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Archaeology of Early South Asia

The course will cover aspects of the archaeology of the Indian Subcontinent (comprising the modern nations of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and parts of Afghanistan), from the Mesolithic / Neolithic, through the Bronze Age, to appearance of iron in the late second, to early first millennium BC.  It tracks the development and spread of agriculture during the Neolithic, through to the rise of Harappan urbanism in the third to second millennium BC.

The focus then shifts to the Gangetic valley, central India, and the South, with an examination of the chalcolithic cultures that co-existed with Harappan urbanism and continued after its decline, and the developments that led to the emergence of the 'second urbanisation' during the first millennium BC. 

Themes of discussion include early state formation, urbanisation, agrarian change, metallurgy, religion, and art, including rock-art. There is a strong emphasis on theoretical and methodological issues, with students being encouraged to situate the South Asian material within wider archaeological debates.

Course information

  • Code: ARCL3035
  • Course unit value:
  • Coordinator: Julia Shaw
  • Prerequisite:
  • Handbook: open»

For registered students

  • Moodle page: open»
  • Reading list: 


  • Running in 2015-16

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