The original Blog Post can be found at the following link: https://www.magd.cam.ac.uk/news/archaeological-research-in-india For my PhD research, under the supervision of Dr Cameron Petrie, Prof Charly French and Dr Patrick Quinn, I am working on producers, crafts and technologies of the Indus Civilisation (2500–1900 BC) in northwest India. Simply put, I spend a lot of time… Continue reading Archaeological Research in India : From Magdalene to the Indus Civilisation
TwoRains at EASAA in Naples (2-6 July), Trinity College (Cambridge; 17 Oct) and the Ancient India and Iran Trust (30 Nov-1 Dec)
Apologies for the ‘radio silence’ since the summer – we have been busy with conferences, workshops and symposium and unfortunately not posting about it, so a bit of an update is overdue.
In the first week of July (2-6 July to be precise), a number of the TwoRains team travelled to Naples to attend the 24th conference of the European Association for South Asian Archaeology and Art. This biennial conference is the premiere European conference on the art and archaeology of South Asia, and brings together researchers from across South Asia, Europe, Asia and North America. The EASAA has traditionally had one or more days devoted to papers on the Indus Civilisation, so it was an ideal venue for us to present an overview…
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Hi again – Alessandro here. After spending 4 months in India, studying ancient ceramic artefacts and working on the excavation at Lohari Ragho (link), Haryana, I am finally back in Cambridge, with plenty of samples. As mentioned in a previous blogpost (link), I spent several weeks at Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, looking at cultural material from a few Indus sites. However, I also had the chance to leave the laboratory and take a break from Bronze Age people, and talk to modern communities of crafters – more specifically traditional potters – who live in small-size villages in Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, North Western India.
My ethnographic, or ethno-technological, research is helping me think about archaeological questions and problems related to issues of rural ceramic production and regional networks of crafters. There are many aspects of ancient ceramic industries in South Asia that can benefit from research…
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Hi again – it is Alessandro. I am currently writing from India, more specifically from Varanasi, an exceptional city in Uttar Pradesh, Northern India.
You might say, “Wait a second – there is no Indus settlement in Varanasi! What are you doing there?” The answer is simple: I am studying ceramic artefacts – of course! – at one of the largest universities of India and Asia. For a few months, I have been working at BHU, Banaras Hindu University, where archives of excavations undertaken by the Land, Water and Settlement project (see here) and TwoRains project (see here) are kept.
Sunset by the Ganges, Varanasi (5:15am)
In the first part of this blog post, I would like to introduce you to the fascinating location that is hosting me (the ‘City of Gods’); then, I will take you back to the Indus Civilisation, providing an overview of my work…
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Hi again – it is Alessandro, your friendly neighbourhood ceramic specialist.
In the last few weeks, I have been busy re-firing some archaeological ceramics in a furnace at the Department of Geography, University of Cambridge. You might ask “Why do you put ancient pottery in an oven?” Although it is a relatively relaxing activity, there are reasons why we undertake the study of ancient pyro-technologies (from Greek πυρ, pyr, fire).
In the process of producing pottery, the firing stage – and in particular temperatures and structures used – give us important insights into technologies and manufacturing techniques. The sequence of actions that transform clay objects into durable ceramics is one of the crucial stages of ceramic production, and it is possibly the most dramatic. There are a number of approaches that can be used to understand ancient pyro-technologies, ranging from experimental archaeology to analytical techniques. In the photos below, you…
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Affordable, Practical and Transportable Petrographic Laboratory
Hi again – it is Alessandro, your neighbourhood ceramic specialist. In a previous post on Indus Ceramics (link here) I mentioned some of my daily tasks as part of the TwoRains research project in Cambridge: amongst them, ceramic thin-section petrography, which I am using to study aspects of ancient Indus societies, crafts and technologies.
Between excavations in the field and laboratory analysis, there is an intermediate stage where I identify the most suitable vessels for further study and collect samples, including thin-sections and powder from ceramic vessels. This can be quite an engaging and complex task, particularly if you are not allowed to move antiquities out of a country and bring them to your laboratory. With this in mind, we asked how would we go about producing 30 microns’ thick sections of ceramic vessel fragments in the field? Well, I have developed…
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Greetings! – this is Alessandro and I am one of the ceramics specialists for the ERC TwoRains project. For my PhD research, I am pursuing a holistic approach to the study of archaeological ceramic materials from Indus urban and post-urban sites being excavated by the project to trace social continuity and transformations within the production systems of rural communities.
Long story short: I spend a lot of time looking at fragments of pottery, thin-sections and ceramic powder samples. I am combining technological and compositional methods to study ceramic industries, including thin-section petrography, XRD, FTIR, WD-XRF and pXRF. Combining these methods with traditional morpho-stylistic analysis, I am investigating the production (chaîne opératoire) of artefacts to understand synchronic and diachronic cultural behaviour.
Indus Storage Jar from Mohenjo-daro. © The Trustees of the British Museum
In the last 6 months, I have been taking short breaks from microscopes and databases in Cambridge to…
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