Puratatvik Srot (Archaeological Sources): Importance and Categories

Puratatvik Srot (Archaeological sources) play an important role in the study of history. These provide remains of civilizations and cultures

Puratatvik Srot (Archaeological sources) play an important role in the study of history. These sources provide remains of ancient civilizations and cultures, through which we can understand their lifestyle, beliefs, art, architecture, technological developments and socio-economic systems. These sources are studied through various sciences like paleontology, osteology, soil science, radiocarbon dating etc.

Puratatvik Srot can be mainly classified into the following categories:

  • Architectural Remains: It includes the remains of ancient temples, palaces, forts, towns and cities. These provide information about local construction technology, crafts and architecture. For example, the remains of urban construction of the Harappan civilization such as Mohenjodaro and Lothal tell us that the cities at that time were very well planned and had sewerage systems, roads and houses etc. Other important architectural remains in India are the Sanchi Stupa, the Ajanta and Ellora caves, the temples of Khajuraho and the Vijayanagara Fort.
  • Sculptures and Artistic Remains: Ancient sculptures, pottery, coins, jewelery and other art objects reflect the social and religious beliefs, art and craftsmanship of that time. For example, the copper statue of Shiva at Mohenjodaro shows that there was a tradition of Shiva worship at that time. The stupas of Gandhara art, Mathura art, Amaravati and Nagarjunakonda in India are important examples of sculptures and artistic remains.
  • Material Remains: These include ancient tools, weapons, tools, clothing and other objects of daily use, which demonstrate the technological developments and lifestyle of that time. For example, pottery and seals from the Harappan civilization show that they made pottery and used objects such as coins. From the remains of the Stone Age, we come to know that at that time humans lived by hunting and gathering.
  • Fossils and Skeletal Remains: The remains and skeletons of ancient humans and animals provide information about their physical characteristics, diet, health, and environment. For example, human skeletons recovered from the Nilgiri caves show that India was also populated in prehistoric times. Human remains of the Stone Age give us information about human life at that time.
  • Inscriptions and Records: Coins, inscriptions, copper plates and other inscriptions provide important information about the languages, scripts, political and administrative systems of that time. For example, the inscriptions of Ashoka, the copper plate script of Nalanda and ancient coins give information about the rulers, administration and languages of that time. These inscriptions are often authentic and reliable sources as they were written/printed by the rulers and officials of the time.

Importance of archaeological sources

Archaeological sources (Puratatvik Srot) are also important because they provide information about the period before written history. For example, the remains of the Stone Age and Harappan civilization provide valuable information about human life and culture of that time. Written sources are not available about these periods. Therefore archaeological remains are the only means of understanding the history of that time.

  • Study of prehistoric period: Archaeological sources provide information about the time before written documents i.e. prehistoric period. For example, the remains of the Stone Age and Harappan civilization give us valuable information about human life and culture of that time. Written sources are not available about these periods.
  • Providing physical evidence: These sources provide physical remains of ancient civilizations, which reflect various aspects of their life and culture. For example, architectural remains, sculptures, coins etc. tell us about the architecture, religious beliefs and technology of that time.
  • Providing factual information: Archaeological sources (Puratatvik Srot) often provide accurate and factual information because they are physical evidence. While written sources may sometimes be influenced by bias or imagination.
  • Estimating the past environment: The remains of ancient humans and animals give us information about the environment and ecosystems of that time. This tells us what type of environment ancient humans lived in.
  • Study of ancient technology and technological development: Material remains tell us the level of technology and technological development of that time. For example, remains of weapons, tools and other equipment give us information about the technological capabilities of that era.
  • Conservation of cultural heritage: Archaeological sites and their remains are part of our cultural heritage. By preserving and studying them, we can understand our history and culture and preserve it for future generations.
  • Interdisciplinary Studies: Archaeological remains are studied using various sciences such as paleontology, osteology, soil science, radiocarbon dating, etc. This creates connections between different subjects.

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