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Finding Forgotten Cities

How the Indus Civilization was Discovered

In the autumn of 1924 the scholar-archaeologist John Marshall made an announcement that rewrote the history books: he proclaimed the discovery of the civilization of the Indus valley. Within weeks, Marshall´s discovery was recognized as on the same scale as the unearthing of Troy and of Crete. Spanning nearly a century, Finding Forgotten Cities tells the full story of Marshall´s discovery for the first time.

The Indus discovery was the work of many individuals: the collector-traveller Charles Masson, who first described Harappa; Alexander Cunningham, the archaeological pioneer and Harappa´s first excavator; Daya Ram Sahni, Rakhaldas Banerji, and Madho Sarup Vats, the discerning diggers who uncovered Harappa and Mohenjodaro; Luigi Pio Tessitori, the Italian linguist-turned-explorer who unearthed Kalibangan but never lived to tell the tale of his exploits; government officials of all kinds who, as self-taught archaeologists, stumbled upon significant clues; and, presiding over the whole process, John Marshall, a Cambridge classicist brought by Lord Curzon to India as Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India, the man who finally pieced into place the tantalising jigsaw of data on the long-forgotten Indus civilization.

Based on previously unknown archival materials, Finding Forgotten Cities presents a powerful narrative history of how one of the key sites of ancient civilisation was unexpectedly unearthed.

412 pages | 50 halftones | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2005


Asian Studies: South Asia

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“I could hardly put Finding Forgotten Cities down. It is an enticingly well-written history of the beginnings of Indian archaeology and the first biography of its kind of the leading figure Sir John Marshall.”

Asko Parpola | Times Higher Education

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
Preface and Acknowledgements

1. A Ruined City in Punjab and its First Explorers
2. From Seals to a Specialist
3. John Marshall´s Early Years in India
4. Harappa Makes a Fleeting Reappearance
5. Among Cities and Stupas
6. An Italian in India
7. From Calcutta to Kalibangan
8. Excavating Harappa Under a Shadow
9. Talent and Trouble in Calcutta
10. Maverick at Mohenjodaro
11. Stringing Scattered Ideas
12. Announcing the Discovery
13. An Astonishing Aftermath

Afterword: Inaugurating a New Era

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