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Finding Forgotten Cities (How The Indus Civilization was Discovered)
Finding Forgotten Cities (How The Indus Civilization was Discovered)
Description
About the Book

In the autumn of 1924 the archaeologist jhon marshall made an announcement that dramatically altered existing perceptions of south Asia antiquity: the discovery of the civilization of the of the Indus valley Marshall news conveyed one of the most monumental discoveries in the history of civilization on the same as the findings of heinrich scliemann (who unearthed troy) and Arthur evans (who dug of Minoan crete).

The troy and crete stories have been well told. But a detailed archivally rich and accessible narrative of the people processes places and puzzles that led up to Marshall’s proclamation on the Indus civilization has like the civilization itself log remained buried. Now for the first time in this book have the whole story, enchantingly told.

Finding forgotten cities comprises a powerful narrative history of how India antiquity was unexpectedly unearthed it will interest every serious reader of history and anyone who likes to read an utterly fascinating story.

About the Author

Nayanjot Lahiri is a professor and teaches archaeology in the history department at the university of Delhi. She has previously written pre-ahom Assam (1991) and the Archaeology of Indian trade routes (1992). She has also co-authored copper and its alloys in ancient India (1996) edited the decline and fall of the Indus civilization (2000), co-edited ancient India new research (2009) and an issue of world archaeology titled the Archaeology of Hinduism (2006).

Preface

Thirty-five years ago as a girl of ten I read Mulk Raj Anand tale of the Indus world a day in the life of Maya of Mohenjo-Daro. I still remember that story beguiling beginning (it was five thousand years ago…) and how much I identified with little maya as she coveted her mother tree bark to redden her lips or went on real and imaginary wanderings in the marketplace at Mohenjodaro or to distant Harappa whose great granary she longed to see also sharing her love of Khichri (a gruel of rice and lentils) and her distaste of milk with malai (cream) floating on top it. As far as I can remember my curiosity about thing harappan began with that book.

The present book did not begin as a narrative about the Indus civilization. It began as an accident of research in 1996 when I came by some unknown documents connected with the archaeologist Jhon Marshall while rummaging through references at the India office library in London. In those document as in my book now marshall is among the cental characters the man who in 1924 finally pieced together the puzzle of the Indus cities and famously announced that a new civilization the civilization of the Indus valley had been discovered.

This remarkable figure remains something of an enigma to me even now. How never wrote his autobiography nor has anyone cared to write his biography. Some of the shadows surrounding him I chased away that summer when I found papers pertaining to his selection in 1901 at the age of twenty-five to the post of director general of the Archaeological survey of India. That led me to begin scanning the files o the archaeological survey of Indian in the national archives at New Delhi specially those pertaining to Marshall long archaeological career in India (1902-34) as far as could see the story that was beginning to form in my mind eye related quite widely to marshall’s life and times in those decades: I thought then that my book might grow into an intellectual biography within the life and times genre.

But the story has turned out drastically different from the way it was originally conceived. This has to do with some other chance events. Around 1999 charles lewis whom I knew as the author of Delhi historic village guided me to the head office of the Archaeological survey of India at delhi. In the spirit of a true fellow researcher he went to a great deal of trouble to seek me out in order to draw my attention to archival material that I was not aware of a treasure trove of files on all kinds of subjects and sites lay buried in the file room of the survey.

Over the next couple of years it was in those bundles of reports letters and notes that I came upon much that was unknown about the survey and its officers. Through those documents I learnt about the little known about the survey and its officers. Through those documents I learnt about the little known saga of how the Indus civilization was unearthed and so resolved to write about it. Contrary to what I had thought clues about an unknown yet distinctive culture had long been available from what would later became famous Indus cities. I came face to face with the ideas and work of men like daya ram sahni and rakhaladas Banerjis as they grappled with what was emerging from the ruins of those ancient cities. The names of lesser known individuals whose lives were linked in some way or other discovery of the civilization also emerged from the files to which they had been relegated.

