Synopses & Reviews
Just a century ago, scholars believed that civilization in the Indus Valley began three thousand years ago during the Vedic Age. But in the autumn of 1924, John Marshall made an announcement that rocked the understanding of the ancient world and pushed back the boundaries of Indian history by two thousand years more: the discovery of the civilization at Harappa, located in present-day Sindh and Punjab, Pakistan. A sophisticated culture dating back to 2600 BCE, this ancient city was notable for its well-planned streets and for having the oldest known urban sanitation system.
Based on previously unknown archival materials, Finding Forgotten Cities not only details an archeological discovery on the same scale as Troy, but introduces us to the colorful cast of characters who made it possible and overcome the challenges and travails of this colossal excavation. Nayanjot Lahiri’s fascinating history includes tales of self-taught archaeologists like Charles Masson, the collector who first described an ancient Indus Valley culture, as well as Alexander Cunningham, the archaeological pioneer who first excavated Harappa with diggers Daya Ram Sahni, Rakhaldas Banerji, and Madho Sarup Vats in the 1850s. And, at the center of Lahiri’s story is John Marshall, a Cambridge classicist brought by Lord Curzon to India to lead the Archaeological Survey of India and the man who finally pieced together the truth about this long-forgotten civilization.
Spanning nearly a century, Finding Forgotten Cities presents a powerful narrative history of one of the key sites of the ancient world offers interesting insight into the origins of modern civilization.
About the Author
Nayanjot Lahiri is a professor of history at Delhi University. She is the author of The Archaeology of Indian Trade Routes (up to c. 200 B.C.): Resource Use, Resource Access and Lines of Communication and the editor of both The Decline and Fall of the Indus Civilization and, with Upinder Singh, Ancient India: New Research.
Table of Contents
List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements
1. A Ruined City in Punjab and its First Explorers
2. From Seals to a Specialist
3. John Marshall´s Early Years in India
4. Harappa Makes a Fleeting Reappearance
5. Among Cities and Stupas
6. An Italian in India
7. From Calcutta to Kalibangan
8. Excavating Harappa Under a Shadow
9. Talent and Trouble in Calcutta
10. Maverick at Mohenjodaro
11. Stringing Scattered Ideas
12. Announcing the Discovery
13. An Astonishing Aftermath
Afterword: Inaugurating a New Era