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Piecing Together: Memoirs of an Archaeologist

 
B B Lal (Author)
Synopsis In 1921, just when Daya Ram Sahni struck his pickaxe at Harappa in Punjab, bringing to light the earliest civilization of the Indian subcontinent, in a far off village in Uttar Pradesh was born a child, named Braj Basi Lal, who, in time to come, was ordained to carry on the mission of Sahni at Kalibangan in the Sarasvati Valley in Rajasthan. He discovered over here many new features of the Harappan Civilization, including the earliest (circa 2700 BCE) agricultural field met with anywhere in the world. One of Lal's passions has been to ascertain if there was any historical basis for the two great Indian epics, viz., the Mahabharata and the Ramayana. The book marshals the evidence from various sites excavated by him, which shows that these epics did have a basis in history, though they are full of interpolations. The book also deals with the Mandir-Masjid issue at Ayodhya and shows that there existed a Hindu temple in the Janma-Bhumi area prior to the construction of the Babari Masjid. Finally, the oft-debated issue of 'Aryan Invasion' of India has been dealt with, showing, in unequivocal terms, that there was no such 'invasion' nor even 'immigration' and that the Vedic people were indigenous to the Indian soil, their roots traceable back to the 6th millennium BCE. On the contrary, literary-cum-archaeological evidence shows that some of the Vedic people themselves migrated as far west as present-day Turkey, early in the 2nd millennium BCE. Interleaved with these archaeological discoveries are certain narratives which give a glimpse of Professor Lal's personal life - a naughty (nasty?) boy, affectionate teachers, 'rebirth' in 1957, interactions with fellow archaeologists, whisked away by a damsel, surviving five major car accidents without any injury and lessons he learnt from his life. The Epilogue says it all.
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About the author

B B Lal

An archaeologist of international repute, Professor B.B. Lal was the Director General of the Archaeological Survey of India. His excavation at Kalibangan in Rajasthan has brought to light a prosperous city of the Harappan Civilization. The excavations at Hastinapura, Indraprastha, etc. have established that there was a kernel of truth in the Mahabharata, though the epic is full of interpolations. The excavations at Ayodhya, Sringaverapura, etc. have shown that the Ramayana too has a basis in history. In 1961, he conducted excavations in Egypt, which threw valuable light on Egyptian prehistory. He has published over 150 seminal research papers, variously in India, USA, UK, France, Italy, Egypt, Japan, etc. Amongst his recent books are: The Earliest Civilization of South Asia (1997); India 1947-97: New Light on the Indus Civilization (1998); The Sarasvati flows On: The Continuity of Indian Culture (2002); The Homeland of the Aryans: Evidence of Rigvedic Flora and Fauna and Archaeology (2005); Rama: His Historicity, Mandir and Setu (2008); How Deep are the Roots of Indian Civilization? Archaeology Answers (2009). In 1982, Mithila Visvavidyalaya conferred on Professor Lal the title of Mahamahopadhyaya. In 1994, he was awarded D. Litt. (Honoris causa) by Institute of Archaeology, St. Petersburg, Russia. The same year he was elected President of World Archaeological Congress. In 2000, the President of India honored him with Padma Bhusana.

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Bibliographic information

Title Piecing Together: Memoirs of an Archaeologist
Author B B Lal
Format Hardcover
Date published: 29.07.2011
Edition 1st. ed.
Language: English
isbn 9788173054174
length xviii+270p., Illustrations; 20p. of Plates; 11 Maps; Index; 22cm.