What’s On

Annual Allchin Symposium on South Asia Archaeology


The 8th Annual Allchin Symposium on South Asian Archaeology will take place on Saturday 3 December 2022, from 9am to 3pm (GMT). This will be a hybrid event, which will be held in person at the Ancient India and Iran Trust and online via Zoom.

Download the schedule and abstracts of the talks

Register to attend on Zoom

If you would like to attend the event in person, please email Munizha Ahmad-Cooke: info@indiran.org

All other enquiries should be addressed to the organisers at: archaeologysouthasia@gmail.com

Symposium Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/allchinsymposium  

About the Symposium

The Annual Allchin Symposium on South Asian Archaeology was established to commemorate the work of Raymond and Bridget Allchin, and the outstanding contribution that they made to development of South Asian studies in the United Kingdom.

The United Kingdom is currently home to the largest community of scholars working on South Asia outside of South Asia itself. Yet, until recently, there has been no regular forum to meet, exchange ideas and share research. The Annual Allchin Symposium provides an opportunity to bring together UK-based scholars working in South Asian Archaeology, and also those researching South Asian History and the History of Art and Architecture, including established lecturers as well as post-doctoral researchers and PhD students. It creates a much-needed forum for the presentation and discussion of current research as well as methodological and theoretical concerns that affect research in South Asia. Discussions will strengthen existing research, foster new ideas and promote synergies between different areas, periods and subjects of study. This symposium creates the opportunity to bring together scholars and students as a community that can explore the full range of the many and varied needs and questions relevant to the study of ancient South Asia.

Traditionally the event has been relatively informal with the aim of providing a welcoming atmosphere where new, developing, and more senior researchers can present research that is at various stages of completion and interact with scholars that have a range of specialities under the broad banner of South Asian Archaeology, History and the History of Art and Architecture. We limit the number of speakers to ensure that we are able to highlight the broad range of possible topics, and speakers are given 20 minutes to present, and then there is time for questions. There are also opportunities for broader discussion by attendees.


Massed group of Gandhara Buddha and Boddhisattva images collected at Loriyan Tangai (Peshawar District), Photo by: Alexander E. Caddy, 1896 © The British Library Board, Photo 1003/(1042)


5 December: The 7th Allchin Symposium was the first to take place online |Blog post |Event recording |Programme


7 December: The 6th Allchin Symposium was held at SOAS University of London |Programme


30 November–1 December: The 5th Allchin Symposium was again held in Cambridge: jointly at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and The Ancient India and Iran Trust |Programme


2–3 December: The 4th Annual Allchin Symposium was held in Cambridge: jointly at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and The Ancient India and Iran Trust |Programme

Blog post: ‘Action-packed 4th Allchin Symposium on South Asian Archaeology’


4–6 December: The 3rd Annual Allchin Symposium, ‘South Asia and its Neighbours’, was held at Durham University.

Whilst the natural home of the Allchin Symposium is the Ancient India and Iran Trust with its library and strong link with the Allchins, the post-2014 symposium discussion voiced a clear desire for alternate venues to reflect other regional foci of expertise across the UK. As a result, it was agreed that the 2015 event be co-hosted at Durham University on account of its expertise in early historic South Asian archaeology and the presence of the Oriental Museum, home of Sir John Marshall’s photographic archive.

The Symposium Steering Committee also agreed to expand the Symposium to include ‘South Asia and its Neighbours’, in the expectation that this would strengthen links between those studying South Asia and those studying the related regions of Central Asia, South-East Asia, Iran, the Persian Gulf and the Himalayas. These regions are not often brought together in a forum of this kind with South Asia at the centre, although researchers are faced with similar methodological and theoretical challenges as well as exploring similar themes. The papers and sessions were grouped thematically rather than geographically to help facilitate this comparative approach.

The Symposium began on Friday 4 December with a keynote lecture and reception at the Oriental Museum on Friday evening. It continued on Saturday 5 December at the Department of Archaeology and finished in the evening. On Sunday 6 December, a roundtable discussion was held in the morning for Early-Career Researchers and PhD students.


5–6 December: The 2nd Annual Allchin Symposium symposium was again held in Cambridge: jointly at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and The Ancient India and Iran Trust |Programme


6–7 December: The inaugural Annual Allchin Symposium in South Asian Archaeology was held in Cambridge: jointly at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research and The Ancient India and Iran Trust |Programme