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Home > What is History? > Primary Sources

Primary Sources


Find out more about timelines

Find out more about anachronisms

Find out more about secondary sources

Find out more about primary sources

Find out more about written sources

Find out more about the use of images

Find out more about the use of artefacts

Find out more about oral history

Find out more about bias in history



Imagine you are a detective investigating a crime. What would you need to help you find out what happened? What would you be looking for when you visited the scene of the crime? That's right - clues or evidence. Historians are no different. When they want to find out what happened in the past they need to look at the evidence. We call evidence that was created at the time of the event, primary evidence. Lots of sources can be counted as primary sources or evidence - letters, newspapers, maps, photographs, pictures, objects and film (just to name a few).

Primary evidence can be broken down into four main categories: written sources, images, artefacts and oral testimony. Work through each section to find out what these types of sources are and how they can be used.


Written sourcesImagesArtefactsOral testimony

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