IIT Gandhinagar has opened the 'ASI Archaeology Chair' to encourage research in archaeological sciences.

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The Archaeological Sciences Centre at IIT Gandhinagar launched the ‘ASI Archaeology Chair’, which was set up by the Ministry of Culture and Archaeological Survey of India, to promote a scientific and evidence-based approach to archaeological research. The inauguration of the chair was accompanied by a three-day international colloquium on “Emerging Perspectives of Harappan Civilisation”, which was presided over by Govind Mohan of the Ministry of Culture, Dr Alok Tripathi, Additional Director General of ASI, and Prof Rajat Moona, Director of IITGN.

The resources under this Chair will also be used to deepen research in multiple facets of the ancient Harappan, Indus, Sindhu-Saraswati civilisation.

At the event, Govind Mohan, Secretary of the Ministry of Culture of India, stated that the work being commenced is of great importance for the nation from a cultural point of view. The Vedas are the earliest known works of human expression and they demonstrate a civilisation that was highly developed in multiple areas, such as women empowerment and respect for the environment. Additionally, there are remains of the Sindhu-Saraswati civilisation which had remarkable urban planning, architecture, drainage system, and trading paths. He believes that this colloquium and the Chair will help to find out if there is any connection between the two civilisations with the help of modern archaeological techniques. The Ministry of Culture and IITGN will continue to research to answer questions like who we are, where we came from, and how we have evolved.

Dr Alok Tripathi, the Additional Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, spoke of the pioneering work of the late Daya Ram Sahni, a well-known Indian archaeologist who spearheaded the discovery of the Harappan Civilisation back in the 1920s. He described this conference and Chair at IITGN as the beginning of a new journey to explore more about Indian culture, history, civilisation, and its connection with the Vedic culture. Over the next two days, more than 50 archaeologists, scientists, and researchers from India and abroad will be delivering talks and presenting their research on the Harappan civilisation during various thematic sessions.

The colloquium will cover the origin of the Harappan, Indus and Indus-Saraswati civilizations, terminology, state and polity during the Harappan era, trade with other regions, technology, climate, environmental studies, bio-archaeology, bio-anthropology, DNA studies, and the make-up of the Harappan population. It will also look at the Indus script, de-urbanization processes, and possible points of contact between the Harappan civilization and Vedic culture. Fifteen research scholars will present their work in posters, with plenty of time for discussion on future research.

Mayank Tewari

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