Past - Retrieving the Past: Historians and Their Sources

Selected Fields 2021

Historians have as their task to craft narratives that explain, illuminate, and uncover the origins and impact of events in the past. Many of the world’s most acclaimed histories are those that  have meaningfully synthesized prior understandings of the past, breathing fresh life into them via new approaches and frames that cast them in a new or clearer narrative light.

However, ultimately underlying every solid work of history is the exacting work of uncovering historical sources, reading them properly and interpreting them effectively. From archival documents, to the remnants of past material culture, to images – these and other sources constitute the foundational basis of primary historical study.

The 2015 Dan David Prize in the Past Time Dimension recognizes the work of a historian who has made use of unique, rare, unusual or hitherto unknown sources in the pursuit of teaching us new pasts.