Tuesday, December 7, 2021

School on Archaeological objects at NML

Jamshedpur : The fourth day programme of the School on Characterisation and Conservation of Archaeological Objects held at CSIR-NML witnessed class room lectures, display and demonstration of different techniques etc., at CSIR-National Metallurgical Laboratory, Jamshedpur.

Dr. Anupam Sah, Art Conservation Head, Chatrapathi Sivaji Maharaj Vastu Sangrahalaya (CSMVS), Mumbai organized a lecture cum practical interactive session on “The Art Conservation and Resurgence Project” which was very much motivating and brainstorming.

Dr. T. K. Mukhopadhyay, Chief Scientist, Central Glass and Ceramic Research Institute, Kolkata presented a session on “Archaeochemistry – a tool for characterization of ancient pottery technology”. Dr. Mukhopadhyay said that in Archaeology the inference about the past is made from the materials excavated and of the same ceramics play an important role.

Thus the study of ancient ceramics indicate the historical events like cultural interaction, trade links, social and economical transformation etc. In historical studies the interpretation of objects becomes essential particularly when documentary sources are unavailable, unreliable or difficult to interpret. As a result, even the composition of constituents which are critically important to the technology may have to be inferred from object study as an additive to documentary interpretation.

The early historic period saw rapid spread of human settlements throughout India. From regional chalcolithic and Iron Age cultures, this period saw the emergence of a pan-Indian culture based on expanded agriculture, trade and urbanization.

Due to more complex cultural base of the period the adaptive strategies were also varied. The settlements developed responding to the different opportunities presented by the physical features of a particular region like topography, soil, river, rainfall, proximity to trade route, etc.

Various scientific studies of pottery and clay sources have indicated the technological skill associated with the production of vessels (importance in technological up gradation as well as possible time period and provenance) and presence of long distance trade.

The prehistoric man rather accidentally invented that clay (earthy material) can be given a shape when combined with water; the article retains the shape when it is dried and becomes hard and impervious to liquid when the same is baked or fired. In those days the “novel technology” indeed proved invaluable for their living. Ancient potters had been making the articles from raw materials that were available at the place of production.

It can be mentioned here that a five day ‘School on Characterisation and Conservation of Archaeological Objects’, targeting students and faculties in archaeology, culture and archaeomaterials, has been going on at CSIR-NML, organized by the INAE Study Group on Indian Engineering Heritage on Metallurgy during 13-17 October.

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