Odisha to Introduce Advanced Interdisciplinary Study in Archaeology

Bhubaneswar: Odisha Government has decided to take a step ahead with a vision to start interdisciplinary study in advanced archaeology. A meeting in this regard chaired by Chief Secretary B K Patnaik along with Principal Secretary Culture & Tourism A K Tripathy initiated the discussion by presenting the need for such a course in Odisha. Others participating in the meeting were Prof Madhusudan Chakrabarti, Director, IIT BBSR, Prof A.K. Nayak Registrar, NISER, Prof S Pradhan, Prof & Head Dept of Archaeology, Utkal University, A K Patel, Superintending Archaeologist, ASI, Govt. of India, Dr. Sunil Kumar Patnaik, Secretary, Odisha Institute of Maritime & South- East Asian Studies along with other experts and scientists.

The officials unanimously agreed in the meeting that there is a strong need to have an advanced and interdisciplinary study centre for archaeology in Odisha. Enough of scope for such course is available in the State as Odisha has more than 3000 ancient monuments belonging to several centuries, more than 30 excavated sites and more than dozen ancient mounds. Odisha has the earliest epigraphical record in India as inscribed at Dhauli, Jaugada and Khandagiri. It was deliberated in meeting that advanced archaeology is a multidisciplinary science encompassing the subjects like civil engineering, chemistry, fine art, designing, geology, epigraphy, numismatics, exploration, excavation along with its traditional segments like pre-history, proto-history, historical archaeology etc.

Experts opined that at present there are few institutes in India who are imparting professional courses in allied Archaeology. Near about 9 institutions New Delhi, Pune, Lucknow, Madras, Kolkata, Hyderabad and Kanpur are running Archaeology courses. The courses in many of these Institutes do not explicitly include all aspects of Archaeology. This discipline involves extensive field work and serious interdisciplinary research.

Chief Secretary Patnaik told that we need to apply modern technology in restoration, conservation, preservation of our ancient monuments and cultural treasure. The task requires trained and motivated manpower. Patnaik has advised IIT, Bhubaneswar to start such advanced course. Chief Secretary has requested all the experts to pass on their suggestions with relevant information to Director, IIT. The Director has also been advised to form a core group involving the experts, stake holders and practitioners. Patnaik has categorically advised the IIT, Bhubaneswar to identify a person having passion and commitment for the subject to spearhead the entire process.

The Institute has been requested to design the course and identify qualitative people to teach and guide research projects. Chief Secretary has also advised them to examine the possibilities of designing modular short term courses in advanced archaeology in which the concerned Government Officers can be trained. This will cater to the present need of skilled manpower in State in this sector and will also set examples for others to pursue carrier in advanced archaeology.

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