This book breaks colonial archaeology down into its specific constituents and examines the ideas, impulses, tensions, and individual contributions that comprised early studies of India's ancient past. It focuses, at the outset, on the ideas and work of Alexander of the Archeological Survey of India in 1871. It also examines the contribution of Cunningham's assistants, Beglar and Carlleyle.
It then looks at a number of related issues - the different definitions of archaeological research; the conflict between field archaeologists and architectural scholars; the debate over whether antiquities should be left in situ or removed to museums; the different approaches and initiatives towards the conversion of historical monuments.
It also reconstructs the history of certain important Buddhist sites - Bodh Gaya, Sanchi, and Bharhut - during the second half of the nineteenth century, while giving a detailed account of the life - history of the site of Amaravati.
Finally, it looks at the contribution made by Indian scholars to the antiquarian and archaeological projects, and at the interaction between the colonial government and the Indian prince vis-o-vis the conservation of historical monuments.
This book is written as much for the general reader interested in India's antiquity and its pioneering archaeologists, as for students of the history of archaeology, colonialism, and constructions of the past.
About the Author:
Upinder Singh teaches ancient history at St Stephen's College, Delhi. She is the author of Kings, Brahmanas and Temples in Orissa: An Epigraphic Study, AD 300-1147 (1994); Ancient Delhi (1999); and a book for children, Mysteries of the Past: Archaeological Sites in India (2002). Her scholars articles have appeared in World Archaeology, The Indian Economic and Social History Review, The Indian Historical Review, Man and Environment, and South Asian Studies.
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