ANT316H5 • South Asian Archaeology

This course surveys the archaeology of South Asia (modern-day India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and northern regions) from the Palaeolithic to the Medieval Period (+200,000 ya to ca. 1600 CE/AD) using a comparative framework. South Asia is a place where many external cultural traditions mixed with indigenous traditions to create new socioeconomic and sociopolitical entities and sequences. While we will examine classic examples of hunter-gatherer groups, early villages, urban settlements, regional polities, and large empires through time, we will also stress the contemporaneity of groups of people with very different lifestyles -- hunter-gatherers participated in trading networks with town and city dwellers, pastoral nomads moved through settled village regions during their annual migrations. The impact of archaeological research on the region today is seen through the politicization of South Asian prehistory and history that has strongly affected both interpretations of the past and modern political events. Cases such as the debate over the identity of the Harappans and the existence of the Aryans will be evaluated from both an archaeological and a political perspective.

Social Science
In Class