The most important of them and the one who made the deepest impression on me was the Italian explorer luigi pio tessitori whose unpublished work and perhaps foreign nationality (i.e. neither British nor Indian) made him the least known I had seen tessiroti archaeological collection at the Ganga golden jubilee Museum at Bikaner in the winter of 2000. Unknown to me my interest in Tessitori was Communicated to an elderly Kanpur businessman Sri Hazarimal Banthia I later learnt that ever since his youth when he had found tesitor forgotten tomb in Bikaner and renovated it sri Banthia had done much to keep the memory to tessitori alive. He firmly put me on the trail of that linguist turned archeologist which brought me back to Bikaner. In the Rajasthan state Archives at Bikaner I found precious correspondence pertaining to Tessitori Rajasthan Sojourns. I now realized that there was a great deal of material on tessitori and his all too fleeting affair with an Indus city buried in the Bikaner region.

If my research for this book has been shaped by the unexpected intervention of enormously ungrudging individuals it could never have been told in its present strongly narrative form without the advice of my editor and old friend Rukun Advani. To tell this story in a way that would make it accessible not only to fellow archaeologists but to a wider public was an idea which Rukun nurtured in me. Having earlier written primarily for academics I first found this an enormously difficult task. I must emphasize that there is still a lot of detail in the present book which will centrally interest specialists; but if as I hope I have managed to write an archivally researched work in a form attractive to general readers of history some of the credit should go to my editor. I am truly grateful to him for his belief that I could craft a tale in which a clear narrative path could cut through the jungle of archaeological fact and detail.

There are also a few other individuals that I should mention: Ramachandra Guha who first pointed out the possibility of focusing my work around the main characters who figure in it; Stephen shennan who constantly reminded me through long years spent writing the book that this was as important as any academic paper I’d written or any volume I’d edited. His words certainly helped keep me on track; Dilip chakrabarti, who read some of the chapters with a discerning eye and offered valuable comments and criticism Upinder Singh who constantly provided me with insights from her own considerable work on the history of Indian archaeology in the nineteenth century; Gregory posshel an enthusiastic supporter of my research which has carried forward his own provided me with a number of photographs and insights into Marshall personality sanjukta Datta who read the entire manuscript and reassured me about its contents; Raymond and Bridget Allchin of the ancient India and Iran Trust (Cambridge) who invited me to take up their Charles Wallace visiting fellowship over February-May 1996 which marked the beginning of the research culminating in this book; and calra sinipoli whose invitation to me in 2004 to be the hughes endowment visiting scholar at the center for south Asian studies at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor allowed me to make final revisions to the manuscript. My deepest gratitude to all of them.

The staff at the institutions where I researched have been enormously helpful especially at the oriental and India office collection of the British Library (London) the National Archives of India (New Delhi) and the Rajasthan state Archives (Bikaner). I would like specially to thank the archaeological survey of India for giving me access to its archives. The daily assistance of Mohar Singh who unfailingly brought out file bundles was invaluable. I read those files in the photographic library of the survey. I will always remember how the staff there treated me as one of their own tracking down unpublished photographs in the albums of the library and plying me with innumerable cups of tea. For the preparation of the manuscript I am very indebted to Kalika Prasad shukla and Rajiv Rekhi who have constantly helped with endless photocopying and printings.

My friend and family have shared in the angst and adventure involved in writing this book. The indulgence of shivani and Ashwath Khanna has been as important as their wonderful hospitality. I also remember the warm enthusiasm of my late brother in law amar and it will always be my regret that he passed away before this book was finished.

Finally there are the two marellous men in my life my husband kishore and our son karan. From that wet morning in the summer of 1997 when the three of us spent long hours trudging across the hills of chota simla locating the houses where Marshall had resided our shared experiences have any Mated my research in so many different ways. A heartfelt thanks to them for having cheerfully lived with all the character in this book and for their constant love and support which has been the single most important source of stability in my life.

Contents

IllustrationsVIII
Preface and AcknowledgementXII
1A Ruined city in Punjab and its first Explorers1
2From seals to a specialist36
3John Marshall's Early Years in India59
4Harappa makes a feeling Reappearance88
5Among cities and stupas113
6An Italian in India148
7From Calcutta to Kalibangan167
8Excavating Harappa under a shadow197
9Talent and Trouble in Calcutta236
10Maverickt at Mohenjodaro255
11Stringing scattered ideas285
12Announcing the discovery311
13An Astonishing aftermath322
Afterword: Inaugurating a new era356
Endnotes364
References404
Index419

Finding Forgotten Cities (How The Indus Civilization was Discovered)

Item Code:
NAF244
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
2005
Publisher:
ISBN:
9789350092606
Language:
English
Size:
8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Pages:
454 (Throughout B/W Illustrations)
Other Details:
Weight of the Books: 345 gms
Price:
$20.00   Shipping Free
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About the Book

In the autumn of 1924 the archaeologist jhon marshall made an announcement that dramatically altered existing perceptions of south Asia antiquity: the discovery of the civilization of the of the Indus valley Marshall news conveyed one of the most monumental discoveries in the history of civilization on the same as the findings of heinrich scliemann (who unearthed troy) and Arthur evans (who dug of Minoan crete).

