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Department of History
Jaya Menon
Professor and Head,
Department of History,
School of Humanities and Social Sciences
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Education Details
Ph.D in Archaeology, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi 1992
M.A in Ancient Indian History, Culture and Archaeology, Deccan College, University of Poona, 1985
B.A. in History, Lady Shri Ram College, University of Delhi 1983
Professional Experience
Associate Professor, Department of History, Aligarh Muslim University, 2004 - 2013

Lecturer and Senior Lecturer, Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, M.S. University of Baroda at Vadodara, 1996 - 2004

Research Associate, Department of History, University of Delhi, 1993-1995

Research Assistant, Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi, 1992-1993
Research Interests
Bronze Age
Ancient technology
Social archaeology
Select Publications
Menon, J. (with S. Varma). 2010. Children playing and learning: Crafting ceramics in ancient Indor Khera, Asian Perspectives 49, 1, pp. 85-109.

Menon, J. (with S. Varma). 2010. Reading archaeological evidence: Ceramic and terracotta production at Indor Khera (200 BCE - 500 CE), Indian Historical Review, 37.2, pp.187-216.

Menon, J. 2008. Archaeological problems with specialization, Studies in History 24, 1, pp. 137-57.

Menon, J. (with S. Varma). 2008. Archaeology and the construction of identities in medieval North India, Studies in History 24, 2, pp. 173-93.

Menon, J. (with S. Varma, S. Dayal and P. B. Sidhu). 2008. Indor Khera revisited: Excavating a site in the Upper Ganga Plains, Man and Environment XXXIII, 2, pp. 88-98.

Menon, J. 2008. Archaeology of early historic South Asia: A review, in G. Sengupta and Sharmi Chakraborty, eds., Archaeology of Early Historic South Asia, pp. 15-38. New Delhi and Kolkata: Pragati Publications and Centre for Archaeological Studies and Training Eastern India.

Menon, J. 2006. Technology and tradition: An ethnoarchaeological view, in G. Sengupta, S. Raychoudhury and S. Som, eds., Past and Present: Ethnoarchaeology in India, pp. 253-67. New Delhi and Kolkata: Pragati Publications and Centre for archaeological Studies and Training Eastern India.

Menon, J. 2005. Urbanism in protohistoric Punjab: Significance of craft production, in R. Grewal, ed., Five Thousand Years of Urbanization: The Punjab Region, pp. 39-54. New Delhi: Manohar.

Menon, J. (with S. Varma). 2005. Defining tradition: An archaeological perspective, in S. Saberwal and S. Varma, eds., Traditions in Motion, pp. 23-49. New Delhi: Oxford University Press.

Menon, J. 2003. Mobility and craft production, in R. Heredia and S. Ratnagar, eds., Mobile and Marginal Peoples: Perspectives from the Past, pp. 89-120. New Delhi: Manohar.
Executive Summary
Jaya Menon has experience of twenty years in the teaching and practice of archaeology. She has excavated at several sites, including the Middle Palaeolithic site of Samnapur in Madhya Pradesh, the Harappan sites of Kuntasi, Nagwada and Bagasra in Gujarat and the medieval site of Daulatabad in Maharashtra. She has also participated in an exploration for detecting and mapping Bronze Age features and structures in the al-Hajar region of Oman. From 2004 to 2010, she has directed explorations and excavations at Indor Khera in Bulandshahar District of Uttar Pradesh. In the archaeological season of 2011-12, she directed explorations and excavations at Rohana Khurd in Muzaffarnagar District of Uttar Pradesh. Both these sites were explored and excavated under annual licenses granted by the Archaeological Survey of India.

She feels there is a need to dispel certain notions that are prevalent in India about archaeology. One is that it is considered as just a source among several others for reconstructing ancient history. That it is a discipline with its own methods is often not recognized. The second is the mistaken belief that archaeology is only relevant for the very early periods of ancient history, that is, prior to the earliest texts. It also needs to be realised that archaeology is truly multi-disciplinary, intersecting with a broad spectrum of disciplines ranging from within social sciences such as history, economics, geography and anthropology to the natural and earth sciences such as chemistry, botany, zoology and geology.

She strongly urges the need to introduce radical changes in archaeological practices in India and move away from the traditional survey and excavation procedures. It is only when students are trained in the methods of archaeology and learn to systematically generate their own contextual data in response to specific research questions that more nuanced interpretations of the past can be attempted. The practice of archaeology has so far remained marginal to understanding the past in India, where the written word has largely been privileged over material culture. What archaeology enables is not only the ability to capture past quotidian practices, a day in the life of an ordinary person, place or thing, but also the dynamic nature of those practices that change over a much longer period of time. However, the real potential of archaeology lies in being able to grapple with issues of materiality and material culture both in the past and the present.
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