(Last Updated on : 05/04/2012)
Fundamentals of ancient Indian history have indeed been available to Indians for thousands of years, however arrangement of all these in a chronological order is important. Archaeological resources therefore have played a major part in delineating history whilst telling the tales of the ancient Indians. The archaeological resources for identifying the ancient Indian history consist of coins, inscriptions, monuments and sculptures and other artefacts.
Methodical and systematic assessment of ancient monuments and buildings and other works of art generate archaeological evidence. General Sir Alexander Cunningham and Sir William Jones from Asiatic Society
of Bengal, hold the credits for excavating the pre-Aryan era. The Indus Valley Civilisation and the Harappa
were discovered by Daya Ram Shahni in 1921. It was India`s oldest habitat which dates back to 400,000 and 200,000 BC, known as the second Inter-Glacial period. The excavation and scientific analysis of palaces, stupas, temples, and residential houses and other religious and social buildings provide an estimation of the situation that existed in ancient epoch.
One of the most trustworthy evidence can be attained from numerous inscriptions. These are principally engraved on stone pillars, copper, bronze plates, iron, gold, silver, rocks temple walls and bricks and are generally uncorrupted. Majority of the stone inscriptions, venerate certain events or record various dedications. Such documents include detailed Sanskrit poems and accounts of pilgrims. Inscriptions in Sanskrit, Telegu, Tamil, Prakrit
, Pali and also Kharosti and Brahmi
scripts have been discovered. The inscriptions discovered from the era of emperor Ashoka
provide the most factual data of his period. Inscriptions of by Harisena
, the court poet of Samudragupta
, of Allahabad Prasasti
, and Kharvela
, emperor of Kalinga
give significant facts for the restoration of Indian history.
Numismatics or the analysis of ancient coins requires specialised skills and knowledge. Numerous ancient coins of Indian origin have been unearthed which gives an estimation of economic condition and currency structure of that time. Various types of coins from Samudragupta`s era give a detailed account of current conditions. Even the dates inscribed on the coins testify the chronology of events in ancient India. Various information and data have been obtained about the Indo-Greek, Indo-Parthian era from the coins prevalent in those times.
Proper observations and inferences drawn from the study of various archaeological resources provide a proper assessment and overview of ancient India.