The troy and crete stories have been well told. But a detailed archivally rich and accessible narrative of the people processes places and puzzles that led up to Marshall’s proclamation on the Indus civilization has like the civilization itself log remained buried. Now for the first time in this book have the whole story, enchantingly told.

Finding forgotten cities comprises a powerful narrative history of how India antiquity was unexpectedly unearthed it will interest every serious reader of history and anyone who likes to read an utterly fascinating story.

About the Author

Nayanjot Lahiri is a professor and teaches archaeology in the history department at the university of Delhi. She has previously written pre-ahom Assam (1991) and the Archaeology of Indian trade routes (1992). She has also co-authored copper and its alloys in ancient India (1996) edited the decline and fall of the Indus civilization (2000), co-edited ancient India new research (2009) and an issue of world archaeology titled the Archaeology of Hinduism (2006).

Preface

Thirty-five years ago as a girl of ten I read Mulk Raj Anand tale of the Indus world a day in the life of Maya of Mohenjo-Daro. I still remember that story beguiling beginning (it was five thousand years ago…) and how much I identified with little maya as she coveted her mother tree bark to redden her lips or went on real and imaginary wanderings in the marketplace at Mohenjodaro or to distant Harappa whose great granary she longed to see also sharing her love of Khichri (a gruel of rice and lentils) and her distaste of milk with malai (cream) floating on top it. As far as I can remember my curiosity about thing harappan began with that book.

The present book did not begin as a narrative about the Indus civilization. It began as an accident of research in 1996 when I came by some unknown documents connected with the archaeologist Jhon Marshall while rummaging through references at the India office library in London. In those document as in my book now marshall is among the cental characters the man who in 1924 finally pieced together the puzzle of the Indus cities and famously announced that a new civilization the civilization of the Indus valley had been discovered.

This remarkable figure remains something of an enigma to me even now. How never wrote his autobiography nor has anyone cared to write his biography. Some of the shadows surrounding him I chased away that summer when I found papers pertaining to his selection in 1901 at the age of twenty-five to the post of director general of the Archaeological survey of India. That led me to begin scanning the files o the archaeological survey of Indian in the national archives at New Delhi specially those pertaining to Marshall long archaeological career in India (1902-34) as far as could see the story that was beginning to form in my mind eye related quite widely to marshall’s life and times in those decades: I thought then that my book might grow into an intellectual biography within the life and times genre.

But the story has turned out drastically different from the way it was originally conceived. This has to do with some other chance events. Around 1999 charles lewis whom I knew as the author of Delhi historic village guided me to the head office of the Archaeological survey of India at delhi. In the spirit of a true fellow researcher he went to a great deal of trouble to seek me out in order to draw my attention to archival material that I was not aware of a treasure trove of files on all kinds of subjects and sites lay buried in the file room of the survey.

Over the next couple of years it was in those bundles of reports letters and notes that I came upon much that was unknown about the survey and its officers. Through those documents I learnt about the little known about the survey and its officers. Through those documents I learnt about the little known saga of how the Indus civilization was unearthed and so resolved to write about it. Contrary to what I had thought clues about an unknown yet distinctive culture had long been available from what would later became famous Indus cities. I came face to face with the ideas and work of men like daya ram sahni and rakhaladas Banerjis as they grappled with what was emerging from the ruins of those ancient cities. The names of lesser known individuals whose lives were linked in some way or other discovery of the civilization also emerged from the files to which they had been relegated.

