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Archaeological Explorations -Ancient settlements of the Gangetic Plain..
Ancient Settlements of the Gangetic Plain: Location and Territoriality.
Project Director
Dr Dilip K. Chakrabarti, Department of Archaeology, University of Cambridge.
Project Phase
Tenth field season.
Research Aims and Emerging Results
The Gangetic plain is more than half-a-million sq. km of alluvium below the outer arc of the Himalayas and to the north of the northeastern segment of the geologically old Indian Peninsula. The aim of this project is to understand the long-term settlement history of the valley with reference to the locations of sites and the inferences which may be drawn on that basis about land-use, plateau-valley interaction, routes and textually known ancient political territories. There is now a greater urgency for recording the archaeological details of the Indian countryside where population pressure is increasingly leading to disappearance / destruction of archaeological evidence. Some of these sites have not been explored since the nineteenth century.
The still overwhelmingly pre-industrial character of agriculture in the valley offers some scope for inferences regarding the general character of ancient land use. Current day cultivation / crop patterns and related information available from Revenue records provide some basis for inferring earlier land use patterns. For instance, we now know that farmers in the third and second millennia B.C. in the West Bengal and Bihar sections of the valley showed a preference for locations either on river-banks or in close proximity of low-lying lands. The nature of interaction between the valley and the adjoining plateau sections can be appreciated from the study of surface scatters of valley sites. This opens up the issue of trade and it has been possible to infer that this trade was both at the local level extending up to distances of 300--400 km. During the historic period in the deltaic portion of West Bengal this trade included maritime contacts with the Mediterranean and southeast Asia, leading to the establishment of more than ten major urban centres in this section. The mode of investigation of ancient routes is the location and alignment of sites in an area and the historical and ethnographic documentation of the routes of that area. Political units have been mentioned in ancient texts, and this survey tries to understand the major geographical markers which could have served as delimitations to such political constituencies.
Collaborating Institution and Project Members
Directorate of Archaeology, Government of West Bengal. (Dr. G. Sengupta)
Directorate of Archaeology, Government of Bihar. (Mr. Ajit K. Prasad)
Department of History, University of Delhi. (Dr. N. Lahiri, Dr. R.K. Chattopadhyay)
Department of Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Banaras Hindu University. (Professor P. Singh, Dr R. N. Singh)
Directorate of Archaeology, Government of Uttar Pradesh (Dr. Rakesh Tewari, R.K. Srivastava, Dr. K.K. Singh, Dr. Rajiv Trivedi)
The Society for South Asian Studies;
The British Academy;
Cambridge University Travelling Expenses Fund.
Chakrabarti, Dilip K. and Chattopadhyay, R.K. 1992 ' Notes on the archaeology of Maldaha and West Dinajpur districts, West Bengal ' South Asian Studies 8 :135-153.
Chakrabarti, Dilip K., Sengupta, G., Chattopadhyay, R.K. and Lahiri, N. 1993' Black-and-Red Ware settlements in West Bengal. South Asian Studies 9 : 123-135
Chakrabarti, Dilip K., Goswami, N. and Chattopadhyay, R.K. 1994' Archaeology of coastal West Bengal : Twenty -four Parganas and Midnapur Districts'South Asian Studies 10 : 135-160
Chakrabarti, Dilip K., Prasad, A.K., Jha, S.K., Anand, K. and Chattopadhyay, R.K. 1995' Preliminary observations on the distribution of archaeological sites in the south Bihar plains. South Asian Studies 11 : 129-147
Chakrabarti, Dilip K., Prasad, A.K., Jha, S.K. and Verma, A.C. 1996. From Purnea to Gangetic Plain.
Champaran : The distribution of sites in the north Bihar plains. South Asian Studies 12 : 147-15
Chakrabarti, Dilip K., Singh, R.N. and Tripathi, K. 1997. Notes on the archaeology of the Sarayupar plain, eastern Uttar Pradesh. South Asian Studies 13 : 285-299 .
SAS ' 14
Chakrabarty, D. K.,, Rakesh Tewari, R. N. Singh 1999 'Archaeology of Jaunpur, Sultanpur, Faizabad, Pratapgarh and Allahabad with Reference to early Historic Routes', South Asian Studies 15, pp. 159-173.
Chakrabarty, D. K., Rakesh Tewari, R. N. Singh 2000 'Lower Doab and Oudh: Sites between Pratapgarh and Sitapur', South Asian Studies No. 16, pp. 109-117.
Chakrabarty, D. K., Rakesh, Tewari, R. N. Singh, Rajiv Trivedi and K.K. Singh 2001' Oudh, Rohilkhand and Tarai: Sites between Kanauj and Kashipur', South Asian Studies 17, pp. 151-160.
Chakrabarti, Dilip K., Rakesh Tewari, R.N. Singh, K.K. Singh and Rajiv Trivedi 2002 'Kampil Sankisa and Chakranagar: Sites in the Farrukhabad-Etah-Budaun-Mainpuri-Etawah Region of Uttar Pradesh', South Asian Studies 18, pp. 109-119.
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