts were written on birch bark & palm leaves.
  •          Kautilya’sARTHASHASTRA’ gives exhaustive coverage of affairs that concern a King and his, economy polity, administration and society at large.
  •          Purana provide dynastic history upto Gupta rule.
  •         These sources also indicate about the usage of language, script and style of writing.
 

 

 

FOREIGNER ACCOUNTS

Accounts of Greeks, Romans or Chinese either as official historians, diplomats, pilgrims or even navigators/explorers.
  •          Alexander’s invasion is solely reconstructed based on Greek sources.
  •          “INDICA” of Megasthenes provides information about Mauryan period.
  •          Trade imbalance between India and Roman empire is accounted in Pliny’s “NATURALIS HISTORIA”.
  •         These travelers were welcomed by Kings of the time and wrote about almost everything that they witnessed be it architecture, social divisions, religious and cultural practices

 

PREHISTORIC PERIOD
  • It is the period of human history between 200000 BC and 3500-2500 when the first civilisation appeared.
  • It is consisting of 5 period – Palaeolithic, Mesolithic, Neolithic, Chalcolithic & Iron Age.

STONE AGE (LITHIC PERIODS):

  • Early Indian history begins with Stone Age cultures in which the Human species used stone (‘lithos’ in Greek) tools for their survival.
  • Stone age is broadly divided into three consecutive periods of time, namely, Paleolithic (2 million BC – 10,000 BC) à Mesolithic à Neolithic period à Chalcolithic Age (4000 BC – 1500 BC).
1(a): LOWER PALAEOLITHIC AGE [700,000 BC – 100,000 BC] (Homoeractus)
EVOLUTION
  •          Learned to control fire for roasting meat and warding off animals. Hunting and food gathering. Lived on trees and in caves.
TOOLS
  •          Simply chopperchopping i.e., crude and rough tools prepared out of pebbles.
EXAMPLES (TOOLS)
  •         Hand Axes and Cleavers
SITES
  •         Bori, Didwana, Bhimbetaka, Attirampakkam, Nagarjunkonda, etc.

 

1(b): MIDDLE PALAEOLITHIC AGE [100,000 BC – 40,000 BC] (Neanderthal)

EVOLUTION
  •         Language was invented in this period + Remained hunters and food gatherers.
TOOLS
  •          Refined and lighter tools made of harder stone material like flint.
EXAMPLES (TOOLS)
  •         Diversified tools based on flakes: blades, pointers, scrapers and borers.
SITES
  •         Nevasa, Bhimbetaka, Didwana, Belan Valley in UP etc.

 

1(c): UPPER PALAEOLITHIC AGE [40,000 BC – 10,000 BC] (Homo sapiens)
EVOLUTION
  •         Other hominin species were eliminated by this time.
TOOLS
  •          Even more refine and light tools. These were backed blades with two cutting edges.
EXAMPLES (TOOLS)
  •          Blades, scrapers, and burins could be fitted in handles; Bone tools like needles, harpoons etc.
SITES
  •          Renigunta, Bardia, Belan Valley in UP, Patna and etc.

 

2. MESOLITHIC AGE [10,000 BC – 8000 BC]

EVOLUTION
  •          First people to use bow and arrow; big animals were hunted down easily.
  •          First burials are reported and use of stone-ornaments also appeared.
  •         Domestication of animals: sheep and goats
TOOLS
  •         Microlith tools i.e., tools made of micro-sized stones and were very refined.
  •          [Transitional Period between Palaeolithic and Neolithic Age]
EXAMPLES (TOOLS)
  •          Bow and arrow and other microliths in various shapes like moon, triangular, square, rectangle, crescents and arrow-head.
SITES
  •          Bhimbetaka, Mahadaha, Sarai Nahar Rai, Adamgarh etc.
  •          Earliest cave paintings at Bhimbetaka (UNESCO World Heritage Site)

 

3. NEOLITHIC AGE [8000 BC – 4000 BC]

EVOLUTION
  •         Lived in huts, reared cattle, developed agriculture (wheat, barley, cotton, rice etc.), used earthenware (both handmade and wheel-made).
TOOLS
  •          Sharper, symmetrical and polished stone tools for not only hunting but agriculture also.
EXAMPLES (TOOLS)
  •          Daggers, digging sticks, celts, grinding stones, sickle, saw, sling-stones etc. (continuous rubbing to smoothen)
SITES
  •         Mehargarh (Pakistan), Burzaom, Chirand, Brahmagiri, Deojali Hading, Koldihwa and Maski etc.

 

CHALCOLITHIC AGE [4000 BC – 1500 BC]

 

 

 

EVOLUTION:

  •          Settled &community life.
  •          Crops cultivated were: barley, wheat, lentil, bajra, jowar, ragi millets, green pea, green and black gram and cotton.
  •          Rice and Fish was used as food.
  •         Technically separate but Harappan civilization evolved out of the Chalcolithic Culture.
 

CRAFTS AND POTS

  •          Copper and stone tools were used simultaneously.
  •          Craft too started to develop coppersmiths, and weavers were present.
  •          Used Black and Red Ware. Painted pottery, in black pigment; decorated with different shapes.
 

TOOLS/ IDOLS

  •         Knives, axes, fishing hooks, chisels, pins, and rods were made of copper and its alloys.
  •         Beads of semi-precious stones and Terracotta image of Mother Goddess is reported.
  •         Deads were buried in urns; at times with tools and objects.
 

SITES

  •          Spread all over the Indian Sub-continent.
  •          IMP SITES: Navdatoli, Jorwe, Daimabad, Ahar Banas, Malwa, Inamgaon, Mehgam, Kausambi, Alamgirpur, Ropar etc.
 

LIMITATIONS

  •          Could not fully utilized the-domesticated animals.
  •          Unaware of -Iron, horse and script.
  •          Marks the beginning of use metal in place of stone yet burnt brick was generally absent.
  •          High Child Mortality is indicated by large number of child burial.

 

IRON AGE:

Starts with arrival of Aryans- Rigvedic Period.

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