CBSE Class 6 Social Science History Revision Notes Chapter 4

CBSE Class 6 History Chapter 4 Notes – What Books and Burials Tell Us

Chapter 4 “What Books and Burials Tell Us” of Class 6 History focuses on how literature and archaeological elements left by ancient people help us understand their life and history. Class 6 History Chapter 4 Notes provided by Extramarks are prepared as per the CBSE Syllabus and guidelines. These notes cover the entire chapter in a well-organised manner. All the topics have been discussed under suitable subheadings. These notes are easily accessible on the Extramarks website. Give your exam preparation an extra edge and score extra marks in the exam.

What Books And Burials Tell Us Class 6 Notes History Chapter 4

Access Class 6 Social Science History Chapter 4 – What Books and Burials Tell Us

The Rigveda

  • The Rigveda was composed approximately 3500 years ago. It is one of the ancient scriptures in the world.
  • The book consists of several thousand hymns written in praise of ancient gods and goddesses.
  • The hymns are known as suktas.
  • The gods frequently mentioned in the suktas are:
  • Agni, the god of fire;
  • Indra, the god of warfare;
  • Soma, a plant used for preparing special kinds of drinks.
  • These suktas were mainly composed, taught and learnt by men. Women too composed some of the hymns.
  • The Rig Veda is written in Vedic or Old Sanskrit.
  • The suktas of the Rigveda were recited and not just simply read.
  • The oral tradition preserved the suktas. The written form came into existence not more than a hundred years ago. 

How Historians Studied the Rigveda

  • Historians studied the suktas contained in the Rigveda to understand the Rigvedic society.
  • These suktas are often written in the form of dialogues. One such conversation takes place among the legendary sage Vishwamitra, the River Sutlej and the River Beas, who were worshipped as goddesses in ancient times.
  • The Rigveda contains hymns for children, horses and cattle.
  • Horses were used in the battles.
  • Battles were fought to capture people, confiscate lands and control the water bodies. Though battle was a common phenomenon, there was no standing army in the Rigvedic society. But assemblies were summoned to discuss war and peace.
  • The war leaders divided a large portion of the war booty among themselves and distributed the remainder amongst others.

People of Rigveda

  • The Rigveda mentions two groups of people:
  • The Priests, also known as Brahmins; and
  • The Rajas
  • Brahmins performed all the rites and rituals.
  • Rajas fought in the battles. Unlike the kings of later times, the Rajas in the Rigvedic period did not have a palace, capital or army. He could not even levy tax on his subjects.
  • The Aryas composed the hymns of the Rigveda, whereas, the Dasas or Dasyus worked as slaves. They were mostly people captured during the war.
  • There are two more words in the scripture that refer community of people as a whole:
  • Jana and
  • Vish

Manuscripts of the Rigveda

  • The Rigveda is a collection of hymns dedicated to gods and goddesses for the well-being of children, horses and cattle. Priests performed yajnas for the prosperity of the state and its people.
  • The Rigvedic society was not free from war. Battles were fought to capture pasture lands and the people of other regions. The wealth looted in the battles was distributed among the leaders, priests and common people of the land.
  • Jana and Vish are two terms frequently used in the Rigveda to refer to different communities of people.
  • The Rigvedic people developed a distinct burial system. They placed the dead bodies in large pots known as Red and Black Ware, and marked the cemetery by placing a big rock on it. These rocks are called megaliths. This trend of pot burial or megalithic culture was prevalent in the Southern part of India, especially the Deccan Plateau and Kashmir in the North. The megalithic culture began in India around 3000 years ago.

Social Difference

  • Archeologists have found various objects near the megaliths. They assume that these objects are the belongings of the dead people buried there.
  • There were both rich and poor people in the society. The rich people were buried with beads made of stones and precious metals like gold and copper, whereas the poor were buried with pots.

Discrimination after Death

  • The Rigvedic people buried members of the same family in the same place and demarcated the area by circling it with boulders that served as signposts.
  • Portholes were made in the cemetery to bring the dead bodies into the underground chambers.

Occupation of the People of Inamgaon

  • Agriculture and animal husbandry were the main occupations of the people of Inamgaon.
  • Archeologists have found evidence of crops like millet, sesame, peas, pulses, rice, barley and wheat.
  • These grains were cultivated in the fields of Inamgaon and then circulated in the entire region.
  • The cut marks on animal bones prove that cattle were a source of sustenance.
  • They also consumed fruits like dates, jamun, amla and ber. 

Burial Spots of Families

  • Archeologists found many skeletons in one chamber which indicated that the members of the same family were buried in the same chamber.
  • A hole was made in the chamber to bring the bodies of other dead persons into the same chamber. These holes are called portholes.
  • These burial sites were marked with megaliths.


  • Battles were fought for resources such as cattle and land.
  • People organised assemblies to wage war or make treaties and other war-related activities.
  • The Rajas could not take the wealth alone. He had to distribute the plundered wealth amongst all.


