Environmental archaeology: Towards a culture-connected nation


Kolkata: MK Dhavalikar, noted Indian archaeologist, pushed for an environmental archaeology boost in India, which deals with reconstructing relationships between people and their surrounding culture.

He stressed on gathering people-centric data and connecting archaeological findings to culture rather than studying structures in isolation.

“The question is why must we study something? So what if structures exist at a particular location… now the emphasis must be on what these meant for the people. Environmental archaeology is the area to focus on for India,” Dhavalikar stated on sidelines of a lecture on Lord Ganesha at the Indian Museum here.

Dhavalikar also inaugurated an exhibition on the Hindu deity from the collection of the museum.

The expert historian observed that previously social archaeology was not being practiced in India but now with the advent of technology it has become possible to connect archaeological findings with the civilization that existed in the past.

“If there was a break in culture, then why did it happen? Was there a famine or drought? This is possible through technology,” said the former director of Deccan College, Pune.

MK Dhavalikar www.iitgn.ac.in
MK Dhavalikar

He said the concurrent study of environmental data such as pollen cores, plant and animal remains, fossil records, sediment layering, changes in river meanders, ocean levels, salinity records and other inanimate data can shed light on ancient man.

The 85-year-old suggested an inter-disciplinary approach to the subject to unravel people-centric data. Dhavalikar is associated with the Inamgaon excavations in Maharashtra which revealed multiple cultural phases and is considered a landmark in Indian archaeological history.