As we look into the past and try to investigate the things that happened, we collect evidence.

Not all evidence is useful. Some evidence is better than other evidence.

Evidence that is an object or artifact or thing from the actual period is very good evidence and is known as primary evidence.

Other evidence that is a record of the past but is not from the time period itself may still be good evidence but is probably not as reliable. This is known as secondary evidence.

Examples of primary evidence are: coins of the day; written reports issued very close to the date of the event.

Examples of secondary evidence are: A biography of a person written 200 hundred years after his death. A painting of Julius Caesar by a modern day painter.

Enter in the chart those thing that are primary evidence and those that are secondary evidence.

Primary EvidenceSecondary Evidence
Coin of the time periodModern painting of Julius Caesar

It is also important to have a range of evidences. A piece of pottery, a coin and a written piece of evidence that reflects the same event will give us a good picture of history. A single coin will only provide a limited amount of information.

An historical investigation can be like having 30 pieces of a 100 piece jigsaw puzzle without knowing the completed picture. We need to collect as much evidence as possible to get the full story.