The Discovery of Ancient India: Early Archaeologists and the Beginnings of Archaeology

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Item Code: IDE155
Author: Upinder Singh
Publisher: Permanent Black
Language: English
Edition: 2004
ISBN: 8178240882
Pages: 400 (B & W Illus: 27)
Cover: Hardcover
Other Details 8.8" X 5.8"
Weight 630 gm
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Book Description
From the Jacket:

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.



1Form Antiquarianism to Archaeology1
The Surveyors2
The Antiquarians6
The Adventurers17
Early Archaeological Writings

2Alexander Cunningham: Engineer and Antiquarian23
Cunningham's Career: A Sketch24
Cunningham and Prinsep25
Early Numismatic Writings28
The Journey to the Sources of Punjab's Rivers30
More Journeys to Remote Places: Ladakh32
The Temples of Kashmir34
On the Trail of Chinese Pilgrims36
Ladakh: Physical, Statistical, and Historical40
The Bhilsa Topes

3The First Archaeological Survey53
The Background53
The Proposal57
Bihar and the North-Western Provinces 1861-260
The North-Western Provinces 1862-366
The Punjab 1863-470
Rajputana and Malwa 1864-573
The Suspension of the Archaeological Survey

4Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India77
A New Initiative79
'Investigating, Describing, Protecting…'81
Cunningham's Plan of Action83
Report for the Year 1871-285
The Punjab and Yusufzai 1872-392
The Central Provinces 1873-4 and 1874-5100
Bundelkhand and Malwa 1874-5 and 1876-7102
Tours in the Gangetic Provinces 1875-6 and 1877-8104
Tour in the Punjab 1878-9107
Tour in Bihar and Bengal 1879-80111
Tours in North and South Bihar 1880-1112
Tour in the Central Provinces and Lower Gangetic Doab 1881-2114
Tour in Eastern Rajputana 1882-3115
Bundelkhand and Rewa (1883-4), and Rewa, Bundelkhand, Malwa, and Gwalior (1884-5)117
Other Writings119
The Promotion of Epigraphic Research124
Photographic Documentation127
The Director General and the Government128
Cunningham and His Contemporaries

5J.D.M. Beglar: Enthusiastic Apprentice135
Beglar's Survey of Delhi 1871-2137
Tours in Bundelkhand and Malwa 1871-2141
Tour through the Bengal Provinces 1872-3143
Tour in the Central Provinces 1873-4148
Tour in the South-Eastern Provinces 1874-6150
The Reorganization of the Survey and the Beglar-Burgess Conflict

6A.C.L. Carlleyle: Amateur Prehistorian158
Report on Agra159
The Rajputana Tour161
Tours in the Central Doab and Gorakhpur 1874-6166
Further Explorations in the Gorakhpur, Saran and Ghazipur district 1875-7169
More Tours in Gorakhpur, Saran and Ghazipur Districts, 1877-80172
Discoveries, and a Time of Trouble175
AN Estimate: A Rediscovery

7The Description and Care of Monuments184
Early Conservation Measures185
James Burgess and the Archaeological Surveys of Western and Southern India188
H.H. Cole: Curator of Ancient Monuments199
In situ Preservation versus the Removal of Antiquities to Museums212
Cunningham and Conservation 215
The Restoration of the Bodh Gaya Temple218
The Bharhut Stupa239

8The Dismembering of the Amaravati Stupa249
The Discovery of Amaravati and the First Documentation250
The 'Elliot Marbles'257
James Fergusson and the 'Elliot Marbles'260
Boswell's Report263
Sewell Offers His Services265
Sewell's Operations267
Horsfall Steps In271
Burgess versus Cole274
Cole's Recommendations279
Cunningham's Verdict283
The Removal of the Amaravati Sculptures to the Madras Museum284

9The 'Ignorant Natives' and Archaeological Research290
Ancient Remains in the Princely States292
The Begum of Bhopal and her History296
Other Princely States299
The Contribution of Indian Scholars305
Ram Raz: The First Modern Indian Architectural Scholar308
The Debate on 'Native' Involvement in the Archaeological Survey312
P.C. Mukharji: Archeologist316
Rajendralala Mitra322
Other Contributions

10Archaeology, Sites, and Monuments in Nineteenth-century India337
Assessing the Cunningham Era of India Archaeology341
The Modern History of Ancient Sites and Monuments


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