  • The knowledge of the Rigveda was imparted orally by the master to the disciples.
  • The disciples memorised the hymns and passed them down to their students. The Rigveda, hence, is known as Shruti.
  • Much later, the hymns were recorded in written form in the old Sanskrit language.

Sanskrit and Other Languages

  • There are many linguistic similarities between the Sanskrit language and other European languages such as English, Latin, German, etc.
  • Scholars therefore assume that these languages have evolved from the same language family, that is the Indo-Western language family.
  • Kashmiri, Hindi and Sindhi also belong to the same language group.

Skeleton Studies

  • Skeleton studies is the study of bone structure that helps determine whether the skeleton is that of a male or a female.
  • Archeologists use bone studies to differentiate between the male and female skeletons.
  • The skeletons excavated from the burial sites are ancient and can be properly understood only after skeleton studies. For example, the pelvic region of a female’s skeleton is more prominent than a male’s skeleton.

Special Burial At Inamgaon

  • The burial sites found are approximately 2000- 3600 years old. Skeletons of adults are mainly found there.
  • A special kind of burial has been found in Inamgaon. A man was buried in a large four-legged clay jar in the courtyard of a multi-story house.
  • The decorations and equipment on the tomb indicate the person buried there belonged to a well-off family.

Writing Evidence

  • The earliest evidence of writing in China has been found around 3500 years ago. The writing was carved on animal bones. These bones are called oracle bones. It is considered that people of ancient China did not know the use of iron.
  • The term megalith refers to the huge rocks used to mark the sites where dead persons were buried.
  • Dasyus or Dasas: The Dasyus or Dasas were considered to be the opponents of the Aryas. They were people captured during the war. They worked as slaves for the Aryas.
  • Suktas refer to the hymns written in praise of gods and deities by the people of the Rigvedic period.

Important Dates

  • 3,600 years ago: The settlement of Inamgaon started developing during this period.
  • 3,500 years ago: It was around 15700 B.C. that scholars began composing the Rigveda, which is considered an important document to understand the history of ancient India.
  • 2,700 years ago: The settlement of Inmagao was destroyed during this period. It was 700 B. C.
  • 2,000 years ago: During this period, the Ayurveda scholar Charaka wrote the Charaka Samhita.

Important Questions and Answers

  1. How is the Rigveda different from modern texts?
  2. The Rigveda is one of the oldest scriptures found in the Indian subcontinent. The Rigveda was composed more than 3,500 years ago and existed in oral instruction only. The knowledge of the Veda was passed down from masters to disciples from generation to generation. Much later, the scholars decided to record the knowledge in written form, and thus, the manuscript of the Rigveda came into existence. Modern books are written using specific scripts and are often printed. However, the Rigveda was neither written nor printed and existed through oral instruction for a long time.
  3. Write a brief note on the Rigvedic society.
  4. According to the Rigveda, society was divided into two groups: the Priests and the Rajas. The Priests were also known as Brahmins. They were involved in religious activities. The Rajas were war leaders. However, their position was not as strong as that of the later kings. They did not have any palace or capital. They could not levy a tax on people. The people were divided into several communities known as Jana and Vish. Aryans composed the hymns in the Rigveda, whereas Dasas or Dasyus worked as slaves.
  5. What can one understand from the megalithic culture?
  6. The megalithic culture flourished during the Rigvedic Period. Dead bodies were placed in large pots known as Red and Black wares. The pots were then buried in the ground. The burial sites were marked with boulders. Members of the same families were buried in the same place after death. In the Deccan Plateau and the Kashmir Valley, many such megaliths have been found. People also buried several objects with the dead bodies.
  7. How does the Rigveda depict cattle, horses and battle?
  8. The hymns recorded in the Rigveda are prayers enchanted for the prosperity of cattle and horses. They were an indispensable part of the Rigvedic society. Battles were fought to capture land, cattle, horses and people of other regions. Warriors used horses on the battlefield. The wealth plundered during the war was distributed among the leaders, priests and common people of the state.
  9. How do burial sites indicate social difference?
  10. Archeologists have found several sites where megaliths were placed on the ground to identify the areas as burial sites. When the burial sites were excavated, it was seen that several objects were also buried along with the bodies of dead people. These objects include: gold, copper, ornaments, horse equipment, stone beads, etc. By analysing the material value of the objects, historians suggest that rich and poor people co-existed in that society. Poor people were buried in pots, whereas rich people were buried with a variety of objects including their belongings.
  1. Why is skeleton study important in constructing the history of ancient India?
  2. Skeleton studies focus on the study of both humans and animals bones. Skeleton studies are an essential part of archeological study as they help us know the history of dead people. By analysing the bones, archeologists determine the age of the skeleton, at what age did the person die, which race the person belonged to, whether the skeleton is of a male or female, etc. Therefore, skeletons provide valuable information that is not possible to acquire from any other source.