Ancient India: New Research
This volume brings together the research of young scholars on a variety of themes related to ancient and early medieval India. It showcases important trends in the reconstruction of India’s early past.
The essays can be broadly grouped into four parts. The first part contributes significantly to our understanding of archaeology and prehistory through an exploration of the development of archaeology in Bengal; material remains of the Delhi Ridge; and human-plant interactions in the middle Gangetic plains. The next examines literary and archaeological landscapes of death through an analysis of megaliths of Vidarbha and martial heroism in Sangam literature.
Understanding the importance of archaeology in reconstructing the history of religions, the third part carefully scrutinizes archaeological evidence to underscore the co-existence of different religious traditions in Gujarat. It also evaluates the nature and function of terracottas recovered from Mathura and Ahichchhatra. The last segment engages with textual sources to offer insights into urban behaviour in the first millennium and gender relations in early medieval Kashmir.
The essays highlight the need to meticulously analyse archaeological data and to understand how this data is generated. They historicize texts and raise questions related to the correlation of literary and archaeological evidence. The introduction indicates how these essays are illustrative of important issues confronting the writing of early Indian history.
This book will be of immense interest to scholars, teachers, and students of ancient and early medieval history, archaeology, and anthropology.
Upinder Singh is Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi.
Nayanjot Lahiri is Professor, Department of History, University of Delhi.
A review of the book has been provided in the publication of ‘The Hindu’ dated 27 October, 2009.