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Archaeology is a subject which is essentially vocational in nature. It is not sufficient to call it an applied science, for an archaeologist in India , not in service with an archaeological institution, can hardly remain an archaeologist. Different departments of archaeology in the universities, therefore, made archaeology a handmaiden of history. Professional organizations, thus, felt starved of trained personnel at the stage of recruitment. The greatest impact of this fell on the Archaeological Survey of India. The old usage of recruiting only a few persons and gradually building them up could hardly cope with the vastly growing demand of personnel. This led to the establishment of the School of Archaeology in conformity with the Colombo Plan in 1959.
The School of Archaeology admirably dealt with the problem during the first two decades of its existence. It was then again got outrun by the diversification in archaeological research. In 1983, the Government of India appointed an Expert Group headed by Shri R.N.Mirdha to study and report on this growing demand and to suggest consequent planning. The emphasis on training and research was identified. The necessity to produce scholars having knowledge of the whole syndrome and then bringing up specialists from among the former was identified in turn and that led to the birth of the Institute of Archaeology with two fold functions - research and teaching including training.
The Institute of Archaeology functions as an Academic Wing, Archaeological Survey of India, Janpath, New Delhi headed by a Director (Archaeology). It conducts two years Post-Graduate Diploma in Archaeology course, besides, Professional Workshops in the field of Structural Conservation and Chemical Preservation, Heritage and Environment Management, Epigraphy and Numismatics, Excavation and Exploration, Museology, and Administration and Accounts.
Location and Ambiance
The campus is located inside Red Fort, Delhi – 110006 close to the royal monuments of Shah Jahan’s period. The campus of the Institute of Archaeology extends in a large area with relatively flat topographical features. The administrative and faculty blocks are housed in a colonial building situated in the midst of a garden; peripheral zones are covered with trees. There is a hostel towards the western side of the Institute.
Aims and Objectives
The Institute of Archaeology provides archaeological opportunities to all and plays a major role in furthering the understanding of archaeological and historical past of the Indian subcontinent. Its aim is to remain in the forefront of international research in archaeological sciences, besides promoting best practice in the management of cultural heritage and in the care and preservation of archaeological artifacts. It interacts with State Departments, Museums, Universities and other Archaeological / Cultural Institutions in furthering the cause of social, political and economic context of archaeology. It offers interaction in Archaeology and Applied Sciences and provides leadership in curriculum planning. It develops training programmes both for in-service professionals and pre-service connoisseurs. It is also the nodal agency for the implementation of HRD policy of ASI.
The following Professional Workshops are organized periodically in order to improve the qualitative out put of the professionals and abreast them with the new researches / methodology to be adopted in the upkeep and maintenance of the heritage.
- Structural Conservation
- Chemical Preservation
- Epigraphy and Numismatics
These workshops are organized either in the Institute or at different field offices keeping in view the available logistic support. Experts of national and international fame in the related disciplines are invited to deliver lectures and interact with the trainees and participants.
Explorations and Excavations
The Institute provides training every year in Explorations and Excavations, particularly to the PGDA students, as part of their curriculum. In past, the Institute itself took up excavations at Thanesar (Haryana), Dholavira ( Gujarat ) and Rakhigarhi (Haryana) besides which the students were sent to Lal kot, Sravasti, Birrhana and Baror sites for Field training at present the Institute is providing training at Binjor (Rajasthan) since 2014-15. Exploratory surveys were also organised during excavation camps at various proto-historic and historical sites.
All India Study Tour
During the course of PGDA, the students are sent to visit major monuments and archaeological and historical sites of the country in order to study the art and architecture of the pristine heritage of the country and to get a first hand knowledge about them. Expenditure on their journey is borne by the Institute of Archaeology and on their return they have to submit their inspection note on the visited monuments and sites as a part of their field observations.
The Institute is equipped with a full fledged library, providing facility for reference and lending books to the students and staff members. Outside scholars are allowed to consult the library with prior permission of the Director of the Institute. A total number of about 11,000 books, journals and periodical are available for reference in the library, incorporating various branches of archaeology. A Conference room is also attached where seminars, lectures and workshops are arranged besides academic discussions and cultural events.
The Institute is developing the computing facilities for all the students. Direct access to such facilities would be provided through its computer laboratory which is being equipped with PCs and a wide range of printing, scanning, digitising and plotting equipments.
The Institute has a well equipped photo-section and dark room, a wide range of cameras and other equipments and apparatus for processing.
The field archaeology unit in the Institute is equipped with all the facilities related to surveying and drawing which is utilised in the course of excavations and also for imparting training to the students in proper handling the equipments