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


Montage of images showing extract from a newspaper, a map, entry from a diary, excerpt of an inventory and a photograph.

What is history? It sounds such a simple question doesn’t it? But it can cause a lot of disagreement. Napoleon called it ‘a myth’ and Henry Ford called it ‘bunk’! Other people think it is much more important, believing, like the American historian David McCullough, that “History is who we are and why we are the way we are.”

Whatever they think about the usefulness of history most people will, however, agree that history is the study of the past. In fact, historians are a bit like detectives – using evidence to find out what happened and why. This is not an easy job. You must be able to recognise evidence, decide how useful it is and come to conclusions based on what you have found out.

We’re going to find out how to do all this by using some real historical sources. Each section will teach you a new skill so that by the end you will be a history detective! You can work through the sections in order or use the navigation tools at the top or left-hand side of the page to go to the section you are interested in. Have fun!

Start your investigation