7th Allchin Symposium on South Asian Archaeology: an online success

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By Alessandro Ceccarelli and Cameron Petrie

On Saturday 5 December 2020, the first ever online version of the Allchin Symposium was hosted in Cambridge. In keeping with the tradition of the event, scholars at various stages of their careers, usually based in the UK, presented their papers in front of an audience of their peers, but the new online format made it possible to diversify both the speakers and the audience. Rather than a limit imposed by the size of a room at the Ancient India and Iran Trust, hundreds of students and researchers joined the remote event from all over the world, including South Asia, the USA, Spain and Italy.

The first group of speakers presented papers on the prehistoric and protohistoric periods. These included Dr Parth R. Chauhan (HSS, IISER Mohali, India): ‘New Paleoanthropological Evidence from the Central Narmada Basin, India’; Charusmita Gadekar (Institución Milà i Fontanals, Barcelona): ‘Early Harappan Interaction between Sindh and Gujarat: As Evidenced by Lithic Tools from Juna Khatiya, Gujarat; and Carolina Jiménez Arteaga and Óscar Parque (Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona): Bioarchaeology of the Indus Civilisation: A Multi-Proxy analysis from Bhando Qubo, Sindh, Pakistan).


Talk by Prof. Arjun Rao. From the Facebook Live Video @allchinsymposium, 5 December 2020

A second group of speakers presented research papers spanning from ancient to modern South Asia, with a special emphasis on the impact of their projects on contemporary cultural heritage. These presenters included NTICVA Visiting Fellow at the AIIT, Prof. Arjun Rao (Central University of Karnataka): ‘Revisiting 1954: Raymond Allchin in Raichur, South India’; Jiajing Mo (Durham University): ‘Re-Interpreting Xiyu ji and Reconsidering its Role in the Study of Early India’; Srija Sahay (University of Delhi): ‘Monuments to Water: A Study of the Chand Baori Tughlaqabad Fort, Delhi’; and Diptarka Datta (Deccan College, Pune): ‘Prospects of Rescue Archaeology and Heritage Tourism’.

In the middle of the day, Prof. Massimo Vidale (University of Padua, Italy) delivered an exciting keynote speech on the warehouse of Tappeh Taleb Khan 2 (Sistan, Iran) and the development of sealing in the second half of the 3rd millennium BC.


Massimo Vidale’s keynote speech. Twitter photo by Carla Lancelotti, #allchinsymposium2020

The final session focused on themes of ancient South Asian crafts, settlements and food production. The speakers were Former AIIT Bursary recipient Nicholas Groat (University of Sheffield): ‘Settlements, Crafts and Food Rethinking Technological Complexity: A Critical Overview of Proffered Distillation Apparatus in Gandhāra and South-Central Asia’; Eduard L. Fanthome (Stanford University): ‘Walking within Walls: Politics, Movement and Settlement on the Margins of the Cosmopolis in Medieval Southern India’; and Jennifer Bates (University of Pennsylvania): ‘Refitted Bone, Food Lumps and Terracotta Cakes: Thinking Through the Complex Creation of a Midden Pit at Kadebakele’.


Jennifer Bates’ presentation. Twitter photo by Jo Shoebridge, #allchinsymposium2020

You can view a recording of the symposium on the event’s Facebook page.

Phased reopening of the Trust Library

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We are delighted to announce a limited reopening of our library in accordance with Public Health England advice. To make things as safe as possible for readers and staff, a number of measures will be put in place, including social distancing. In the first instance, we will only be open to researchers who need to access specific collection items. Use of our reading rooms will be restricted to readers who have pre-booked material and an appointment time. We regret that it is not possible at this stage to reserve general …

A new Bactrian inscription from Jaghori, Afghanistan

Jo Salisbury News 2 Comments

Bactrian, the main administrative language of pre-Islamic Afghanistan, is unique amongst the languages of the Iranian family in being written in a script derived from Greek, a legacy of the conquest of the region by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BCE. Until recently, the Bactrian language was almost unknown. Over the last 25 or 30 years, however, nearly 200 Bactrian documents written in cursive Greek script on parchment, cloth or wood have gradually come to light. Most of these documents have been edited and translated by our Chair …

The Trust garden in Spring

Jo Salisbury News 4 Comments

By James Cormick, Custodian at the Trust The garden is looking lovely, enjoying the hot dry weather. The roses in particular are having a field day.

Recent Publications from our Trustees – 2019/2020

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As any recent publications acquired by the Trust are not currently accessible to readers, we thought we would share with you an update of recent publications from some of our Trustees, many of which are Open Access papers and therefore available to download online. Joe Cribb : Cribb, J., ‘Fifth Century Sasanian Coins Found in Guangdong Province, Southern China‘ in Singh, Karan (ed.) Journal of the Oriental Numismatic Society ; No. 236, Summer 2019. Cribb, J., ‘The Bimaran Casket: The Problem of Its Date and Significance (abstract)’ in Stargardt, J. …