History

Question 1

Examine the importance of archaeological sources for the reconstruction of early Indian history.

Solution

The sources of Indian History can be classified under the following heads : Inscriptions, Numismatics, Archaeology, Literature Foreign and Sources Traditions. Archaeology is the scientific study of the remains of the past. They include buildings monuments and other material relics that the inhabitants of that period were associated with. The Department of Archaeology was set-up by Lord Curzon under the Director Generalship of Dr. Marshal. Excavations conducted at various sites in the valley of the river Indus, Lothal in Gujarat, Kalibangan in Rajasthan, at Sind and Punjab gives us knowledge of the civilization during about 2700 B.C. Excavations at Taxila gives an idea about the Kushanas. Similarity in monuments excavated in India and Abroad establish a relations between various areas of the globe, besides this it express the Indian migration beyond India. Archaeological sources are those sources where we focus on the physical remains. Often archaeological sources becomes most important for periods where we don't have the written word or any oral tradition, but have excavated resources. It is from these excavated artifacts that we deduct the socio-economic and political conditions of that time. This is a purely scientific work and involves various scientific investigations including radio-carbon dating, anthropological investigations in to the skull types, medical investigation into the remains of human bodies, exhumation and study of buried corpse in the graves and so on. As a generalisation, we can even say that where we have to rely solely on the archaeological resources, then that period is pre-historic and not historical. In India, the pre-historic archaeological excavations have helped to find Harrapan civilisation and other cultures prior to it and contemporary to it.

The importance of coins and inscriptions as a source for history writing is very much. As compare to the literary sources, there are very little chances of manipulating the archaeological sources like coins and inscriptions. Thus, the authencity of the archaeological sources get enhanced. Inscriptions are the most important of all the archaeological sources. Most of the inscriptions of ancient India are found engraved on stone or metal sheets. Due to the engravings on the stone or metal sheet there are almost no chances of manipulation with it. But the problem of dating remains with the inscriptions. The dating is done mainly on the basis of calligraphy of the Inscriptions. The most ancient inscriptions available to us belong to the period of King Ashoka of Mauryan period. These inscriptions throw right on the theories of Kingship of Ashoka and also on his religious ideas. Ashokan inscriptions are mostly, in Brahmi script. Some of the inscriptions are also available in Kharoshti and Aramaic script The inscriptions found after Ashoka can be divided into two groups: Official inscriptions and Individual inscriptions. The official inscriptions are either the eulogies written by the Court Poets or are land.

Question 2

Describe the main features of Palaeolithic cultures of India.

Solution

The "Mesolithic," or "Middle Stone Age" was a period in the development of human technology between the Paleolithic and Neolithic periods of the Stone Age. The Mesolithic period began at the end of the Pleistocene epoch, some 10,000 BP and ended with the introduction of agriculture, the date of which varied by geographic "region. In some areas, such as the Near East, agriculture was already underway by the end of the Pleistocene and there the Mesolithic is short and poorly defined. In areas with limited glacial impact, the term "Epipaleolithic" is sometimes preferred. Regions that experienced greater environmental effects as the last ice age ended have a much more evident Mesolithic era, lasting millennia. In Northern Europe, societies were able to live well on rich food supplies Tom the marshlands fostered by the warmer climate. Such conditions produced distinctive human behaviours which are preserved in the material record, such as the Maglemosian and Azilian cultures. These conditions also delayed the coming of the Neolithic until as late as 4000 BCE (6,000 BP) in northern Europe. Microlith is a small stone tool, typically knapped of flintorchert, usually about three centimetres long or less they are typically one centimetre long and half a centimetre wide when finished, Microliths were either produced from small blades (microblades) or made by snapping normal big blades in a controlled manner, which leaves a very typical piece of waste (microburin). The letter type of microleths are called geometric microliths. They can be formed as various kinds of triangles, lunate shaped, trapezes, ete. The shape of the microlith can be used for dating. Microliths were produced during the middle stone age (Mesolithic) until the introduction of agriculture (8000 B.C.)). Some type of microliths, such as trapezes, were used in the Neolithic as well (the Linear Pottery culture and Funnelbeaker culture). They were probably used as barbs, on arrows, spears and other composite tools