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Title: Rajgir and its hinterland
Author: Harding, R.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2003
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The thesis examines the Early Historic urban site of Rajgir in eastern India. It places Rajgir in the context of Early Historic archaeology in general, showing that excavation programmes have been insufficient to answer basic questions about urban origins, layout and functions. It then presents the textual evidence for Rajgir’s history, both South Asian and Chinese, and indicates the strengths and problems that these materials possess; followed by a critical look at the surveys and excavations conducted between 1810 and the mid-70s. An analysis of the topography of Rajgir shows that some identifications can be made using both the textual and archaeological material. However, many ambiguities remain. The assumptions of the topographical project that has dominated work at the site since 1847 is then called into question. It has been assumed that the Chinese sources faithfully reflect the mid-first millennium B.C., and this assumption can be shown to be highly tenuous. And the fieldwork has been dominated by the construction of Rajgir as a Buddhist city; its religious connections have been emphasised to the exclusion of issues of urban form and socio-economic functions. The archaeology becomes a means of making religious meaning from the landscape, and as such has been appropriated by modern Buddhism. The second part of the thesis is an account of fieldwork undertaken in 1998-99. It demonstrates that the Outer Fortification is largely a system of roads; that the Inner Fortification can be dated to the first half of the first millennium B.C.; that occupation of the Old Rajgir area dates back to the Chalcolithic; and that a case can be made for an early NBP date for New Rajgir. It also shows that Rajgir cannot be separated from the site of Giriak, which lies to the east. Giriak also shows occupation extending back to the first half of the first millennium B.C. and lies on a route giving access to the Chhotanagpur Plateau with its resources of copper, iron and timber. A number of routes connected with the Plateau are then analysed. Finally, an appendix gives details of thin-section and Scanning Electron Microscope analyses of some of the ceramics of Rajgir and Giriak.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available