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From Stone Quarry to Sculpturing Workshop

Vidula Jayaswal (Author)
Synopsis The recognition of ancient stone quarries at Chunar hills with datable epigraphs was a startling discovery made by the author of this book, in the year 1990. The followup archaeological field investigations-around Chunar and Varanasi, which were carried out between the years 1990 and 1994, have uncovered the entire process of stone carving which was prevalent during the historical period in the Ganga plains. Besides archaeological investigations, ethnological surveys were also carried out. As a result of which it has been possible to reconstruct the entire stone carving process, start from quarrying of stone blocks, their transportation to the centres of utility-carving of the sculptures, the finished products-nature of carving centres-interaction between the sculpturing centres and the main religious centres etc. Some of the results of this study are very important, both for archaeologists and the art historians. For instance, it could be ascertained that, as is the case today, Chunar had been the principal lithic resource area during the ancient times. The epigraphs associated with the quarries provided firm grounds for dating quarrying operations in Chunar hills, between the Mauryan and modern times. The mode of transportation of the sandstone blocks which were quarried at Chunar, was by rolling down the hill slopes first and, then navigating these through the Ganga upto Varanasi. The discovery of a palaeo-channel joining Ganga with Sarnath, and the location of stone carving workshop sites along this route are the evidence which though are very significant are rarely preserved and found in the archaeological records. The present book. intact, incorporates reports of four set of field investigations, that is-the quarry-area at Chunar; route of transportation i.e., the exploration around Varanasi region; excavated remains of Tilmanpur, a satellite settlement of Samath; Asapur-workshop- Cummral settlement; and, the workshop floors at Kotwa, where sculptures were actualy produced for use at Samath and Varanasi between the Second/First Century B.C. and the Medieval times. The discovery of more than hundred epigraphs and the multi-dimentional approach including scientific studies has added much value to this book.
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About the author

Vidula Jayaswal

Grand daughter of (Late) Dr. K.P. Jayaswal, Dr. Vidula Jayaswal is presently teaching and guiding research in Ancient Indian History in general and Archaeology in particular at the Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi. Dr. Jayaswal was selected by the Government of India under the National Scholarship Scheme to study abroad and received specialized training in Archaeology and Anthropology at the University of California, Berkeley, U.S.A. She also served the Archaeological Survey of India. Author of eight books, five in English – Palaeohistory of India, Chopper-Chopping Component of Palaeolithic India, Kushana Clay Art, An Ethno Archaeological View of Indian Terracottas and Paisra: The Stone Settlement of Bhiar (last two in co-authorship) and three text books in Hindi-Bharatiya Itihas ke Adi Charan Ki Roop Rekha (Pura Prastar Yuga), Bharatiya Itihas Ka Madhya Prastar Yuga , and Bharatiya Itihas Ka Nav Prastar Yuga. She has also edited a proceeding of workshop which is published as Ancient Ceramics. Dr. Jayaswal has to her credit more than fifty research papers, which have been published in the proceedings of International Symposia and various publications of repute. Her noteworthy field investigations are excavations of prehistoric sites at Lahariandih in Mirzapur and Paisra in Munger districts and excavation of historical settlement at Bhitari, and, surveys of pottery and terracotta producing centres of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. Her recent discovery of the Ancient Quarries of Asokan times and subsequent periods, near Chunar is a significant contribution to both Archaeology and History of Arts.

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Bibliographic information

Title From Stone Quarry to Sculpturing Workshop
Format Hardcover
Date published: 01.01.1998
Edition 1st ed.
Language: English
isbn 8173200335
length xviii+259p., Tables; Figures; Plates; Maps; Bibliography; Index; 29cm.