Archaeological Sources

  1. Define Archaeology.

Arkaos – Ancient

Logos – Study

The science which enables us to dig the old mound in a systematic manner in successful layers and to form an idea of the material life of the people is called ARCHAEOLOGY.

  1. What are Archaeological sources?

The primary sources or evidences that support the theories of the past is called ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOURCES.

  1. How are Archaeological Sources divided?

Archaeological Sources are divided as follows:

  1. Inscriptions
  2. Coins
  3. Monuments, remnants of cities, art-pieces, pottery, weapons and tools of stones or metals etc.
  4. Write a note on inscriptions.

The inscriptions, being contemporary records, have proved a source of the highest value of reconstruction, of the political history of ancient India. These are mostly engraved on stone and metal, particularly copper. Practically all of them are either commands, records of conquests, descriptions of achievements or gifts of lands by different rulers. The study of Inscriptions is called EPIGRAPHY

  1. What were the earliest forms of inscriptions found in ancient India?

The earliest of the inscriptions have been found on seals of Harappa belonging to about 3000 B.C.E. But, their script has not been deciphered so far.

  1. What were the inscriptions engraved after the reign of Emperor Ashoka?

The inscriptions which were engraved after the reign of Emperor Ashoka have been divided into 2 categories i.e Inscriptions engraved by emperors or inscriptions engraved by certain other people or local officers.

  1. Write a note on the inscriptions engraved by emperor.

The inscriptions engraved by emperors or kings are either Prashasti composed by court writers or grants of land assigned to individuals.

  1. Give examples on the inscriptions engraved by emperors or kings.
  2. Among the Prashastis of emperors, the most prominent ones are the prashasti of the emperor Samudra Gupta engraved on the Ashoka pillar at Allahabad
  3. The Hathigumpha Prashasti inscription of King Kharavela of Kalinga.
  4. The Nasik inscription of King Gautami Balsree.
  5. The Gwalior inscription of King Bhoj.
  6. Write a note on the inscriptions used for grants of land.

The inscriptions which were used for the grant of lands  were mostly engraved on copper plates. These inscriptions describe the area of land, by whom it as granted, to whom it was granted and also the date when it was granted. Some of them describe the achievements of rulers who granted the lands. Example: Inscriptions of private individuals or local officers


  1. Write a note on the inscriptions of the private individuals.

The inscriptions of the private individuals or local officers are mostly engraved in temples or images of stones or metals. These have provided us information concerning dates of constructions of temples, the development of architecture and sculpture at various places at different times.

  1. Write the uses of inscriptions.

Inscriptions have been found very much useful in finding different facts of the history of India. Some convey monarchical orders regarding administrative, religious and major decisions to the public in general.

  1. What is Numismatics?

The study of coins is known as numismatics. Coins form another source of historical information. Ancient coins were mostly made of gold, silver, copper or lead. Coin moulds of Kushan period made of burnt clay have been also discovered. Some of the coins contain religious and legendary symbols which throw light on the culture of that time. Coins also contain the figures of kings and gods.

What are the Benefits of Ancient coins?

  1. Coins have helped us in finding out the names and dates of various rulers besides helping us indirectly in accessing the economic and religious conditions of the time when they were issued.
  2. Different coins of different rulers help us in assessing the extent of territory of their kingdoms, their tastes, religious views, dress used by them and the economic conditions in general under their rule.
  3. It helps us to know the trade and commerce of the kingdoms.
  4. Write the uses of remnants in the archaeology of Ancient India.
  5. Remnants have been found in India even in the prehistoric age. These remnants have proved that man existed in India even during the Paleolithic age.
  6. It has helped us in fixing the time of the beginning of the iron age in India.
  7. The remnants found at different places in India have helped us in finding out the process of social and economic development of the Indian people at different timed in different parts of India.
  8. They constitute one of the important sources of information regarding the cultural history of Ancient India