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Indus Urbanism and Trade: Recent Discoveries from India and Pakistan

A lecture by Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, University of Wisconsin Madison

This illustrated lecture presents the most recent discoveries of the Indus Valley Civilization in Pakistan and western India. A special focus will be on the nature of Indus urban centers based on the recent excavations as sites in Pakistan and India. Excavations in 2007 at the sites of Harappa and Ganweriwala, Pakistan, and 2008-09 excavations in India have provided new evidence on the origins urbanism, writing and trade in the Indus Valley. Other important topics will include the emergence of village cultures and eventually towns (3700-2600 BC), and the urban expansion of the Indus or Harappan Period (2600-1900 BC), and the transformation of the Indus cities (1900-1000 BC).

New discoveries on the development of writing, seals, and the use of standardized stone weights will be presented along with a discussion on Indus art, symbol and technology as well as the enigmatic undeciphered Indus script. The decline and reorganization of the Indus cities (1900-1300 BC) will also be discussed along with the gradual emergence of Indo-Aryan cultures in the northern subcontinent. Throughout the presentation the important contributions of the Indus culture to later civilizations in South Asia and other world regions will be highlighted.

About the Speaker:

Jonathan Mark Kenoyer, Professor in Anthropology, teaches archaeology and ancient technology at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has taught at Madison since 1985 and is currently Director for the Center for South Asia, and also serves as President of the American Institute of Pakistan Studies.  His main focus is on the Indus Civilization and he has worked in Pakistan and India since 1974.  Dr. Kenoyer was born in India and lived there until he came to the United States for college. He has a BA in Anthropology from the University of California at Berkeley and completed his MA and PhD (1983) in South Asian Archaeology from the same university. He speaks several South Asian languages and is fluent in Urdu/Hindi, which is the major language used in Pakistan and northern India. He has conducted archaeological research and excavations at both Mohenjo-daro and Harappa, two of the most important early sites in Pakistan, and has also worked in western and central India. He has a special interest in ancient technologies and crafts, socio-economic and political organization as well as religion.  These interests have led him to study a broad range of cultural periods in South Asia as well as other regions of the world.

Since 1986 he has been the Co-director and Field Director of the Harappa Archaeological Research Project in Pakistan, a long term study of urban development in the Indus Valley. He was Guest Curator at the Elvehjem Museum of Art, Madison for the exhibition on the Ancient Cities of the Indus Valley Civilization, which toured the U.S. in 1998-1999, and was a consultant for the Indus section of the First Cities exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in 2003.

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