A Definition of Historical Evidence

cartoon historianPeople who study history are called historians. They look at things that happened in the past and try to find reasons why things happened the way they did. They look for connections and make links between events, people and places and they analyse changes that have happened as a result of things that happened in the past.

Most historians seek to use evidence to compile a history of a certain time. However, some historians seek to reconstruct the past - they use evidence to challenge existing ideas about the past and seek to show that the histories of other historians are incorrect.

The work of a historian is a bit like that of a detective. A historian looks for evidence and then tries to piece together the facts.

Historical evidence can take many forms:

Physical Evidence – A building, monument, object, piece of clothing or pottery

Written Evidence - A diary, book, letter, plan or receipt

Visual Evidence - A painting, photograph or geographical feature

Oral Evidence - A memory, nursery rhyme, sound recording or song

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Page last updated 04/05/2016