About this program

The shared archaeological heritage of India and Pakistan reaches back over 2 million years and continues up to the historical period, providing an optimal and sustainable field for collaborative research and analysis. The foundations of South Asian archaeology as an academic discipline were established throughout the subcontinent during the period of British rule, but the directions of research and methodologies used to approach the study of the past have diverged significantly since the separation of India and Pakistan in 1947. There are however two areas of study, the Indus Civilization (2600-1900 BCE), and the Early Historic Period (800 BCE-500 CE) that are of great interest to scholars in both countries, and will be the focus of this program of archaeological research and conservation. This proposed program will be the first time that archaeologists and conservators from either country have had the opportunity to work at major archaeological World Heritage sites and study materials that are essential to their own cultural identity.

The main goal of this program is to provide an opportunity for Indian and Pakistani scholars, along with US colleagues, to work together on archaeological research projects in both countries. This project will help to build common methodologies, terminologies, and shared interpretations that will continue to be used by scholars in future studies, and develop critical thinking and interpretive frameworks that will further expand our knowledge of the shared past and potential future of both countries. Another important project goal is to help people in both institutions to become aware of how archaeology is being done in the opposite country, what the problems are, what types of solutions are being implemented. The encouragement and inclusion of women and minorities in cultural heritage management and archaeology is also an important goal of the project. Finally, it will be critical for both India and Pakistan to begin working together to develop stronger antiquities laws and educate the general public about their responsibilities as stake holders of regional and national cultural heritage.

The results of this program will have an immediate and long term impact on the ways in which the archaeology and history of South Asia is taught in universities and eventually all levels of education in both countries and beyond. Because of the increasing number of women who are involved in archaeological research in both countries, this project will also provide women faculty the opportunity to engage in collaborative fieldwork and to women students to engage with outstanding scholars from across the border.