A rchaeology is a discipline that opens up a comprehensive and scientific perspective as far as understanding the cultural heritage of a country is concerned. Preservation and conservation of the cultural heritage of a country is a national imperative and requires participation from even the average citizen. Understanding this need the archaeology department of Deccan College, Pune, has been conducting several outreach programmes to educate people across the country about the importance of this discipline. “The central and state governments are doing their best to preserve our cultural heritage but they have their own limitations. Our outreach programmes are envisaged to supplement the efforts of the government and our mandate is to enlighten people about the contribution of this discipline with regard to the history of the country and the world at large,” says Dr VS Shinde, professor of archaeology and joint director of the university. Founded by the late Professor H.D. Sankalia, this department is the premier post graduate and research institute for archaeology in South Asia.
Incidentally, this is the only department in the country that carries out research at the all-India level.
This is the only university department of archaeology in the entire country which boasts of elaborate laboratories for archaeological chemistry, palynology, archaeo-zoology, archaeo-botany, biological anthropology, sedimentology, paleontology, physical chemistry, X-Ray diffraction and computing. The services are extended to other institutions and university departments in the country, including the Archaeological Survey of India and state departments of archaeology.
It has a sanctioned faculty strength of 28 members.
The various fields in which research is carried out include prehistory, protohistory, Harappan age, early iron age and the early historic, mediveal and industrial periods. Numismatics, art and architecture, palaeography, epigraphy, iconography, museology, ethnoarchaelogy, domestication of plants and animals and health and diet of ancient people are other key focus areas in terms of research.
The alumni occupies teaching and research positions in universities and research institutions. Archaelogical Survey of India, National Monument Authority, National Mission for Monuments and Archaelogical Sites and museums are some places where the alumni are employed.
This department was granted the status of Department of Special Assistance by UGC in 1972. The UGC was also instrumental in upgrading the status of this department as a Centre of Advanced Study in 1985. In 2003, the department assisted the UGC in terms of the implementation of a programme called Assistance for Infrastructure in Humanities and Social Sciences
“Since we are imparted intensive training in the latest archaeological exploration and excavation methods I want to work independently on more challenging research projects,” says a masters student