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January 26 , 2008

The Discovery of Ancient India

Early Archaeologists and the Beginnings of Archaeology


This book is written as much for the general reader interested in India's antiquity and its pioneering archaeologists, as for students of the history of archaeology, colonialism, and constructions of the past. It breaks colonial archaeology down into its specific constituents and examines the ideas, impulses, tensions, and individual contributions that comprised early studies of India's ancient past. It focuses, at the outset, on the ideas and work of Alexander Cunningham, the first Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, as well as his assistants. It then looks at a number of related issues-the different definitions of archaeological research; the conflict between field archaeologists and architectural scholars; the debate over whether antiquities should be left in situ or removed to museums; the different approaches and initiatives towards the conservation of historical monuments. Finally, it looks at the contributions of Indian scholars to archaeology, and at the Indian princes vis-a-vis the conservation of historical monuments.

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