Center for Archaeology, Heritage & Museum Studies | Shiv Nadar University
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Center for Archaeology, Heritage & Museum Studies

Archaeology, Heritage and Museum Studies are field-based disciplines. The Center undertakes field research and training in methods by combining the field and the laboratory. The Center also brings together international scholarship and research agendas under one umbrella.

The Center for Archaeology, Heritage and Museum Studies provides a mechanism whereby undergraduate and graduate students can learn archaeological methods through field schools, workshops, and conferences, to share knowledge and distribute it across universities and institutions in Delhi and the NCR. The Center brings together students of the humanities as well as the natural and social sciences. Archaeological methods are extremely sophisticated and are constantly evolving. It is also best if students are introduced to new technologies and ideas at the undergraduate level that they can develop when they pursue further research. Curatorial skills and training in the management of heritage and cultural resources are necessary to impart to students for the future preservation of objects and monuments, as well as dissemination of information about them. One of the main aims of the Center is to promote research in archaeology, heritage and museum studies.

The Center for Archaeology, Heritage and Museum Studies at the Shiv Nadar University, with a small concentration of archaeologists and scholars of cultural heritage, will also be the hub of a Consortium that aims to impart a broad based interdisciplinary training to undergraduate and graduate students. The Consortium will bring together scholars from a number of universities and institutions in India and outside to provide the training and skills for archaeological methods, as well as exposure to related aspects, such as museum displays, curation, content generation, and heritage studies. A number of universities and institutions in India and outside have committed to be part of the Consortium. These are Stanford University, Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Archaeological Survey of India, National Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Pennsylvania, Pompeu Fabra Universitat, University of Cambridge, McGill University, Hartwick College, Jahangirnagar University, and the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development.

Exposure to and training in archaeological methods will be done through:

  • Workshops on ceramic classification, lithic analysis, archaeological mapping, compass mapping, GIS, and so forth
  • Through short term teaching modules by faculty within and outside the country during a semester as well as summer school programs
  • By providing fieldwork training through Field Schools
  • By preparing a current database of archaeologists exploring/excavating in India and enabling student participation in these programs
  • By undertaking internships and research projects on archiving, documenting, content generation and so forth that can serve as training modules at ASI, INTACH, Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC) and museums
  • By enabling movement of students for further training in archaeological methods to the member institutions of the Consortium
  • By preparing a database of organizations involved with heritage, such as ASI, INTACH, AKTC, Ekaresources, NIAS Heritage Studies program, and various museums, but more important, individuals from these organizations who can join in this effort of providing training in specific skills to undergraduate students

The Core Members of the Center are Jaya Menon, Sudeshna Guha and Hemanth Kadambi. The External Members, who will have advisory and teaching roles, are Lynn Meskell (Stanford University, Palo Alto), Supriya Varma (Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi), and Marco Madella (Pompeu Fabra Universitat, Barcelona).

Core Members

Jaya Menon’s initial work was on Harappan craft specialization. She carries forward that interest in technology to the early historic period in the Upper Ganga plains, with the excavations at Indor Khera that she has co-directed. She has also excavated at Rohana Khurd in Muzaffarnagar District of Uttar Pradesh, a rural settlement occupied intermittently from the Iron Age to the medieval period. Her interests centre on the archaeology of urbanism, technology, and domestic spaces.


Sudeshna Guha has developed objects and collections based research on aspects of the cultural histories of precolonial South Asia and its archaeology. She built upon the scholarship of visual anthropology and ethnographies of material culture for analysing histories of archaeology, photography, photographic collections and archives. She teaches and researches on the histories of museum-making, curatorial practices and collections, and strongly believes in the pedagogical value of visual histories and museum studies for engaging methodologically with issues of evidence and historiography. Her present research on Heritage and its Archaeologies promises to engage with the relational histories of archaeology and design, and she is engaged in a research project in Sikkim, which relates to identity and heritage. Her publications include an edited volume, The Marshall Albums: Photography and Archaeology (Alkazi Collection of Photographs/ Mapin, 2011) and Artefacts of History (Sage 2015), and she is completing a monograph on Objects and Histories (Hachette, New Delhi).


