"In spite of the challenges that face bioarchaeological research in South Asia, the results obtained from the investigations of the past 30 years have revolutionized our understanding of the peoples of the ancient Indus Valley, providing contemporary, scientifically informed interpretations from skeletal collections that were often collected decades ago."
A rare article looking in detail at something archaeologists usually do not focus on, but was and is of immense importance in art and human experience. Ancient Balochistan before the Indus period was known for some of the most vibrant colour pottery in South Asia.
This volume explores multiple perceptions of Indian history and scholarship produced through archaeological fieldwork and related photography during the colonial period. The focus is on John Marshall, the man who really made the Archaeological Survey of India the formidable player it became in the reconstruction and preservation of Indian history. He announced and fostered the discovery of the ancient Indus civilization, even as the hard work on the ground was done by a handful of Indian archaeologists.
"Geologically speaking," write the authors, "agate is not a particularly uncommon rock . . .. However, good agate – i.e, that which ancient lapidaries would have found suitable for beadmaking – is not widely available. Nodules of the size and quality required to make Harappan-style long-barrel carnelian beads are, in fact, extremely rare" (p. 177).
Jean-Francois Jarrige (1940-2014) and his wife Catherine (b. 1942) were two of the most important archaeologists in the South Asian region, whose excavations at Mehrgarh, the site in Balochistan which predates the ancient Indus civilization by thousands of years, helped determine how far back the development of various traditions found in that and other regional civilizations actually reached.
There are almost no concise, up-to-date accounts of the ancient Indus civilization, locating the latest facts and opinions within a larger intellectual context. Has the Indus script been deciphered? What can we say about the relationship of ancient Indus traditions and modern Hinduism? How did Indus society compare to contemporary Bronze Age Egypt and Mesopotamia? Why do so many questions remain open and so contentious?