South Asian Archaeology and Heritage

Module code: AR3090

South Asia is a large and highly varied region, stretching from the mountainous kingdoms of Nepal and Bhutan in the north, to the island nations of Sri Lanka and the Maldives in the south. In the east, Bangladesh has grown up around the shifting mouths of the Ganges, and in the west, Afghanistan and Pakistan are lands of great extremes, from deserts to high mountains. South Asia had nearly one-quarter of the world’s total population, and is a major emerging economic and political power in the world today.

South Asia is also home to one of the world's great pristine civilisations in the form the Indus Valley Civilisation, located in what is today eastern-central Pakistan and north-western India. The Indus had major cities, took part in extensive international trade, distinctive crafts, and an elusive ideology. Two of the world’s major religions emerged in South Asia, Hinduism and Buddhism, and there are numerous stunning archaeological and living pilgrimage sites right across the region. Islam spread to South Asia early in its existence and a significant population of Muslims live in South Asia, and there are a number of smaller religions and sects that have been highly influential.

Major empires have been established in South Asia from the Indus (c.3000-1900 BCE), to the Buddhist Mauryan Empire (c.325-185 BCE), the Kaushan Empire (c30-250 BC) with its strong Greek and Iranian connections, through to the Europeans. The Portuguese, Dutch, French and British have all been involved in South Asia at different times and in different places. This module will explore not only the major developments of South Asia from the Indus onwards, it will look at the ways in which archaeology here has been used in the production of heritage.

Topics include

  • State Development - what makes a state in South Asia and the state 'cycle'
  • The Indus - emergence, expansion, contraction
  • The religions of South Asia
  • UNESCO in South Asia
  • Colonialism in South Asia
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