University of Leicester eBulletin

Unique View of South Asian Archaeology 

May 2004  
No 124

To view the photographic exhibition view

Two thousand five hundred years of South Asian history was on show at a photographic exhibition at the University of Leicester.

The photographs were of the archaeological site of Charsadda, on an old caravan route from Kabul to Delhi, near to the city of Peshawar in modern North West Frontier Province, Pakistan.

The site is a huge mound, standing 20m high and covering an area approximately 1200 feet by 800 feet. Excavations by Sir Mortimer Wheeler in 1958 and subsequently by the Universities of Bradford and Peshawar show that it was settled around 1300 BC and was thought to have been laid siege by Alexander the Great in the 4th century BC.

Dr Ruth Young, who teaches a course in South Asian archaeology at the University of Leicester School of Archaeology and Ancient History, first worked on the site while doing her PhD research. One of a small community of archaeologists in Britain specialising in South Asian sites, Dr Young arranged for the exhibition to coincide with a meeting to bring these specialists together at Leicester.

The day before, there was be a reception for members of Leicester’s South Asian community, to give them a preview of the exhibition, that offered a rare opportunity to see such a significant representation of South Asian history. The exhibition was opened by the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Professor Robert Burgess.

Dr Young commented: “This photographic exhibition covers Sir Mortimer Wheeler’s work at Charsadda as well as the more recent project. Its value lies in showing that cities in South Asia were an indigenous development, and not the result of external (Greek and Persian) influence. Apart from that, this is a very photogenic area, and the photographs are beautiful in themselves.”  

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Last updated: May 2004
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