The Oxford Companion to Indian Archaeology

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The Oxford Companion to Indian Archaeology: The Archaeological Foundations of Ancient India

Dilip K. Chakrabarti

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USAFormat: Hardcover

Extensive archaeological investigations carried out in the Indian subcontinent over the last 150 years have revealed significant source material for the reconstruction of human history in the region. Contributions made by different interacting human cultures of different geo-units, at different points of time, have shaped the composite culture of the present age, comprising longstanding commingled cultural, religious, architectural, and other traditions. This authoritative work traces the evolving archaeological scenario of the Indian subcontinent, area by area, phase by phase, from prehistory to the 12th-13th century AD. Using a wide variety of sources ranging from earliest available ones to the most recent reports on archaeological findings, Dilip K. Chakrabarti, one of the most distinguished exponents in the field, provides an in-depth multi-layered archaeological chronicle of the subcontinent. The first comprehensive thematic, geographic, and temporal study of this stature, this lucidly written compendium will fill a long-felt lacuna in South Asian archaeological studies.Part I discusses the position of the subcontinent in the currently known scheme of human evolution within the broader framework of the Stone Age and the Lower, Middle, and Upper stages of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic periods.It also explains why a study of prehistoric roots is important to understand the pluralistic basis of the culture of the subcontinent. Part II traces the early agricultural settlements starting from Baluchistan to RajasthanHaryana and then to the Harappan and Indus civilizations. It focuses on the developmental sequence of village life that led to the emergence of the Indus civilization, followed by a discussion on different aspects like the origin, chronology, decline, transformation, and continuities. Part III elaborates on the formation of village life outside the distribution system of the Harappan civilization, emphasizing on the interrelationships between different regions, their shared elements, and the complexities of their agricultural and technical developments. It also discusses how the use of iron began in different areas and how the basis of the early cities of the historical period was laid down.Part IV builds an integrated archaeological image of early India through the discussion of a diverse body of historical sources between c. 700-600 BC and c. 6th century AD and the related archaeological and historical issues.It also brings to life extensive data on the settlements of the period. Part V considers archaeological data between the 7th and 13th century AD along with associated evidence of inscriptions, coins, art, architecture, and religious and iconographical frameworks and examines the major historical debates on this period. Part VI elucidates major aspects of material and social life such as agriculture, metallurgy, pottery, internal and external trade, and religion.

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