Alessandro Ceccarelli

From Harappa to Āryāvarta: the Painted Grey Ware and the link between the Late Harappan and Proto-historic Cultures in North-Western India.

Since Painted Grey Ware (PGW) was identified in North-Western India, seven decades have lapsed and our knowledge base about this type of pottery and the communities that made use of it has grown only very slightly. Archaeology still struggle to fill the gap between the fall of the Indus Civilisation (Late Harappan, c. 1600 BCE) and the early appearance of the so-called PGW communities. This obscure period took the label of ‘Dark Age’, and a number of hypotheses have been pushed forward in order to better understand the spread of PGW culture in the Upper Ganges Valley: the myth of an Aryan invasion is just an example. The (1) first aim of my research project is to gather evidence of overlapping phases between Late Harappan and PGW from those sites which had been previously considered to show no direct link between those cultures (e.g. Alamgirpur).  This will support the view in which PGW people can be understood to be autochthonous communities and not foreign ethnic groups as previously reported; moreover, they will be presented as related to the Late Harappan phase: either they evolved from the Harappan fallout population, or they developed indigenously at the conclusion of the Late Harappan Period. The (2) second aim of the research project is to study pottery and understand similarities and differences in terms of technologies, materials, composition, fabric and firing techniques in order to better understand the link between the Late Harappan pottery assemblage and PGW in the Upper Ganges Valley;  (3) it will make a contribution to the systematic study of PGW in crucial sites in north-western India; (4) It will serve to improve our understanding of the complex shift from the First to the Second Urbanisation in South Asia and shed light on the so-called Dark Age of Indian history; and (5) it will help to identify potential sites where horizontal excavations may provide further data in order to construct a solid transitional chronology from the Late Harappan to the Early Historic Period.

Supervisors

 Educational background

  • BA (Erasmus Project), Oriental Archaeology,  Universidad Autonoma of Madrid, Spain, 2011
  • BA, Archaeological Sciences: Oriental Archaeology, University Sapienza of Rome, Italy, 2014
  • MA, History of Art and Archaeology – South Asia, SOAS, University of London, 2015
  • 1.	PGW sherds from the UCL Institute of Archaeology (IoA) Collection, UK. A. Ceccarelli’s photographs taken under supervision of Mr. Ian Carroll (Collection Manager, UCL); use approved by IoA, UCL. Catalogue numbers: 63/139, 141-143, 145, 147; provenance: Hastinapur, India; donated by: Lal, Braj Basi.

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