means out of time or order, something that could not have been there
at that particular time. If you had a photograph of one of your grandparent's
house when they were your age you would not expect to see a computer
or DVD player would you? If you did you might think the photograph had
been altered or was fake. The computer or the DVD player would be an
to spot anachronisms is important because it helps us test the reliability
of a source. If a source seems unreliable then we probably shouldn't
use it. We also need to know about anachronisms so that we don't include
them when we write about history.
understanding of anachronisms by having a look at the photograph of
two Second World War soldiers below. Do you think it is real? What anachronisms
can you spot?
courtesy of The Dukes 1939-1945.
those anachronisms were very easy to spot and you probably realised
straight away that the photograph wasn't real. However, anachronisms
can also appear in genuine historical documents. The image below is
taken from a book called The Nuremberg Chronicle, an illustrated
history of the world which was published in 1493. This woodcut shows
Noah building the ark. Although it is obviously old, the image still
contains a number of anachronisms. See how many you can spot.
from the Nuremberg Chronicle, properly known as Liber Cronicarum,
1493 (DUL ref: SR 2 B 4)
Now let's find out about secondary sources
and their uses.