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The archaeologists of old Ganjing

THEIR RENDEZVOUS with city of ?nawabs? began in 1967 and Lucknawi culture fascinated them. The archaeologist couples Jean-Francois Jarrige and Catherine Jarrige from Paris are back in the city after a gap of over three decades to attend the seminar organized by Directorate of Archaeology.

india Updated: Jan 19, 2006 00:13 IST

THEIR RENDEZVOUS with city of ‘nawabs’ began in 1967 and Lucknawi culture fascinated them.

The archaeologist couples Jean-Francois Jarrige and Catherine Jarrige from Paris are back in the city after a gap of over three decades to attend the seminar organized by Directorate of Archaeology.

Though the silhouette of the city has changed and it is moving fast on the path of modernity, but the Jarriges get nostalgic while talking about the old Lucknow. Jean says the traffic on the road has increased and roads are studded with multi-storied buildings, but the good point is that old Lucknow has not changed much.

Jarriges were working on the ancient settlement of Mehgarh located in Baluchistan province of Pakistan from 1975 to 2000. But due to threat posed by the tribe led by federal minister Ya Mohammad Rinhd, they had to leave Pakistan and much of the excavated site was destroyed by the tribal.

Jean and Catherine recalled the days when they were in Lucknow from 1967 to 1969. Jean was a visiting Professor in Lucknow University and stayed on Wazir Hasan Road. After landing at Lucknow on Tuesday both went for Ganjing.

Closure of Mayfair dismayed them but at the same time when they found that old Lucknow was keeping its spirit alive they were enlightened. Jean said botanical garden was their favorite spot and they spent morning walking in the garden. “In evening I attended ‘mushaira’ and Begum Akhtar was my favourite ghazal singer”, he said.

Jean and Catherine plan to visit Lahuradewa in Sant Kabir Nagar district where first farming activities in Indian sub continent has come to light after the excavation carried out by Directorate of Archaeology.

Talking about their experience in Mehgarh Jean and Catherine said an archaeological remains indicates that farming and domestication of cattle in this region began around the same period as that of West Asia. “Rather Mehgarh is the continuation of the West Asian farming culture’, Jean said.

“The archaeological remains indicate that Mehgarh settlement was 3000 years older than Indus Valley civilization. Several ancient graveyards were found during excavation and they were 9000 years old”, Jean said.

Among the grave goods they found lapis lazuli and sea shell ornaments. The craft was sophisticated and the inhabitants had learned mastered craftsmanship 4000 years back, he said.

Archaeology drew Jean and Catherine toward each other and finally they decided to tie the nuptial chord.

Jean is Director of Guimet Museum at Paris. At present they working at another ancient site located near Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. Their next mission is to study the ancient Greek and Roman settlements.

First Published: Jan 19, 2006 00:13 IST