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Organization of Archæological Research in India

Nature volume 141, page 1131 (25 June 1938) | Download Citation



As was pointed out recently in these columns (see NATURE, May 28, p. 965) little advantage has been taken of the facilities for archaeological exploration offered some years ago by the Government of India to bodies from outside the country, nor, if Dr. E. Mackay's excavations be excepted, has a serious and systematic attempt been made on any adequate scale to follow up the discovery of the now famous early civilization of the Indus Valley. An indication that a forward policy is now contemplated is afforded by an announcement of the India Office that Sir Leonard Woolley has accepted the invitation of the Government of India to visit the country next winter before proceeding to Syria to resume his excavations in the spring of 1939. The object of the invitation is to secure his advice in regard to a programme of archaeological work. Among the matters upon which it is understood that Sir Leonard will be consulted are, first, the areas which are to be regarded as most promising for future excavation; secondly, the best methods and agencies to achieve the speedy and fruitful development of exploration activities, not only under Government auspices but also by non-official bodies, such as universities and learned societies; and last, the best method of training, or selecting, officers for exploration work, including such points as the most suitable age for recruitment. Since the control of the Archaeological Survey has passed into Indian hands, much excellent work has, been done, more especially in those departments dealing with the growth of Indian civilization at-periods with which her countrymen perhaps are more familiar and more competent to speak than, ‘foreigners’. The archaeology of India is a subject for which her native students have shown both enthusiasm and aptitude ; but they have had little opportunity to acquire the breadth of outlook which the study of the pre- and protohistory of their own country demands. The determination to seek outside advice and the choice of an adviser are wise steps, from which archaeological studies throughout the world may expect to reap considerable benefit.

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