ASET Colloquium

Archaeogenetic Research at Rakhigarhi and Its Implication on Indian History

by Prof. Vasant Shinde (Former Vice-Chancellor, Deccan College, Deemed University, Pune)

Friday, May 26, 2023 from to (Asia/Kolkata)
at Hybrid ( )
AG-66, TIFR, Mumbai
The objectives of the research at the largest Harappan city of Rakhigarhi in Haryana were to understand the cultural transformation from the beginning to the Urban phase, roughly from 5500 to 2600 BCE, and understand the genesis and complexion of the Harappan people. Excavations at the site have yielded convincing evidence for the local origin and gradual transformation in the material culture from c. 5500 to 2600 BCE, which is mainly reflected in their architecture and pottery. The aDNA of the Harappan people done for the first time reveals that the Harappans possess distinct genes and reveal that neither the Iranian farmers nor the Steppe pastoralists have contributed to the development of the Harappan genetic history. The 3-D reconstruction of the Harappan people, done for the first time through Craniofacial Reconstruction Research, reveals continuity in the human complexion for almost five thousand years. These aspects of Harappan history will be presented and explained through illustrations. 

About the Speaker:

Prof. Vasant Shinde, former Professor and Vice-Chancellor at the Deccan College, Post-Graduate and Research Institute, Deemed University, Pune and Founding Director General, National Maritime Heritage Complex and Museum, Lothal and presently CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, is a world-renowned archaeologist cum Museum expert and one of the foremost scholars in South Asia. Prof. Shinde is also an Adjunct Professor at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) BHU, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad, and the Central University of Haryana. Prof. Shinde is also an Advisor to the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways, Government of India on the National Maritime Heritage Complex and Museum.

Prof. Vasant Shinde obtained his B.A. in History from the University of Poona, and a Master’s Degree (First Class first) in AIHC and Archaeology from Deccan College, Deemed University (at that time affiliated with the University of Poona). He subsequently completed his Ph.D. in Protohistoric Archaeology on Early Settlements in Central Tapi Basin from the same University. He has completed a Post-Doctoral research program at the University of Cambridge and the International Research Centre for Japanese Studies, in Kyoto, Japan. Prof. Shinde has been conferred with Honorary D. Lit. Degree by the Vikramshila Hindi University.

Prof. Shinde has been teaching the Post-Graduate course in Archaeology since 1982. In addition to being a Recognized Post-Graduate teacher and Research guide at Deccan College, Deemed University, University of Poona, Solapur University and Eotvos Lorand University of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary, he has been also conducting teaching for the Post-Graduate Diploma course at the Institute of Archaeology, Archaeological Survey of India, New Delhi, since 1991. In addition to his teaching activities, Prof. Shinde has also supervised a vast number of M.A. and Ph.D. research students. At present, 55 M.A. /PGD/M.Phil. Students and 39 Ph.D. scholars have completed their research under his supervision, with several more currently receiving guidance or co-guidance from him. He has also provided guidance to no less than 15 Visiting Scholars from foreign countries.

Prof. Shinde has been a pioneer in archaeological research for the last 43 years, specialising in the Protohistory of South Asia, Maritime History as well as Field Archaeology. He has completed 16 major research projects, in the process of which he has collaborated with scholars and institutes from around the world, from Institutes such as the Universities of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in the United States of America to Cambridge and Oxford Universities in the United Kingdom, to the International Research Center for Japanese Studies and Research Institute for Humanities and Nature (both in Kyoto, Japan), Seoul National University College of Medicine, South Korea, and so on.

Professor Shinde contributed immensely to the development of the concept and academic content for the first National Maritime Heritage Museum at Lothal.

He has also directed a vast number of excavations around the country, from Harappan sites in Gujarat and Haryana to Chalcolithic sites in Madhya Pradesh and the Deccan, to Protohistoric and Early historic Sites in Rajasthan and Maharashtra. Presently, he has been directing a very prestigious International Research project at the largest Harappan site of Rakhigarhi in Haryana. In the course of his research work, Prof. Shinde has also traveled extensively to and delivered lectures in Israel, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Iran, Denmark, France, England, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Oman, Malaysia, China, Japan, South Korea, Turkmenistan, Russia, Ethiopia, Kenya, Greece and several other countries throughout Europe and Asia, as well as in North and Central America. He has also visited and worked with more than 17 international museums around the world, analysing material ranging from the Prehistoric to the Late Medieval Period. He has been awarded a number of honors and scholarships from various national and international bodies in the course of his academic career, three of the most noteworthy ones being the 100 Most Influential Vice Chancellor by the World Education Congress, Dewang Mehta National Education Award for outstanding contribution to Education and New Makers Achievers by the Media.

Professor Shinde has delivered no less than 450 special lectures in different parts of India, and 51 in Institutes abroad. He is a member of 22 National and International academic bodies. He has attended and presented his research at a large number of conferences in India and Abroad.

His contributions to Archaeology in India and abroad take the form of a large number of research papers, edited volumes, and other publications, comprising 14 books, two monographs, 19 edited books/journals, 136 papers in national journals/books, and 77 research papers in international journals/books alone, in addition to 24 popular articles in magazines and other periodicals. Several crucial elements of South Asian archaeology, from hitherto unknown Protohistoric cultural phases to models of urbanisation in Mewar, Rajasthan, owe their discovery to him. His most significant breakthrough research contribution includes the first DNA analysis and Craniofacial Reconstruction of the Harappan people. The research paper on the DNA of the Harappan people was declared by the International Conference on Genomics as one of the nine breakthrough researches in the world in 2019. Prof. Shinde has initiated several levels of International Collaborations with Institutes around the world, bringing Indian archaeology to a truly global level. He has established the Society of South Asian Archaeology (SOSAA) with a view to promoting young scholarship and further global collaboration. He has also been actively involved in Public Archaeology and established groups in Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Haryana to protect the Cultural Heritage of the country and generate awareness of the same among the general public. Prof. Shinde participated in more than 190 National and International Seminars and Conferences and organized at least a dozen National and International Seminars/Conferences in various parts of South Asia including Iran.

Prof. Shinde has vast administrative experience. Apart from working on numerous high power National and International Committees, he has been acting as Field Director of many excavations since 1990. He was Pro- Vice Chancellor of the Deccan College, Deemed University from 2008-2013 and Vice Chancellor of the same University from 2013 June 2019. He is the Founding Director General of the National Maritime Heritage Complex, Lothal from 21 June 2019 to 31 January 2021. He has vast experience in organizing National and International Conferences/ Seminars and Convocations of the University.

Prof. (Dr) Vasant Shinde                                                                                                                                   
CSIR Bhatnagar Fellow
CSIR Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology                                                                                 
Habsiguda, Uppal Road                                                                                                                                             
Hyderabad 500007                                                                                                                                       
Mobile: 9158988893 and 9923693795                                                                                                      
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Organised by Dr. Satyanarayana Bheesette