Hemanth Kadambi is an anthropological archaeologist with a doctorate from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, USA. His archaeological investigations are mainly in the southern Deccan (north Karnataka). He directed the Early Chalukya Urban Landscape Survey project, which included a detailed systematic archaeological survey around Aihole (Bagalkot district, Karnataka). His research interests are in political landscapes, space and materiality, states and empires, and South Asian archaeology in general.

External Members

Supriya Varma teaches archaeology at the Centre for Historical Studies, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Her research interests include settlements, landscapes, households, childhood as well as public and community archaeology She has been the Co-Director of several archaeological projects in India including the Indor Khera Archaeological Project (IKAP) and the Rohana Khurd Archaeological Project (ROKAP). She is currently co-directing an international and interdisciplinary project called MANDU (Landscapes and Waterscapes in Asia: Monsoon, Climatic Anomalies and Societal Dynamics in Medieval India).

Marco Madella is the ICREA Research Professor at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in Barcelona. He graduated from the University of Milan in Botany and obtained a PhD in Archaeology at the University of Cambridge. He has been research fellow at the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, affiliated lecturer in the Department of Archaeology and director of studies in archaeology and anthropology at St. Edmund's College in the University of Cambridge. He has also been visiting professor at the University of Sheffield and the Research Institute for Humanities and Nature (Kyoto, Japan). His background is in archaeobotany and environmental archaeology, and he is interested in understanding the socio-ecological dynamics of past human populations in arid and semi-arid environments, from the Mediterranean to the tropics. His interests span from past vegetation histories, the modelling and simulation of processes in human behavioural change, people-plants co-evolutionary dynamics, long-term trajectories of biodiversity and sustainability in prehistoric societies, and the origin and resilience of agriculture. A key area of his work has been South Asia with a focus on the Indus Civilization and the South India Neolithic.


Lynn Meskell is Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Stanford University, former Director of the Stanford Archaeology Center, and Honorary Professor in the School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa. She is a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities. She has been awarded grants and fellowships including those from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Australian Research Council, the American Academy in Rome, the School of American Research, Oxford University and Cambridge University. She is the founding editor of the Journal of Social Archaeology. She has broad theoretical interests including socio-politics, archaeological ethics, global heritage, materiality, as well as feminist and postcolonial theory. Her earlier research examined natural and cultural heritage in South Africa, the archaeology of figurines and burial in Neolithic Turkey and social life in New Kingdom Egypt. More recently, she has conducted an institutional ethnography of UNESCO World Heritage, tracing the politics of governance and sovereignty that have impacted on international conservation and heritage rights. Her new book A Future in Ruins: UNESCO, World Heritage, and the Dream of Peace (2018, OUP New York), deals with many of these issues. She is now working on a project related to heritage practices in India.

Claire Wintle is Principal Lecturer in Museum Studies at the University of Brighton (UK). She is a historian of exhibitions, museums and collections. Her work explores the relationship between museums and processes of nationalism, imperialism and decolonisation, often with a focus on South Asia. Her books include Colonial Collecting and Display: Encounters with Material Culture from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands (Berghahn, 2013) and Cultures of Decolonisation: Transnational Productions and Practices, 1945-1970 (Manchester UP, 2016, edited with Ruth Craggs). She is currently preparing a new monograph on Curating Decolonisation: Museums in Britain, 1945-1980, which analyses changing curatorial practices related to ‘ethnographic’ collections in the mid-twentieth century, and explores the influence of global networks of curators and other stakeholders on ‘British’ collections of objects from around the world, including India. She is also developing a new major interdisciplinary research project entitled ‘Curating Challenging Collections’. This will explore how museum practitioners today can cultivate professional resilience while working with historic collections associated with traumatic events and processes such as imperialism.