The most important of them and the one who made the deepest impression on me was the Italian explorer luigi pio tessitori whose unpublished work and perhaps foreign nationality (i.e. neither British nor Indian) made him the least known I had seen tessiroti archaeological collection at the Ganga golden jubilee Museum at Bikaner in the winter of 2000. Unknown to me my interest in Tessitori was Communicated to an elderly Kanpur businessman Sri Hazarimal Banthia I later learnt that ever since his youth when he had found tesitor forgotten tomb in Bikaner and renovated it sri Banthia had done much to keep the memory to tessitori alive. He firmly put me on the trail of that linguist turned archeologist which brought me back to Bikaner. In the Rajasthan state Archives at Bikaner I found precious correspondence pertaining to Tessitori Rajasthan Sojourns. I now realized that there was a great deal of material on tessitori and his all too fleeting affair with an Indus city buried in the Bikaner region.

If my research for this book has been shaped by the unexpected intervention of enormously ungrudging individuals it could never have been told in its present strongly narrative form without the advice of my editor and old friend Rukun Advani. To tell this story in a way that would make it accessible not only to fellow archaeologists but to a wider public was an idea which Rukun nurtured in me. Having earlier written primarily for academics I first found this an enormously difficult task. I must emphasize that there is still a lot of detail in the present book which will centrally interest specialists; but if as I hope I have managed to write an archivally researched work in a form attractive to general readers of history some of the credit should go to my editor. I am truly grateful to him for his belief that I could craft a tale in which a clear narrative path could cut through the jungle of archaeological fact and detail.

There are also a few other individuals that I should mention: Ramachandra Guha who first pointed out the possibility of focusing my work around the main characters who figure in it; Stephen shennan who constantly reminded me through long years spent writing the book that this was as important as any academic paper I’d written or any volume I’d edited. His words certainly helped keep me on track; Dilip chakrabarti, who read some of the chapters with a discerning eye and offered valuable comments and criticism Upinder Singh who constantly provided me with insights from her own considerable work on the history of Indian archaeology in the nineteenth century; Gregory posshel an enthusiastic supporter of my research which has carried forward his own provided me with a number of photographs and insights into Marshall personality sanjukta Datta who read the entire manuscript and reassured me about its contents; Raymond and Bridget Allchin of the ancient India and Iran Trust (Cambridge) who invited me to take up their Charles Wallace visiting fellowship over February-May 1996 which marked the beginning of the research culminating in this book; and calra sinipoli whose invitation to me in 2004 to be the hughes endowment visiting scholar at the center for south Asian studies at the University of Michigan Ann Arbor allowed me to make final revisions to the manuscript. My deepest gratitude to all of them.

The staff at the institutions where I researched have been enormously helpful especially at the oriental and India office collection of the British Library (London) the National Archives of India (New Delhi) and the Rajasthan state Archives (Bikaner). I would like specially to thank the archaeological survey of India for giving me access to its archives. The daily assistance of Mohar Singh who unfailingly brought out file bundles was invaluable. I read those files in the photographic library of the survey. I will always remember how the staff there treated me as one of their own tracking down unpublished photographs in the albums of the library and plying me with innumerable cups of tea. For the preparation of the manuscript I am very indebted to Kalika Prasad shukla and Rajiv Rekhi who have constantly helped with endless photocopying and printings.

My friend and family have shared in the angst and adventure involved in writing this book. The indulgence of shivani and Ashwath Khanna has been as important as their wonderful hospitality. I also remember the warm enthusiasm of my late brother in law amar and it will always be my regret that he passed away before this book was finished.

Finally there are the two marellous men in my life my husband kishore and our son karan. From that wet morning in the summer of 1997 when the three of us spent long hours trudging across the hills of chota simla locating the houses where Marshall had resided our shared experiences have any Mated my research in so many different ways. A heartfelt thanks to them for having cheerfully lived with all the character in this book and for their constant love and support which has been the single most important source of stability in my life.

Contents

IllustrationsVIII
Preface and AcknowledgementXII
1A Ruined city in Punjab and its first Explorers1
2From seals to a specialist36
3John Marshall's Early Years in India59
4Harappa makes a feeling Reappearance88
5Among cities and stupas113
6An Italian in India148
7From Calcutta to Kalibangan167
8Excavating Harappa under a shadow197
9Talent and Trouble in Calcutta236
10Maverickt at Mohenjodaro255
11Stringing scattered ideas285
12Announcing the discovery311
13An Astonishing aftermath322
Afterword: Inaugurating a new era356
Endnotes364
References404
Index419
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