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?
A brand new slide show has just been opened featuring objects from Mundigak, a little-known Bronze Age [c. 4000-2400 BCE] set of mounds in southern Afghanistan. The objects are now at the Guimet, the French National Museum of Asian Art in Paris. Their similarity to objects and motifs in the ancient Indus Valley is remarkable. Examples include the pipal leaf, a rat trap, the humped bull, a bird whistle and classic goblets the Mundigak excavators called "brandy balloons." There is even a stone sculpture which resembles the "priest-king."
This 33 slide section Mundigak @ the Guimet is accompanied
"A small showcase of the Zahedan Museum keeps, among other finds, the fragmentary headless torso of a small statuette in a buff-grey limestone, with a strongly weathered surface. Without opening the showcase, I was allowed to take several pictures of the fragment, from various angles," writes the author.